TEMECULA VALLEY, Calif. — The emerging Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country continues to grow, with more lodging options, wineries, breweries, distilleries and activities opening each year. This makes it an exciting, fresh destination for groups of all sizes and needs. Temecula Valley Wine Country, Old Town Temecula and Pechanga Resort Casino make up the three major attractions within the destination.
Temecula Valley is located 60 minutes from San Diego, Orange County, and Palm Springs, and 90 minutes from Los Angeles. It’s conveniently located in the center of Southern California, making it just 45 to 90 minutes from five major airports.
Personal dining experiences
The Restaurant at Leoness offers an intimate and personalized 8-person Chef’s Table event featuring a customized 9-course tasting menu with wine pairings presented by Chef Daragh Matheson BS, CEC, CCE. Guests enjoy estate wine while engaging with Matheson as he prepares each dish in front of the guests. Afternoon Tea at Leoness includes finger sandwiches like Scottish Smoked Salmon and Coronation Chicken, as well as made-from-scratch choux buns, truffles, and decadent pastries paired with a sparkling Brut.
Latitude by JR offers a chef experience that includes five personalized courses with wine pairings. Guests interact with Chef Jason as he personally presents each dish to the table.
Group tours get a little wild
There’s plenty of wildlife to see by chance, from red hawks and roadrunners to coyotes and bobcats when visiting Temecula Valley. It’s not unusual to spot animals in the wild; however, there are a couple of places groups can visit for up close and personal encounters. Temecula Valley Alpacas shares their adorable, social friends with the public. Visitors can feed, pet and interact with these fun-loving animals while learning about alpaca farming as a sustainable fiber and fertilizer resource.
Exotic animals and chocolates are not two things normally placed in the same sentence, but at Sugarplum Farm they come together nicely to create a memorable experience. Daily tours offer closeup visits with a camel, zebra, water buffalo and even a zonkey, at this intimate therapy zoo. There’s a special treat at the end when guests enter the cottage to receive a handmade chocolate sample and browse the beautiful, delicious, high-end chocolates delivered to luxury hotels for turndowns.
Hands-on making and tasting
Galway Spirits offers a whiskey making class to learn the process from marshing to bottling. Visitors tour the distillery, taste the spirits, and leave with their own homemade bottle of whiskey. A wine educator at BOTTAIA Winery leads the group in creating customized red wines in their blending lob, complete with graduated cylinders and pipettes for exact measurements. Each guest is able to bottle, cork, capsule, and take home their own blend.
New places to taste in Temecula Valley Wine Country are Akash Winery, Somerset Winery, and BOTTAIA Winery. Bolero Spanish winery will be opening early 2020.
Team building and relaxation
Grapeseed Spa at South Coast Winery Resort recently opened Serenity Path, which is a relaxing walk through the vineyards and an ideal space for meditation. Vino-Vinyasa is a one-of-a-kind take on group therapy yoga and wine tasting. The group focuses on chakras (centers of consciousness) within the body, building energy levels, followed by wine tastings for a blissful “wine and unwind” experience. Team building is a two-hour class providing a yoga experience, working on six elements of teamwork: trust, community, communication, fun, balance and intelligence.
New places to stay
Now welcoming more than 3-million visitors each year, Temecula Valley is keeping up with the demand by opening new hotels. Best Western Plus opening in Old Town Temecula and Home2 Suites adjacent to Old Town Temecula. Ramada Inn is changing to Signature Temecula by RLH Corporation. They’ve added a retro-modern twist with mid-century modern design. Even more places to stay are coming soon, including Bolero Winery with 10 guest casitas.
For more information about group visitation explore VisitTemeculaValley.com.