8 Best Wineries in Temecula to Visit for a Tasting
Southern California isn’t generally known for its wine offerings. Many think you need to head up to at least Santa Barbara and the Central Coast for decent wine.
San Diegans know that isn’t necessarily true, though, as they’re just about an hour away from Temecula wineries. Temecula Valley Wine Country is home to nearly 50 unique wineries serving up award-winning wines, from bold syrahs to Spanish tempranillo to full-bodied French viognier.
Here are 8 of the best wineries in Temecula that will certainly give you a better understanding of the delicious wines available here, within driving distance of San Diego. This is the San Diego day trip you’ve been waiting for.
You’ll find the tasting fees here more palatable, too, even though the region has long since arrived as one of the state’s best wine regions.
Baily Vineyard & Winery
Baily Vineyard & Winery, a family-run winery, has watched the growth of Temecula wineries explode over the years. They’ve been around since 1982, after all, offering up grapes that are very traditionally French in taste and style.
The wines here are focused on all things Bordeaux, so you’ll want to be drinking their reds on your visit here. That means cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc to start, although they also have a number of white wines for you to taste.
They have two spots to visit on your tour of the best wineries in Temecula. Stop by their Baily Visitor Center, their main tasting room, if you don't have time to make a reservation. There’s a restaurant on site there, Carol’s, that features live music on weekend evenings.
If you’re looking for some of their more vintage pours, head to their Estate Tasting Room, a reservation-only experience. On top of bottles of wine that have been aging for the right moment, you’ll be able to have a more intimate tasting there, complete with pours of their best wines from their extensive library.
Briar Rose Winery
Briar Rose Winery is one of the most whimsical wineries in Temecula. Despite its name as an homage to Sleeping Beauty, that other Disney princess, the boutique winery was built here as a replica of Snow White’s cottage in the original Disney cartoon.
The original owner actually worked for Walt Disney and was involved in many of Disneyland’s main attractions. By the 1990s, the winery exchanged hands, but the style remained as a promise to the original owner’s intent for the property.
Today, it’s a favorite for visitors looking for not only the best wine tasting in Temecula, but one of the most scenic stops in the valley. The winery invites you to “taste the enchantment” of their wines in their beautiful garden space. Don’t miss out on their cabernet sauvignon, an award-winner, while you’re having your own Disney princess moment.
The boutique Doffo Winery doesn’t feel like a Southern California winery, and they may be because of its pedigree. The owner comes to Temecula via Argentina, and you’ll see that influence in not only the wines available here, but the snacks. Bring in food if you’d like, but save room for some dipping bread and Argentinian chimichurri.
If you want to try the best that Doffo has to offer, go for any of their red wines. The Bordeaux-style Mistura has been especially well-received with a number of accolades to its name.
Outside of delicious wine, you’ll also be treated to the owner’s collection of scooters and motorcycles. It all feels very much worlds away, especially if you sign up for their private vineyard tour.
You don’t need a reservation to visit, but it’s highly recommended. Doffo Winery is especially popular on weekends in the summertime.
Miramonte Winery is well-known in Temecula as a winery that is consistently recognized for their delicious pours, but locals keep coming back to this one for another reason, too. The views here are spectacular.
The winery sits at 1,400 feet of elevation. Its surrounding vineyards sit between 1,400 and 1,600 feet. That makes a visit to Miramonte quite the scenic one, on top of a memorable tasting of wines with French, Spanish and Portuguese influence.
If you’re hungry, head to the bistro on their property. Choose from charcuterie boards, flatbreads and seasonal salads to go with your award-winning glasses of wine. If you’re visiting on a weekend afternoon, reservations are highly recommended.
Wilson Creek Winery
Wilson Creek Winery is one of the biggest names in winemaking in Temecula, and one of the largest wineries in the region.
If you’ve seen Wilson Creek sold in the area, it’s likely because you’ve had their almond-flavored sparkling wine, a popular option around here no matter what you’re celebrating. They have a wide variety of other styles, as well, including their well-received dessert wines.
The winery is in the business of offering a full-service experience while you’re there. Eat at the attached restaurant or bring along a picnic lunch to have near the surrounding creek. The winery also hosts events year round on the property, so if you’re in the market for a unique wedding location or scenic spot for your company retreat, you can do that here at Wilson Creek.
Akash Winery has only been on the Temecula winery scene since 2019, but it’s quickly grown into one of the top wineries in Temecula. That’s in part because of the experiences they offer there on top of their wine tasting.
From comedy events to yoga sessions, Akash is all about community-building. That may come from how the place came to be. The winery itself is the product of decades of dreams and hard work by the Patel family, the owners of Akash.
The wines here will suit any palate, as they have two separate lines on hand for tastings. Their estate wines are focused on bold reds, like their Three’s Company, a blend of cabernet sauvignon, petite syrah, and zinfandel.
Their Dreamville blends are all wines they love from grapes they aren’t growing on their property yet. The grapes come from other family-run wineries throughout the region, a collaborative effort that you don’t always see among vintners.
Ponte Winery has been around since 1984, pouring wines that come straight from 300 acres of vineyards that surround the property. The winery is high on scenery, with a different look than many of the villas and European-style wineries you’ll find among Temecula wineries.
Ponte wants to feel like Southern California. The property is mission-style, and the wines are meant to treat the senses. The small batch wines include the classics, blends, sparkling and sweet varietals, meaning you’ll find something you’ll like in their offerings no matter what you’re after.
If you’re looking for an extended experience, the winery also has accommodations on its premises. Stay at the Ponte Vineyard Inn, the winery’s boutique hotel, and treat yourself to a luxurious end to a day in the vineyard.
Falkner Winery is another impressive tasting spot with a view. The winery is set on a hillside at 1,500 feet, a fact that helps make it popular for wedding shoots and dining at The Pinnacle Restaurant. The name fits. The views at the eatery are panoramas of the vineyards and beyond, a welcome sight as you’re eating your Mediterranean bites.
The wines here are varied, but if you want to taste one of their flagship wines, go for the Meritage, a Bordeaux-style red wine blend. Their Luscious Lips varieties are also popular, and perfect as a base for chilled sangrias.
If you’re a fan of delicious wine without the pretension of California’s larger wine regions, sampling some of the best vineyards in Temecula may be your new favorite pastime in Southern California. Visit Temecula wineries and experience the casual vibes at these boutique wineries for yourself.
Written by Agnes Groonwald for Knockaround.