TEMECULA CALIFORNIA A HIDDEN GEM
Venturing into the heart of California with Visit California, this is my second installment of my trip through this magnificent part of our country. What a beautiful surprise the enchanting town of TEMECULA was. I had never heard of it before, and was I ever smitten! Renowned for its picturesque vineyards and award-winning wineries, Temecula proved to be a hidden gem waiting for us to explore! I can’t choose just one highlight here, because there were many! It’s definitely a place with its own vibe and a haven for wine enthusiasts!
OUR TIME AT LEONESS CELLARS
First up was LEONESS CELLARS, a wine connoisseur’s dream. Nestled amidst farm-quality vineyards with breathtaking views, it’s an absolute beacon of excellence in wine production. Our day began with our guide Norma, who was just lovely and made sure we got to see and experience everything.
We had the pleasure of meeting Mike (pictured below), who is one of the owners of Leoness, and felt so lucky that he would take the time to have lunch with us. We were able to hear all about Leoness and its fifty years of farming. The painting above the fireplace of his partners hands digging in the dirt, really does capture the love and dedication that has been put into this gorgeous property.
He insisted we try some of their fries, which actually take three days to make! Are they worth the calories….. a BIG YES! We ended our lunch with two of the best desserts I’ve ever had…… a delectable lemon tart, and a chocolate fudge creation that was off-the-chart! Our personal tour through the vineyard afterwards, was really interesting, all about the art of winemaking. Even though I don’t drink, the education of it all has always fascinated me.
THE VINE HOUSE BED AND BREAKFAST
We stayed the night at THE VINE HOUSE bed and breakfast. This charming haven, owned by darling Lacey, provided a cozy stay for us. I sure felt like royalty in my princess-like room. The next morning we were served up a full breakfast with homemade pancakes (a family recipe), fruit, and a breakfast burrito. It sure did hit the spot after our early morning hot air ballon ride with GRAPE ESCAPE.
SMALL BARN IN OLD TOWN TEMECULA
Our first night we dined at the SMALL BARN, housed in a historical building in Old Town and so warm and inviting. The FOOD was exceptional…. specifically the warm chocolate chip cookies served with almond milk! YUM!! Dan and Cathy Gibson, the owners, are passionate about what they have created at Small Barn, and their desire for a friendly atmosphere and ambiance was palpable. Without a doubt, a very fun-filled evening.
GRAPE ESCAPE HOT AIR BALLOONING
Hot air ballooning was on tap for early the next morning, with GRAPE ESCAPE in Temecula. To say it was exhilarating and surpassed all my expectations is an understatement. The anticipation of being that high and possibly experiencing a lot of movement, was a little daunting. It was however, so exciting and our skilled pilot made all the difference. The views were incredibly breathtaking. Sitting above the clouds and reaching out was so cool. The experience was nothing short of “WOW!” This is another adventure NOT to miss out on.
WINE COUNTRY TRAILS HORSEBACK RIDING
Horseback riding with WINE COUNTRY TRAILS was unforgettable. There’s something so serene about riding on a horse…. mine was Scoobie. He was gentle, but definitely had his own agenda at times! The afternoon was so peaceful and romantic as we rode for 90 minutes through Temecula’s vineyards. I love that they will cater your visit to exactly what you’re looking for.
Next on our list was AVENSOLE WINERY. It’s sixteen acres of estate vineyards, and although we didn’t have time to tour through the property, we were served up one of the most lovely lunches on our trip. Jennifer (manager) and Taylor (chef) paid such careful attention to us. Our meal was just right…. tomato soup, flat bread, and roasted brussel sprouts with goat cheese. Actually, I could eat this for lunch ANY day of the week. Another example of passion, seen from Taylor and her personal MENU. What a lady boss!!
Last but not least was our visit to TEMECULA OLIVE OIL COMPANY, where the down-to-earth owners shared their delicious olive oils. If you appreciate the very best when it comes to olive oil, you absolutely won’t find anything better than these. We not only got to tour the property, but then enjoy a tasting. We sampled all the very best, and not only that, but learned about all the health benefits too. It was so picturesque and fun to watch an actual harvest. It’s interesting to note, the olives we watched being harvested, were made into oil and ready for the next day.
Indeed, Temecula California is a hidden gem. Definitely a haven for wine lovers, but all the activities too. Horseback riding, hot air balloon rides, and LOTS of excellent food…… plus loads of charm! Each moment was a testament to the town’s unique character. For sure not disappointed! It sure did beat any expectations that I had, as well as set the stage for the next leg of my journey….. Palm Springs.
- LEONESS CELLARS
- VINE HOUSE BED AND BREAKFAST
- SMALL BARN IN OLD TOWN
- GRAPE ESCAPE HOT AIR BALLOONING
- WINE COUNTRY TRAILS
- AVENSOLE WINERY
- TEMECULA OLIVE OIL COMPANY