“All I want for Christmas is you. Just kidding, I want wine!” ~ Peltzer Winery
It’s the most wonderful time of the year and I personally love when a small town celebrates in style. Temecula Valley is known for being Southern California’s Wine Country, but they also have a great schedule of events to celebrate the holidays, including Ice Skating Rinks and Sleigh Rides.
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While it may look a bit more like Autumn to some, this is a true representation of a Southern California winter. It can be easy to forget the fast approaching holidays each year when we’re surrounded by warmth and sunshine, but thankfully these wineries will quickly reignite your Christmas spirit.
Part of the motivation for this particular trip to Temecula was to check out the Christmas Market at Europa Village. Unfortunately for us, their market was condensed early this year to accommodate parties and weddings but from their social media pictures, it looks like it’s usually a beautiful and extensive setup. That being said, if the glimpse we had was any indication of how spectacular it usually is, I’ll definitely be back to check it out next year.
But since we were there anyway, what’s a girl to do but have some wine of course! Europa includes a large selection of wines on their wine tasting menu. A couple of personal favorites were the Chardonnay and the Barbera. This particular Chardonnay was aged in a French oak barrel which is more expensive than an American oak barrel because it has a finer grain. “The French barrel delivers a smooooother taste” says resident expert Gregg English. The Barbera tastes lighter than your average red with a balance of acidity and deliciously fruity notes.
Europa Village is currently undergoing some major renovations to their grounds. This multi-million dollar project will make you feel like you’ve been transported to villages of Spain, France, and Italy. I can’t wait to see this major transformation come to life.
Stop number two of the day, brought us to South Coast Winery. I tend to view South Coast as the epicenter of Temecula wine country, you know because it’s by the roundabout (roundabouts make for great landmarks)! What’s cool about South Coast is that it’s an all-inclusive resort offering not only the winery, but it also has a restaurant, villas, and a spa (I need to book a spa day here for sure!).
My sense of sight is always piqued when I visit South Coast. The grounds here are always stunning with seasonal blooms, but especially this time of year, their Vineyard Rose dining room is incredibly elegant and festive. I highly recommend booking a reservation for brunch or dinner here.
If you’ve been to Temecula, you probably know that Wilson’s Creek Winery is a tried and true local staple, popularly known for their Almond Champagne. The winery is always pursuing new varietals of wine and flavors of champagne (I’m talking about you Tahitian Vanilla Sparkling Wine), but this summer they debuted their new wine slushies, and they’re as delicious as they are pretty!
Wilson’s has a great selection of holiday items in their retail space such as engravable glasses and ornaments, as well as whimsical and fun souvenirs. It’s double the fun when you come for some wine tasting and can get some Christmas shopping done too.
The last stop of the day brought us to Peltzer Winery. Peltzer is one of the newer wineries in the area, and it’s very quickly becoming one of my top favorites!
One of the truly unique things about this winery is how they pair their wine tastings with locally baked bread from Great Harvest Bread Co. I mean who doesn’t want to pair their Syrah Rosé with a savory Tomato Pesto Provolone Sourdough bread? And if you can be indecisive like me, their set tasting menu takes away the stress of trying to decide what to taste while still getting a great variety.
With the addition of their awesome silo bar and outdoor patio, they also have some amazing craft cocktails. If you’re girly like me and you get your nails done at a salon, you might know that the brand OPI has the greatest names for their nail polishes; I liken that to this gorgeous Sangria flight with really awesome names. Say hello to Jingle Juice, The Smashing Pumpkin, and Cranberry Sauced. And they taste as flavorful as they look!
If this hasn’t been enough to tempt you yet, they have some super fun events scheduled for the end of December, and from what I hear, you won’t want to miss them!
I try to schedule a few trips to Temecula each year and always look forward to checking out a new winery during each visit. My last trip to Temecula included a fun day of wine and food at Callaway Winery. Good times are always to be had in Temecula, but Christmastime makes for an extra special adventure.
Until next time, Cheers and Merry Christmas!