Juicy news arrives from Temecula Wine Country

Activity is ratcheting up in Temecula Wine Country. New releases from several wineries have come back with gold and silver at important competitive events, a newly opened winery is a stately, beautiful Tuscan-style villa on a hill, Old Town Temecula is adding to its lineup of wine shops and weddings are being booked in the vineyards.
Jim Carter’s South Coast Winery Resort and Spa has hit it big with its 2008 Wild Horse Peak Mountain Vineyard Sangiovese. At the recent New World International Wine Competition, this flavor champion took Best of Varietal, Best of Class and Double Gold.
The winery reports that over its six year history, it has received more than 1,000 awards and medals from regional and international competition.
Callaway Winery is off to a good start this year with gold for its 2008 Muscat Canelli. At Briar Rose Winery, the 2004 Petite Verdot won the Chairman’s Award at the Riverside International Wine Competition late last year and its 2004 Cabernet was judged Gold Best of Class.
An impressive new winery is Monte De Oro Winery and Vineyard with its Old World architecture, 100 percent estate wines and underground barrel room that holds 900 plus barrels in its 9,000 square feet. It’s viewed from the tasting room through a 16-foot- by-16-foot glass floor, which is the barrel room’s ceiling. My initial tastings revealed a lovely 2007 Viognier and a 2006 Syrah that I felt were the best on the list.
In Old Town Temecula, Tesoro Winery’s Tasting Room is causing a buzz with its Artist Series Food, Wine and Fine Art. Their wines trend toward big reds like Cabernet, Tempranillo, Petite Sirah and Tribordo Port. The owners will be operating from a future vineyard location in wine country in the near future.
Free jazz starts up at Falkner Winery on April 11 and every Sunday through the season. Performances will be three hours beginning at noon and going until 3 p.m. Chairs and tables are provided.
The big name concerts are again planned for Thornton, Wiens and South Coast and we’ll be doing a later column alerting you to the lineup which is among the best in Southern California.
Finally, if marriage is in your near future, you can’t do better than a wedding in the vines. Orfila Winery in Escondido has a lovely intimate setting and some attractive early-season discounts. In Temecula, look to Wilson Creek for Tuscan-inspired gardens, an events center and a dramatic open air gazebo. 
At Ponte Winery, current specials include big discounts on small weddings, including Saturdays. A wedding here before April 30 receives a case of wine at the time of booking. Falkner Winery is on a hill with a beautiful view of the valley. Special custom-designed themes to personalize the event include hot air balloon rides for a unique experience to “Here Comes the Bride.” South Coast Winery Resort and Spa can offer custom labeled wines and spa packages for the wedding party. Bridal shower, bachelor parties and rehearsal dinners are arranged.
For wedding night and honeymoon stays, South Coast has many villas in the vines for an elegant stay. Thornton Winery offers the romantic Champagne Caves or a fountain terrace overlooking the vineyards. Experienced event specialists achieve perfection in every detail including wine and food pairings. Wiens Family Cellars offer a fully enclosed event pavilion, outdoor patio or intimate barrel room. Early season offers are available. Enjoy one of the happiest days in anyone’s life, with a memorable wedding in the wines.
Wine Bytes
— Pack your bags and travel to Verona, Italy, for the world’s biggest wine tasting, Vinitaly Wine and Spirits Exhibition. Taste and enjoy high quality wine and other beverages from more than 4,000 exhibitors. For details, phone 39-45-8298111.
— The Pebble Beach Food and Wine Festival from April 8 to April 11 brings together 60 celebrity chefs and 250 wineries. Grand Tasting is April 10. Visit www.pebblebeachfoodandwine.com for details.
— Carlsbad Wine Merchants has started up live music and wine tastings with appetizers every Friday from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Call (760) 804-9994 for details.
— A Fruity and Floral Wine Tasting is offered at Morgan Run Resort in Rancho Santa Fe, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. April 7. Whites and reds will be poured. The cost is $30. Call (619) 955-8884 for details.

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