I recently visited the burgeoning Temecula Valley & I was delighted to learn that it offers so much more than just wine. Think spirits, beer & foodie eats too!
I know how lucky I am to live in SoCal, not only do we have year round idyllic weather, but we are also within driving distance to so many inspired local getaways and staycations. One of my favorite noteworthy destinations is Temecula. Not only is it less than a two hour drive from Los Angeles, but it has quickly become a favorite food and wine destination among those with discerning palettes (like me!) and a desire to explore the best that California has to offer. I’ll admit, that many years ago Temecula wasn’t quite as sophisticated as I would’ve liked in terms of complex noteworthy wines, however now the region is well on it’s way to being a coveted destination for oenophiles and newbies alike.
I recently visited the region as a guest of Visit Temecula Valley and they planned a wonderful day filled with some new, noteworthy and unexpected wine, beer, spirits and food spots in the area. Following are my five favorite discoveries that were highlighted during our day trip or recommended by the Visitor’s Bureau:
1) Vitagliano Vineyards & Winery – I would be remiss if I didn’t start off a wine country post highlighting a fabulous winery. So I figured I’d start with the beautiful family owned Vitagliano Winery. First of all, the ten acres of rolling hills, vines and panoramic views are absolutely stunning and a perfect setting for wine tasting or hosting a spectacular event. And while Vitagliano grows a nice variety of wine making grapes, they are known for growing some of the finest Super Tuscan varietals in Southern California. This winery is the perfect place to kick-off your wine tasting adventure or a fabulous spot to end your day with and enjoy one of their fun outdoor summer movie nights.
2) Refuge Brewery – I think that we all can agree that when you think about wine country, beer isn’t necessarily the first thing that comes to mind. However, breweries are quickly becoming a noteworthy presence in many wine regions these days either as a nice alternative to or a respite from wine tasting. Refuge is a state-of-the-art brewery best know for their tasty and refreshing Blood Orange Wit. Refuge uses old world Belgian techniques to brew and blend their inspired beers. I really enjoyed the wide variety of complex and unique beers that I tasted while visiting Refuge and I can’t wait to see what creative brews they come up with next.
3) Thompson & Twain Prospecting Co – Sipping spirits is also not typically top of mind when you think about places to visit in wine country, but Thompson & Twain was probably the highlight of my day in Temecula! It’s got an unexpected secret entrance, an underground forbidden speakeasy vibe and some of the best artisanal handcrafted cocktails that I have ever had. The setting, decor and menu harken back to a bygone era and I just love the time appropriate spirits and customized cocktail craftsmanship. After a careful intake, I thoroughly enjoyed watching the debonair bartender meticulously craft a perfect smokey cocktail to amuse my palate. Such a cool joint, I cannot wait to go back with my spirit loving hubbs!
4) Akash Winery – We got a sneak peek of one of the newest wineries making it’s debut on the Temecula landscape this summer. The Akash Winery (‘Akash’ means The Sky’s the Limit in Sanskirt) is a father and son owned and operated winery on 20 acres of beautiful land paired with a modern spacious open-aired industrial tasting room. Akash (the son) is an affable host with a passion for creating artisanal regional wines with a gorgeous aesthetic. I fell in love with their chic bottle design and delicious tasting 2017 Sauvignon Blanc with refreshing tasting notes of grapefruit and lime. I liked it so much that I picked up a few bottles to sip and enjoy throughout the summer.
5) E.A.T Extraordinary Artisan Table – While it was not part of our official press day, when I asked for a rec for some of the best seasonal eats in the area, our host recommended E.A.T. and it did not disappoint! E.A.T. is my kind of place, filled with inspired and seasonal farm-to-table local creations served in a bright inviting atmosphere. People travel from all around to devour their divine vegan donuts and I concur, they are heavenly, dense and full of flavor (lemon poppyseed was my fav!) However, it’s their seasonal citrus salad (pictured below) that I can’t get off my mind. Bright, fresh and filled with so many vibrant flavors that made me savoir every morsel, just fabulous!
If you are headed to the Temecula area, make sure to checkout Visit Temecula’s Website to discover all the amazing things that the region has to offer.
Disclosure: I was invited to Temecula for a 1 day FAM trip hosted by Visit Temecula. However, all opinions and recommendations are my own.