This winter, Temecula Valley Wine Country, less than an hour outside of San Diego, will come alive like never before—in large part because it is bigger and better in more ways than one.
While winemaking in the area dates back to the 1700s, it is only over the past few years the area has sprouted impressive infrastructure including luxurious resorts and mind-blowing manors, regular special events and even all-inclusive adventure tours.
Ponte Vineyard Inn
In recent years, despite the economy, Temecula Wine Country has taken great care and pride investing in some impressive new resorts, hotels and even mansions to welcome vacationers from across the globe.
Just a year old, Ponte Vineyard Inn has already earned AAA Four-Diamond status, and has been lauded by Trip Advisor as the “Number One Hotel in Temecula” and by Departures Magazine as one of the “Top 10 Vineyard Hotels in the World” for its luxurious accommodations, tucked right into its sprawling 300 acres of juicy grapevines, allowing for up close and personal winemaking and wine-tasting experiences. A bonus—every room in the sustainable inn offers a private patio or balcony overlooking the vineyards, and often a sea of hot air balloons each morning.
Unlike many other non-chain hotels in the area, Ponte also offers a full bar, which is located underground in their cavernously cool Cellar Lounge. Of course, most Ponte varietals and several fellow Temecula-area brand wines are also available to guests.
Just a few steps off of the hotel is another treat—Ponte Winery itself, which is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year. Guests looking for an intimate wine-tasting experience will enjoy the personalized, one-on-one service that is available during the week, while those looking for a lively and happening atmosphere may prefer the weekends. The winery and inn also offer an easy way to visit several other wineries by simply taking a short stroll through their grapevines, which lead to both South Coast Winery and Wiens Family Cellars.
Wilson Creek Manor
“Come as guests; leave as friends.”
This is the motto of Wilson Creek Manor, which opened to the public in November 2013.
The Manor is the brainchild of the Wilson family, owners of Wilson Creek Winery directly across the street, whose famous Almond Champagne is available at most fine grocers throughout Arizona.
At 12,000 square feet, the spacious estate can comfortably sleep more than two dozen guests in its nine plush suites, which all offer private bathrooms and in-room spa tubs. Catering to both large parties—including wedding groups and girlfriends on a weekend getaway—as well as couples looking for something outside of a traditional franchise hotel, Wilson Creek Manor also boasts a game room, private outdoor pool and spa, barbeque, gazebo, workout area, executive business center, a commercial-grade kitchen, laundry facility and more.
The stand-out element of the entire property—and the perfect Christmas or Valentine’s gift—is the Almond Champagne Suite, which is 1,600-square-feet of pure, unaltered extravagance featuring its own elegant salon, bar, spa, living room and more.
As with Ponte Vineyard Inn, Wilson Creek is just a few steps from its sister winery, and all guests are welcomed with a complimentary tasting and touring opportunities upon arrival. In addition to the world-famous Almond Champagne, Wilson Creek has spread its wings in recent years, offering bottled Sangrias, Bellinis and Mimosas as well as award-winning Cabernets, Zins and Chardonnays.
Just two years old, Europa Village is among Temecula’s newest and boldest destinations yet.
Focused on bringing a little taste of the Old World to the heart of Temecula’s wine country, the mission of the vineyard/tasting haven/luxury bed-and-breakfast concept is to wake up the taste buds and provide a delightful slice of European style—ambiance and hospitality at every turn. Succeeding on all fronts, the mission-style inn features 10 well-appointed guestrooms perfect for that romantic getaway or casual business retreat just steps from barrels and barrels of sips and swirls. Hot air balloon adventures depart each morning on-site near the winery side, while world-class tastings are offered to new guests and returning club members.
Add in the daily vineyard tours and weekly wine appreciation classes, coupled with an in-house chef focused on farm-to-table culinary paired with wine for every course, and the grounds impress even the most well-traveled wine lovers.
And, Europa is just getting started—its eventual vision is to build out and plant out a village with three unique wineries representing France, Italy and Spain, in addition to the current sprawling estate, destination resort and flavor-bursting bottles.
Can’t get out this winter? Then plan a trip for early spring! During the first weekend of March, all 35 wineries will open their doors to offer barrel tastings, music and food at the World of Wine Passport Weekend.
Article by Alison Bailin Batz
Originally published in the Winter 2013 issue of AZ Wine Lifestyle.