Concert season begins in Temecula Wine Country

A vineyard setting, beautifully crafted wine and food creations, outdoor vineyard setting and some of the coolest jazz and pop music, awaits you this season in Temecula Wine Country. The major winery players in the concert scene this year are venerable favorite Thornton Winery and its 21st annual Champagne Jazz series, Wiens with its pop music, La Cereza and Spanish showman Belise and South Coast Winery Resort and Spa and its Rhythm on the Vine Jazz headliner.
Thornton’s season includes 22 dates, beginning at 4 p.m. April 26 with marquee attractions Mindi Abair and David Benoit, all the way to Oct. 11 with guitarist Jesse Cook.
If you haven’t taken in Mindi Abair’s concerts, she is like a vintage, velvety bottle of rare wine. Teaming up with “Snoopy” theme song originator Benoit, this concert promises to be memorable.
Mindi started up in 2003 with her own sax version of a Snoopy-linked hit called “Lucy,” part of a CD that hit the top 5 on the Jazz charts. She sings, plays a mean alto sax and has a nationwide radio show. Her new CD just out is called “Stars,” a contemporary jazz and pop collection of love songs. Thornton has a Gourmet Supper Package with a complete selection of their award-winning sparkling and premium varietal wines. For tickets and a full calendar of acts, call (951) 699-3021.
Wiens Family Cellars offers the English Beat with Richard Blade at 5:30 p.m. May 8 and The Knack on June 19. The 1980s sounds are back, with special tiered pricing. Call (951) 694-9892 for details.
Benise and his Spanish-themed music will delight concert-goers at La Cereza Vineyard & Winery starting at 5:30 p.m. July 18. An amazing group of supporting talent including fiery Flemenco dancers and players will power this acclaimed guitarist. Call (951) 676-1711 for details and tickets.
South Coast and its Rhythm on the Vine event happens at 6:30 p.m. June 27 with Sax for Stax, then Jeffrey Osborne at 9 p.m. It benefits Shriners Hospital for Children. For further news, call (951) 587-9463.
Half Bottle-Half Price wine menu at Savory
A tip of the cork to Savory Casual Fare of Encinitas’ GM John Boily and Chef Pascal Vignau for a bold move to increase dining value. On Tuesdays and Wednesday, a new, exciting half wine bottle inventory is being offered along with a half price menu. “This should give our guests a greater opportunity to try new wines from around the world,” Vignau said. Dinner hours are Tuesday through Sunday from 5 to 9:30 p.m. Menu selections can be viewed at www.savorycasualfare.com.
Wine Bytes
— Wine Street Carlsbad toasts their Chile/Argentina tasting April 24 with a guest pourer, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. The cost is $15 per person. Call (760) 431-8455 for details.
— Bacchus in the San Diego Gaslamp District presents wines from South Africa from 4 to 8:30 p.m. April 24 for $15 per person. Sample Chenin Blanc, Pinotage, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz. Call (619) 236-0005 for details.
— Tastes in downtown Encinitas has an evening with winemaker Patty Green of Patricia Green Cellars at 6 p.m. April 26. A five-course Pinot Noir dinner costs $120 per person. RSVP at (760) 942-9549.
— The Westgate Hotel downtown San Diego offers a Wine, Dine and Design evening from 5 to 7 p.m. April 30 for $40. It’s an interactive class with delightful appetizers paired with lovely wines. A floral class adds to the attraction. For more information, call (619) 557-3655, ext. 3619.
— A blind tasting adds to the fun at the Holiday Wine Cellar in Escondido from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. April 27. Admission is just $5. Five Merlots will be offered. Call (760) 745-1200 for details.

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