Each year, California produces more than 17 million gallons of wine, accounting for nearly 90% of all American wine production. While wine aficionados often imagine Napa Valley and Sonoma County when they think of world-class wineries, Temecula Valley’s mild Mediterranean climate and unique setting between the desert and the ocean makes it one of the most beloved winemaking regions in the country. Here are the top eight Temecula wineries that should be on every wine lover’s radar:
1. Hart Family Winery
One of Temecula Valley’s oldest wineries, Hart Family Winery was founded in 1980 by Joe and Nancy Hart. Situated 1,500 feet above sea level with breathtaking views of the mountains and valleys below, this family-run winery is well-stocked with a wide selection of delicious estate-produced wines, including Sauvignon Blanc, Roussanne, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Tempranillo.
2. Akash Winery and Vineyard
Owned and operated by father and son, Ray and Akash Patel, Akash Winery is one of the newest to the region officially opening its doors in 2018. Learning the ins and outs of the business, curating the perfect wine selection and creating contemporary, eye-catching labels for their products have become a huge passion project for the duo. With a lively tasting room and spirited wine club pickup parties, Akash is easily set apart from traditional wineries.
3. Falkner Winery
Since 2000, Falkner Winery has been a haven where locals and visitors alike come to enjoy the property’s Tuscan varietals, panoramic views and aptly named Pinnacle Restaurant. Falkner also features a secret underground tasting room, as well as a tour of the grounds and production facility. Offerings span estate-grown Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, White Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sangiovese, Viognier, as well as a few proprietary blends.
4. Robert Renzoni Vineyards
The history of Renzoni winemaking dates back to the late 1880s when Robert Renzoni’s great-grandfather Frederico worked in the vineyards along Northern Italy’s Adriatic Coast. Four generations later, the family has forged a reputation for being among the top winemakers in California. In addition to an impressive selection of red, white and sparkling wines, this 12-acre vineyard boasts a variety of prepared sauces and olive oils guests can sample in the tasting room.
5. Callaway Vineyard and Winery
Though Ely Callaway is known best for his golf gear empire, he was also the visionary behind Temecula’s very first winery. Today, Callaway is a prime wine tourism destination, with numerous award-winning wines carefully-crafted by a team of professional winemakers.
6. Lorenzi Estate Wines
Lorenzi Estate Wines is a small boutique winery that produces more than 20 different wines, garnering critical attention for their rich reds, including the award-winning Phantom. Over the years, winemakers Don, Brenda, and Michelle Lorenzi grew Lorenzi Estate Wines from their backyard to the sprawling 16-acre estate.
7. Miramonte Winery
Sitting at an elevation of 1,400 feet, this 44-acre hilltop winery was one of the first in the area to offer live music, an idea that many other Temecula wineries have since adopted. Miramonte specializes in adventurous, succulent Rhone varietal wines and blends, producing nearly 5,000 cases per year. Their VIP Winemaker’s Tour, which combines food and wine pairings with a tour of the vineyard, has also become a popular attraction for locals.
8. Thornton Winery
Thornton Winery is nestled in the heart of the Temecula Valley Wine Country. The winery combines old world style with new world taste to create award-winning and premium varietal wines. The winery is also a favorite among the community for its Friday Live Music and Champagne Concert Series that features top names in Jazz.