Temecula hosts 2010 World of Wine showcase event

Perception is a powerful influence on opinion and takes time, patience and evidence to change. In the wine world, this dynamic is stubborn and takes a strong and persistent communications effort for success.
For the past five years I have observed, researched and reported on the progress of Temecula Wine Country to convince the wine world that it deserves recognition as a quality wine making appellation that can produce fine wines, with grape varietals from anywhere in the world.
Another opportunity to steer public perception is at hand for Temecula Wine Country when the World of Wine 2010 is presented Saturday and Sunday March 6 and March 7 from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with 25 Temecula wineries participating.
The theme aims to show how these wineries can take old world varietals, barrel or bottle-ready and full of flavor, and showcase a tasting experience as good as any available. 
The wines are part of a self-guided tour, perfectly paired with gourmet food samplings. Ticket holders will receive a map of the Valley, a passport which allows access to the wineries and a souvenir glass.
Two names to know who have recently done well are Callaway Vineyards &Winery and Briar Rose Winery. Callaway, with 40 years of winemaking, recently received a Gold Medal at the 2010
San Francisco Chronicle Competition  for its 2008 Winemaker’s Reserve Late Harvest Cabernet, and a Double Gold Medal at the 2010 Florida State Fair Competition for its 2009 Special Selection Rose of Sangiovese.
“Taste the Enchantment” is the theme of Briar Rose Winery, operated by Les and Dorian Linkogle. Small lot, limited production, lush intense flavors have placed Briar Rose in a prestigious place in Southern California’s wine roll call of celebrity-style winemaking.  Their new release Estate Collection 2007 Cabernet is worth looking for when the World of Wine Event comes around March 6 & 7.  For more information including ticket orders, go to www.temeculawines.org.
Corks popping at VINZ Lounge and Wine Bar
If you build it, they will come. Customers are filling up the lounge and wine bar that Vinnie Griffin recently built on Grand in Downtown Escondido. The vibes are happy and exciting as the music, food and wine fills the place with energy. 
Vinnie works  with several Central Coast wineries and has close relationships with the likes of Eberle and Cambria. The food packs the menu with a huge variety of choices.  “Everything is homemade including the sauces and salad dressings,” he said.  “From tapas to lasagna to Beef Wellington  I cook my own creations. There’s something for everyone, and you can dine in our entertainment lounge or a quieter more intimate room.” The musicians and stage are close and personal. Jimmy Patton was jamming on a flamenco guitar with a Latin samba duo that made for fun listening and dancing.  Vinnie is already master-planning a European-style outdoor garden with artisan Italian pizzas to add to his German deli offerings. New wines are being introduced weekly with wine flights to pair with special menu items.
I had an Eberle ’07 Cotes-du-Robles blend of Granache, Mouvrede and Syrah, beautifully crafted by the pioneer winery in Paso Robles. 
Vinnie is a well-known veteran restaurateur in Escondido and his new wine bar and lounge raises the bar for fine food, wine and a fun time.  Reservations for the dinner lounge on weekends are recommended by calling (760) 743-VINO (or 8466).
Wine Bytes
— Meritage Wine Market in Encinitas will be spotlighting Rhone Wines at their weekly wine tasting from 6 to 8 p.m. Feb. 26. Check for pricing at (760) 479-2500.
— A Laguna Beach Winery Bus Tour is being planned for Feb. 27 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.  Bus boarding at Del Sur Ranch House. Tour will include Oaks Ranch and Laguna Canyon Wineries.  Fee is $65 each. Call (858) 759-2779 for details.
— The Pacific Coast Wine Festival starts at 5 p.m. March 6 at the Island Hotel in Newport Beach.  This posh affair includes a sumptuous dinner, premium wine tastings, sommeliers and both a live and silent auction.  Tickets are $250 per person.  To purchase tickets or a table, call (714) 876-2364.
—  California Reds are the tasting theme for San Diego Wine Company’s next event from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Feb. 27. Fee is $10. Call (858) 586-9463 for details.

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