Temecula is a city in southwestern Riverside County, California, United States. Thanks to Temecula Valley, the city has become a touristic destination for wine enthusiasts. It produces spectacular California wines with creative winemakers leading the charge. Thus in 2019, Wine Enthusiast magazine declared Temecula one of the “10 best travel destinations in the United States.”
The vineyards of Temecula Valley have established a reputation over the last decade for producing fantastic Bordeaux and Rhône varietals and those from Spain, Italy, and Portugal. With more than 40 vineyards throughout the region, you can find something to satisfy any tasting desire, from lavish, over-the-top wine resorts to small, mom-and-pop operations. But that’s not the only reason the stunning wine region in Southern California has become famous.
Temecula is a stunning city with fantastic scenery and events to explore and experience the wine country’s culture and lifestyle. Any time of year is excellent for a visit. However, it’s particularly picturesque during the annual Balloon and Wine Festival at the end of May.
To fully enjoy Temecula’s gorgeous views of endless vineyards, join a tour at the restored 1914 San Francisco cable car.
But of course, to experience Temecula’s wine, you should definitely go for wine tasting or winemaking and vineyard tours. However, some wineries have sunset and bonfire tours, riding lessons, and goat yoga. So, even more of a reason to visit Temecula’s wineries! Let’s have a look at the best wineries in Temecula.
Best Wineries in Temecula
Map of best wineries in Temecula:
Inspired by his Italian roots, the Argentinian-born Marcelo Doffo decided to establish his own wine label. So, in 1997 the Doffo Wines winery was born. The winery is family-owned and operated, and it’s a boutique winery producing small-lot, handcrafted wines.
After a meticulous study on different farming techniques, Marcelo and his family nowadays cultivate cabernet sauvignon, syrah, zinfandel and malbec, dessert wines, grappa, and a cuvée-style sparkling wine enhanced with just a touch of muscat.
Winery’s Note: It is accepted and encouraged to bring in food to enjoy on the patio while tasting some of our best wines.
Carter Estate Winery
The winery is surrounded by 109 acres of magnificent vines, making it a luxurious and upscale resort and winery. It was first established in 2015 by vintner Jim Carter and his family.
At Carter Estate Winery & Resort, they utilize the French méthode champenoise process to create outstanding sparkling wines. Carter wines are 100% estate-grown, bottled, and certified sustainable. However, their other whites and reds are equally exceptional. You can see their quality by the many award-winning ribbons decorating the tasting room. Furthermore, the scenery and sunsets at the winery are amazing.
Winery’s Note: The resort’s Mediterranean-inspired Bungalow Suites make for a delightful place to unwind after a day of wine tasting. All the rooms have private patios and resort amenities such as poolside cabanas, in-room spa services, and complimentary breakfast.
Leoness Cellars was founded in 2002 by two partners Mike Rennie and Gary Winder, who have deep roots in Temecula Valley’s agriculture.
Leoness Cellars is located on a hilltop overlooking the estate vineyard. With its 500 acres of vineyards, the winery produces excellent whites and reds with fantastic depth and flavor. The winery’s signature wine is cabernet sauvignon which has gained high scores from Wine Enthusiasts and others.
Winery’s Note: Leoness is open daily for tastings and tours, including seasonal vineyard tours, educational tastings, and a proposal package.
Palumbo Family Vineyards
Palumbo Family Vineyards and Winery is a certified sustainable vineyard and winery. Thus, the winery is all about using sustainable practices to craft its fantastic wines in and out of the vineyard. Through their 13 acres of vineyards, they produce full-bodied reds.
They mainly specialize in small-lot, handcrafted wines, including estate-grown cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, and Sangiovese. They also use fruits from neighboring properties to produce viognier and syrah.
Winery’s Note: The winery is happy to welcome tasters without a reservation. But if you are planning to arrive via limo or with a large group, it is best to call ahead and make an appointment to ensure there’s room. And, if arriving via helicopter is more your speed, the winery does have a helipad available, but best not to show up unannounced.
Europa Village Winery and Resort
Entranced by Europe’s countryside, food and wine, the culture and the lifestyle, Dan Stephenson decided to share his experiences with whomever crossed his path. To do so he established Europa Village, a resort that transports you to the old-world villages of Spain, France, and Italy.
The resort boasts two wineries, Bolero, a vibrant new Spanish adventure, and C’est La Vie, an amorous and classic French experience. Here you can indulge in lush vintages, delicious food, exclusive accommodations and one-of-a-kind experiences.
Winery’s Note: Europa Village is not just a winery. Here you can immerse yourself in Spanish ambience with an overnight stay in one of Bolero’s private casitas. From the moment you step through its ornate wrought-iron gates, the earthen decor and secluded spaces will transport you to an evening of unexpected enchantment. Furthermore, if you are looking for a romantic destination to celebrate your wedding day, Europa Village offers fantastic personalised services to plan your special day at their spectacular resort.
Bizhan “BJ” Fazeli first purchased the property in 2001 after falling in love with the area. In 2006 he had his first vintage, and since then, he kept producing and crafting a wide range of wines. Nowadays, Fazeli Cellars produce a variety of reds and whites including sauvignon blanc, petit sirah, viognier, chardonnay, and mourvèdre.
The winery makes for a lovely setting for weddings and special events thanks to banquet facilities, an on-site restaurant, and picturesque surroundings.
Winery’s Note: The winery offers a variety of rotating special events, like salsa night, as well as live music every Saturday and Sunday afternoon.
Miramonte Winery was founded in 2000 by young entrepreneur Cane Vanderhoof. Perched on a hilltop at an elevation of 1,400 feet, it charms with its convivial vibe and lovely views of the surrounding vineyards and valley.
The wines are made of premium fruit from 44 acres of local vineyards, focusing on what is generally considered the traditional grape varieties of Spain, Portugal, and southern France. To embrace the whole experience of wine and winemaking, head to Flower Hill Bistro, where fresh, seasonal fare can be savored with the views.
Winery’s Note: It is one of the few wineries that offer live music. You can enjoy everything from 90s rock cover bands to reggae vibes every Friday and Saturday night.
Callaway Vineyards and Winery
It was first founded in 1974 by Ely Reeves Callaway, Jr., and it is the very first winery in Temecula. Thanks to the area’s cool, misty mountain range above, Callaway Vineyard naturally produces some of the best grapes and wines.
Callaway wines are 100% estate-grown and include cabernet sauvignon, petite Sirah, and syrah fermented with wild yeasts, as well as several dessert and sparkling wines.
Winery’s Note: Enjoy the Temecula Wine Country Helicopter Adventure by taking a helicopter tour from San Diego to Callaway Winery!
This family-owned and operated boutique winery in Temecula stands out for its outdoor tasting room located in a rose garden and cleverly named wines such as More Cowbell and Baby Doll Head Red.
Vindemia strives only to use sustainable vineyard practices to make their handcrafted wines. Today it produces award-winning, robust reds and crisp whites, including their cult favorite “More Cowbell” zinfandel, along with cabernet sauvignon, syrah, and viognier.
Winery’s Note: If you’re looking for a more memorable way to experience the winery, book the sunrise hot air balloon ride with California Dreamin’ Balloon Adventures.
Robert Renzoni Vineyards
The history of Renzoni winemaking dates back to 1886 when Robert’s great-grandfather Frederico worked in the vineyards of Northern Italy’s Adriatic Coast. Today, fourth generation winemaker Robert Renzoni continues his family’s tradition at his estate in Temecula Valley.
The 12-acre vineyard is planted to classic Bordeaux and Italian grape varieties, including cabernet sauvignon, pinot grigio, and sangiovese.
Winery’s Note: Robert Renzoni Estate not only does produce wine, but they also make a marinara sauce which is based on a family recipe, homemade vinegar, and even a variety of spicy chile pepper sauces. They are all available to purchase from the winery.
Hart Winery is another family-owned and operated winery. It was established in 1980, and it is the oldest continuously operating winery in Temecula.
Its production is still relatively small, with roughly 5,000 cases annually. But they produce a somewhat surprising number of wines, including everything from viognier and sauvignon blanc to grenache and cabernet franc.
Winery’s Note: While the winery doesn’t have food available for purchase, you’re welcome to bring a picnic to enjoy on-site.
Baily Vineyards and Winery
Carol and Phil Baily planted their first acre of grapes on Mother’s Day in 1982. While learning more about ecology and viticulture, they gradually expanded their farm to 25 acres of primarily Bordeaux varietals.
Baily Winery uses a more traditional style of winemaking and longer barrel aging, producing more complex wines and reflecting the area’s unique terroir.
Winery’s Note: Reservations are not required for tastings at the Baily Visitor Center.
Best Wineries For Tours
Generally, all the wineries have tours but let’s look at the wineries with the best wine, winemaking, and vineyard tours.
Doffo Wines: After being greeted with a glass of Paulina Sparkling wine, you can climb aboard the Malbec Express, an eco-friendly tour bus, for a one-of-a-kind tour of the vineyard! You will have the chance to learn about the winery’s unique farming methods and the different varieties that they produce. Then you can see their winemaking facilities and visit the MotoDoffo Vintage Motorcycle Collection.
Palumbo Family Winery: A member of the Palumbo Family will guide you through the process from “Dirt to Bottle,” touching on all aspects of production, from our sustainable farming practices to our hands-on, small-lot winemaking.
Europa Village Winery and Resort: Dive deeper into the winery’s story with a tour at Bolero. It is the best way to experience the sweet aromas of the vineyards, take in the sights of the rolling hillside, feel the quality of the vines and taste their offerings. At this tour you will experience Europe’s culture, lifestyle and nature with a behind-the-scenes journey of the winery. Specifically, you will taste up to eight of their limited production and handmade wines, discover delicious food and learn how the combination of soil, climate and vineyard management make Temecula Valley’s wines some of the best in the country.
Best Wineries For Tasting Wine
Visiting a winery naturally means tasting different types of wines, but let’s see the best wineries for tasting rooms or tours.
Carter Estate Winery: You can drop in for a tasting any day of the week, but for a more elevated experience, try the Wine & Food Pairing. You’ll get five Carter Estate wines, including sparkling wine paired with culinary bites for an intimate, seated tasting limited to just eight guests.
Vindemia Winery: The winery is known for producing handcrafted wines that represent some of the best varietals grown in the Temecula Valley. Thus, this is the best place for wine tasting in Temecula. Taste their fantastic wines at the beautiful outdoor tasting room and try some of Vindemia’s award-winning Temecula wines.
Baily Vineyards and Winery: There are two unique tasting locations at Baily for you to experience, enjoy, and purchase wines. At the main tasting room, which is at the Baily Visitor Center, you can taste their complete wine list and current releases. The tasting includes six tastes of any of Baily’s wines from our wine menu. The other tasting room is Baily Estate Tasting Room at the Production Facility. Here you can partake in our Reserve Vertical Tasting. You have the unique opportunity to taste and purchase our older-aged library red wines, Meritage, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc, in an intimate setting right inside our wine production facility.
Hart Family Winery: This is the best place to experience winemaking and wine tasting as the oldest continuously owned and family-operated winery in Temecula. You can visit the winery’s tasting room and taste their exceptional wines.
Best Wineries For Lunch
The best way to try a delicious wine is with excellent and tasty food. Many wineries have a restaurant at their premises where you can enjoy a fantastic meal with the winery’s best wines.
Leoness Cellars: The winery is home to The Restaurant at Leoness, an acclaimed dining establishment that offers seasonal, scratch-made fare in a beautiful alfresco setting. It provides seasonal selections ranging from vibrant salads to entrees packed with an array of complimenting flavors, including seafood, pasta, and unique flatbreads, to decadent desserts that will leave you craving more.
Fazeli Cellars: Continuing BJ Fazeli’s goal of merging ancient Persia with contemporary California, Baba Joon’s Kitchen provides a unique Mediterranean-Persian fusion menu in a perfect bistro environment with casual seating on the patio, crafted to pair with the winery’s outstanding wines.
Miramonte Winery: At Miramonte, you can visit their lovely bistro and try their craft, homemade and fresh food that is served daily. Some of their specialties are The Formage, Charcuterie, and The Pesto Mac. Everything is served with the winery’s best wines.
Callaway Vineyards and Winery: Meritage restaurant is one of the most relaxing, tranquil, and genuinely unique Temecula winery restaurants. Here guests can enjoy a seasonal array of fresh, farm-to-table meals made from scratch. Many of the ingredients used by the restaurant come from the winery’s greenhouse and garden when available. Otherwise, they use seasonal, sustainable food from local farmers.
Robert Renzoni Vineyards: Mama Rosa’s Trattoria is the only place in Temecula Wine Country where you will find a kitchen with a brick oven. Here you can enjoy America’s favorite Italian comfort food.
Temecula Valley is a top destination for wine lovers for its fantastic flavored wines and awe-inspiring views. First and foremost, Temecula in Spanish translates into “where the sun breaks through the mist.” And for that simple reason, Temecula is such a productive and fast-growing high-quality wine region.
Furthermore, Temecula’s wineries offer outdoor recreation and entertainment, a small-town atmosphere, an emerging and evolving culinary scene, and a beautiful community and family of creative winemakers. So, especially if you love wine and want to experience the laid-back and unique winemaking lifestyle, Temecula is the best destination for you!