Elegant, Private Villas amid Sprawling Vineyards
The private villas at South Coast Winery Resort & Spa are so close to the vineyards that you could reach right out the windows and pluck fresh grapes from the vine. The carefully cultivated grounds and Mediterranean architecture call to mind a remote village in Tuscany, but the resort rests on 38 picturesque acres in Southern California.
Sixty-minute winery tours immerse you in every aspect of the winemaking process. You'll get a chance to walk through the vineyards, check out the barrel room, and learn how grapes are crushed by the cast of Stomp. This Groupon allows you and a guest to sample wines with cheese pairings in the resort's tasting room, which features murals of the Southern California landscape. Note that you'll be sipping acclaimed vino, as the California State Fair named South Coast the Golden State Winery of the Year in 2008 and 2009. An outdoor terrace provides a view of the rolling vineyards and nearby Palomar Mountain.
At Vineyard Rose Restaurant, you can pair the winery's cabernet sauvignon with gourmet filet mignon, or complement creamy frutti di mare with a glass of pinot grigio as you sit under twinkling lights on the outdoor patio. But your private villa provides the most intimate setting to share an included bottle of wine. The bedroom's warm burgundy and green hues subtly recall the vineyards, and the roomy jacuzzi supplies a romantic spot to relax.
The resort's luxurious GrapeSeed Spa also offers a number of indulgences, from champagne facials to full-body seaweed wraps. A swim in the outdoor saltwater pool, which pipes music underwater via waterproof speakers, can be a refreshing follow-up.
Temecula, California: Rolling Vineyards and Quaint, Small-Town Charm
Located in Southern California between Los Angeles and San Diego, Temecula feels like a small farm town compared to the two metropolises it's sandwiched between. You can still hitch a ride in a horse-drawn carriage through Old Town Temecula, which resembles an Old West town with its rustic windmill, decorative wagons, and historical buildings. Along the wooden boardwalks, you'll find saloons, antiques shops, and boutiques selling handmade quilts, baked goodies, and cuckoo clocks. On Saturdays, local farmers set up stands of fresh flowers, fruits, and vegetables.
Temecula's landscape is characterized by rolling vineyards that produce award-winning wines. Of course, tours and tastings are a popular way to explore the wineries, but Temecula's countryside can be best appreciated in a hot air balloon ride, which you can arrange through the resort.