With more than 35,000 rolling acres of vineyards enhanced by more than 30 member wineries, there's good reason to make Temecula Valley Wine Country a top travel destination this summer.
Just east of Interstate 15 and about an hour drive from downtown San Diego, Temecula tempts with an easily accessible, blissful escape worth taking for some R&R.
If it's a buzz from the top-notch wines that you're chasing, stop through one of these popular wineries.
South Coast Winery Resort & Spa
One of the largest wineries and resorts in Temecula, South Coast Winery Resort & Spa shines bright with a bustling tasting room, award-winning restaurant, full resort, private villas, spa and more. 38 acres of vines surround the two tasting rooms: Vintner's Vault and the intimate Wine Press, both ideal for large groups and special celebrations. South Coast Winery produces four collections from its Southern California vineyards with wines that have won California Winery of the Year in 2008, 2009 and 2013.
Tasting price: $15 for five tastings Monday through Friday; $20 for five tastings Saturday and Sunday.
34843 Rancho California Road, Temecula. wineresort.com
Built by the Ponte family in 2003 (with vineyards in progress since 1984), this dreamy estate gives wine tasting a personal touch with their motto: "If you like it, it's good wine." A sizable tasting room anchors this spot next to the Ponte Vineyard Inn, a four-diamond boutique hotel with two award-winning restaurants. After sipping Ponte favorites such as the Super T, a red blend of Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon, guests can stroll through the manicured gardens. In the evening, head to the Cellar Lounge, wine country's only full-service cocktail lounge.
Tasting price: $15 for six tastings Monday through Friday; $20 for six tastings Saturday and Sunday
35053 Rancho California Rd., Temecula. pontewinery.com
Monte De Oro Winery
One of the newest wineries in the mix, Monte De Oro entices with 72 vineyard acres and a stunning 2,500 square foot main tasting room replete with chandeliers, cathedral ceilings and even a glass floor for guests to look through into the barrel cellar. Also boasting one of the best panoramic views in wine country, Monte de Oro produces mostly red grapes, including Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Tempranillo. Live entertainment energizes the space, alongside the food pairings offered at MDO Wine Bar & Bistro.
Tasting price: $12 for six tastings Monday through Friday; $14 for six tastings Saturday and Sunday
35820 Rancho California Rd., Temecula. montedeoro.com
This buzzing winery has a youthful spirit to it, likely due to the fact that founder Cane Vanderhoof opened Miramonte in 2001 when he was just 32-years old. Since then, the winery has won multiple area awards and gained a legion of dedicated fans. Perched high atop the hill, it's Miramonte's vibrant patio and garden verandas with exquisite views that steal the show here, but the live entertainment every Friday and Saturday nights don't hurt either. Sit back, and enjoy a glass of their Rhone-based varietal wines.
Tasting price: $17 for six tastings Monday through Friday; $20 for six tastings Saturday and Sunday
33410 Rancho California Rd. Temecula. miramontewinery.com
Meaning "village of dreams," Leonesse exemplifies a serene, quaint village set in the hills of Temecula's wine country. Founded in 2002 by Gary Winder and Mike Rennie, Leoness produces wines such as Viognier, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, White Merlot, Muscat Canelli and Cinsault Port, as well as small lots of other specially selected varietals. Take a winery tour, relax on the outdoor patio overlooking the vineyard, dine at the ultra-trendy restaurant or watch as brides and grooms walk down the aisle at this popular wedding destination.
Tasting price: $15 for six tastings Monday through Friday; $18 for six tastings Saturday and Sunday
Bonus - Black Market Brewing Co.
The largest production brewery in Temecula Valley, Black Market Brewing Co., should not be missed on a tour of Temecula. Beer-lovers can sit at one of the picnic tables and sample some of the staples, rotating IPAs or experimental hop brews, plus partake in the grub and games.