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Sunday, December 8, 2013

Temecula Wine Trail - With Benefits!

Hi Blog!  On Saturday, December 7th - a date that will live in memory - our friends, Darla and Lee Ann, came and picked us up from the campground for a tour of the Temecula Wine Country.  We knew it was going to be a great day, as we started our drive by seeing several rainbows.

Temecula Valley is located 500 miles south of San Francisco, resulting in a slightly higher angle to the sun and greater solar intensity. Temecula is in a relatively low rainfall region.  However that didn't stop it from raining on us. Extensive research showed that the Temecula Valley was ideal for growing high quality wine grapes as mist often lingers until mid-morning on this 1,400-foot plateau, located below the peaks of the local mountain range.

Our first stop was the Frangipani Estate Winery. The owner, Don Frangipani, has taken French varietals of Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petite Verdot and combined them with old world, Italian styles to create a unique collection of wines. Family owned and operated since 2003, Frangipani Estate Winery offers a dynamic selection of wines with a passion for reds. The also have a Tasting Room cat named Barrel and the cutest dog greeter named Frannie.  Say Hi to Frannie.

Our next stop was Leoness Cellars. The word "Leoness" means "village of dreams." Leoness Cellars was founded in 2003 by Mike Rennie and Gary Winder. They have a very fun tasting room.

Dave and Lee wasted no time in showing their better side.

Then it was off to Wiens Family Cellars. Wiens is known for its quality red wines - "Big Reds." Here we are after sampling a few of them.  A couple of cheeks look big and red:

It was time for lunch, so we stopped at the Ponte Family Estate.  We were advised that it would be a 30 minute wait for a table.  No problem, we'll just do a wine tasting while we wait.  We chatted with our hostess and discovered that while we were in the Hill Country of Texas, we actually stopped at Mr. Ponte's brother's vineyard near Fredericksburg.

Before we knew it, lunch was served.

Having stuffed ourselves silly, we needed a nice long walk to aid in our digestion.  We stopped in Old Town Temecula to wander through the antique shops.  Here we stopped for a quick photo op with Santa.

Temecula was inhabited by indigenous people for hundreds of years before their first meeting with the Spanish missionaries. The Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians believe their ancestors have lived in the Temecula area for more than 10,000 years. In Pechanga mythology, life on earth began in the Temecula Valley. They call it, "Exva Temeeku", the place of the union of Sky-father, and Earth-mother ("Tuukumit'pi Tamaayowit"). The Temecula Indians ("Temeekuyam") lived at "Temeekunga" – "the place of the sun". Other popular interpretations of the name, "Temecula," include "The Sun That Shines Through The Mist," or "Where the sun breaks through the mist."

The whole day was misty - in fact, as we travelled from winery to winery to Old Temecula, it kept raining more heavily and more heavily.  As we walked along the wet boardwalk, we were hoping the sun would break through.

We had one last stop at Europa Village.  I would tell you more about it, but after five wineries, everything is a little fuzzy.

In fact, on the drive back to camp, I swear I saw flying horses leaping across the road from hilltop to hilltop!

Thanks, Darla and Lee Ann for a great day.

1 comment:

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