Bacchus and Beery Wine Blog had a chance to experience the Temecula Harvest Celebration during the first weekend of November 2011. This two day Bacchanalia of food, wine and happy sippers was well worth the trip.
We arrived in San Diego Friday morning and in a constant rain (it never rains in southern California) drove the hour north and east to the town of Temecula. After checking into our hotel near Old Town Temecula ,we headed across I-15 towards the wineries. Most of the nearly 40 wineries and 3,000 vineyard acres are located in a fairly confined area off Rancho California Road, just about 10 miles from the town center. Along Rancho California Road, the wineries are bigger, more commercial, and opulent though nothing compared to the palaces of Napa and Sonoma. Once you get away from Rancho California, the wineries are far more intimate and often the winemaker and/or owner is pouring in the tasting room.
Armed with winery recommendations from our Wine Blog readers and GPS, we were ready for some lunch and wine tasting. A surprising number of Temecula wineries have restaurants, many with outdoor seating to take full advantage of the area views. These venues also cater to weddings and bigger events. However, since it was still raining steadily, we chose the indoor medieval styled Carol’s Restaurant at Baily Winery. Our meals were very good as was the service. We both enjoyed glasses of their Cabernet Franc. Now fortified, it was time to do some serious winery visits.