OnLine Newsletter
Napa Valley Summer Musicals
Temecula Valley Travel Itinerary
Warm Days, Cool Wines in Southern California
A Taste of Redwood Valley
Enjoy a Genuine Northern California Wine Atmosphere
Wine Country Recipe
Rosemary Coffee Cake
Wine Country Featured Event
Sonoma Valley Harvest Wine Auction Weekend Drawing
Newsletter Trivia Contest—Enter and Win!*
13th Annual Sonoma Valley Harvest Wine Auction - September 2 - 4, 2005

Relive the golden age of Hollywood cinema at the Sonoma Valley Harvest Wine Auction. Experience A Day in the Vineyard. Be an insider at the Cult Cab Dinner. See the Phantom under the Big Tent.  Have grape stompin’ fun at Saturday’s Harvest Picnic. The Main Event has fabulous lots of everything from rare and coveted vintages to exotic overseas travel.  We will have you lifting your glass to toast California’s most historic wine destination. For tickets and information visit: or call (707) 935-0803

Niebaum-Coppola Estate Winery

Niebaum-Coppola Estate WineryVisit one of the premier California wineries, the Niebaum-Coppola Estate Winery, located on the historic Inglenook Estate. For more than 100 years, the Inglenook property in Rutherford has produced some of California's greatest vintages and charmed visitors with its timeless beauty. Francis Ford Coppola, the director/producer of the Godfather trilogy, bought a portion of the property in 1975 to make wine for his family and friends. He purchased the remainder of the historic property in 1995 and restored the Inglenook Chateau, which is once again bringing prestige to the landmark winery.

Now through July 31st, Niebaum-Coppola is offering free shipping on purchases made through the online store with no minimum purchase! Go to, add items to the shopping cart, click the "enter coupon" button and enter WSH2 to activate your shipping discount. You'll see a zero balance for shipping during the checkout process.

Niebaum~Coppola Estate Winery
1991 St. Helena Highway
Rutherford, CA 94573
(800) 575.9927

The Inn at the Tides

The Inn at the TidesEscape to The Inn at the Tides for a relaxing Sonoma wine country retreat. Elegant guest lodges are nestled among secluded, natural surroundings that overlook the bay and beyond to the Pacific Ocean. Let the power and allure of the rugged Sonoma Coast envelop you and give you peace of mind.

Guest rooms have all the modern comforts of home. The heated swimming pool and whirlpool will surely rejuvenate your mind, body and soul or try a massage, available in the privacy of your guest room. To add to your enjoyment, there are also several special packages such as the Stay and Play Golf Package, Horseback Riding Package, or Stay Awhile Package. For fine dining cuisine, look no further than The Bay View Restaurant & Lounge or The Tides Wharf Restaurant, both located onsite.

The Inn at the Tides ~ 800 Coast Highway One
Bodega Bay, California 94923
(800) 541.7788


MONDOVINO COMES TO DVD!"A Fahrenheit 9/11 for the grape." - MSNBC

The ultimate film about wine and wine culture, 'Mondovino' offers an unprecedented look into the conflicts, conspiracies and alliances of the wine trade. Filmed by award-winning director Jonathan Nossiter, 'Mondovino' has sparked controversy in its theatrical run among wine producers, distributors and consumers as it shed light on the esoteric world of wine. 'Mondovino' is an epic exploration into the modern world of wine spanning three continents and five languages, over a three-year period. Juxtaposing artisan wine growers with multi-national conglomerates, and peasants with billionaires, the film gives voice to those who create, critique and are involved in the commerce of wine. The feature length documentary had its world premiere and was an Official Selection at the 2004 Cannes International Film Festival and was seen for the first time in North America at the 2004 Toronto International Film Festival. Order your copy of 'Mondovino' today at or


Warm Days, Cool Wines in Southern California

Not too far from popular Southern California tourist attractions like Disneyland and Sea World is a different kind of wine country destination.  That the surprising Temecula Valley is such a lively wine area, and is one located so conveniently for tours deep in the southern part of the state, will be a revelation to those who have never visited.  This fairly hot growing area is best known for cool, crisp, refreshing white wines, but also presents some excellent reds, along with a generous selection of ports and other tasty dessert wine treats.

Temecula Wine Country Travel Itinerary

For decades, the quality wines and hospitality of Temecula wineries have been of interest to those in the know.  We took a day off from the beach in San Diego to explore the growing reputation and distinctive style of South Coast Wine Country.  Following an easy one-hour drive (one-and-a-half hours if you are coming from Los Angeles), we headed east of Old Town Temecula from US Highway 15.  Here lays a very compact wine-producing area, neatly nestled amongst the area’s citrus groves and hillside avocado ranches.  The majority of vineyards and wineries are conveniently lined up along a five-mile stretch of picturesque Rancho California Road.

This likable area was very busy on the Thursday we visited, with a few surfers and tourists mingling with crowds of women escaping nearby suburbia for the day.  The pleasant weather of a late spring morning was an agreeable treat, and as the day heated up the area’s warm hospitality kept us cool everywhere we went.

Vineyard, winery and hospitality development are active in Temecula Valley Wine Country!  Many new wineries, restaurants, and resorts have recently been built to augment this popular area’s capacity to entertain.  Industry mavens are aware of the damage here from Pierce’s disease, spread by the glassy-winged sharpshooter, but the area’s ability to deliver on its reputation for quality wines and hospitality has hardly been affected. 

The growing appeal of Temecula wine and the area’s growth as a wine country destination brought recently approved measures dictating local varietal content in the wines sold and tasted here.  Big name wineries had eyed Temecula, sometimes from afar, for its proximate appeal to the Southern California tourism and recreation market.  Thankfully, Temecula remains true to itself even as it changes.

Temecula - Allie's Restaurant

It all started in 1975 with Callaway Coastal, one of the oldest brands in the area, so we started there, too.  In recent years the name was expanded to reflect their range of Coastal sources of fruit, both south and central.  The wines are fresh, crisp and approachable—we especially liked the light and delicate rosé, the Nebbiolo Bello.  With an intense bouquet of strawberries and cherries, a clean finish and light touch of sweetness, this wine is a perfect match to the area.  Allie’s Restaurant is located at the other side of the Callaway parking lot, perched on a hillside with view tables in a cool, shaded area, and offers refreshing California Mediterranean cuisine to match the setting. 

From across the road, an attractive view of the renowned Thornton Winery beckoned.  This winery combines old world style with new world taste to create award winning, premium varietal wines.  The méthode champenoise process is used at several area wineries, and Thornton offers one of the best wines in this style.  Café Champagne, a four-star award-winning gourmet restaurant featuring contemporary fusion cuisine, is another reason to stop here.

Out to the east past a picturesque creek still bubbling with the year’s late rains, Wilson Creek Winery and Vineyards appealed with a spirit at once California traditional and modern.  Its tasting room was buzzing with vibrant energy on this idyllic weekday.  Along with more serious wines like Sangiovese and Mourvedre, tasty sweet wines abound at Wilson.  Crushed almonds are added to a sparkling wine’s second fermentation, a delightful wine with nice body and texture that scored 95 points at the California State Fair.  The Angelica Cream Sherry is made from 100-year-old vines, and reflects an old tradition.  Sherry is considered the first wine ever made in California, used in ceremonies by the Padres of the California Mission settlements; this wine carries on the tradition in a grand way.  For a special treat it is served in a Dutch Chocolate “glass”, yum!  The Sunset Jazz in the Vines concert series presents another outstanding reason to enjoy this hospitable facility.

Temecula - Ponte Family Estate Winery and Restaurant

Nestled among 350 acres of vineyards, the Ponte Family Estate Winery and Restaurant was a welcome retreat, as by now we had worked up an appetite.  The Smokehouse Café delivered on its promise of casual dining in a pleasantly designed outdoor setting.  We relaxed under a shady patio, placed perfectly at the edge of beautiful designed gardens and the vineyards.  The sight of iced tea and Sangria being served from big glass pitchers enticed us, but the restaurant staff ably matched Ponte wines to the menu.  The fresh clean flavors of the Pinot Grigio were a standout matched to the ample flavors of a delicious Citrus Spinach Salad, which integrated other local specialties of avocado and citrus. 

The climate of the Temecula Valley may lend itself more to white wines, but Stuart Cellars also produces some serious reds.  Those accustomed to Napa or Sonoma red wines will find themselves at home here.  Grower-Winemaker Marshall Stuart came from Ohio more than a decade ago to bring his plan to fruition, planting vineyards, building winemaking facilities, and bringing additional quality to a valley hungry for even more excellence.  The 2002 Cabernet Franc is a standout choice in Temecula wine enjoyment.  Unfiltered and rich, its plush, dense fruit rides smoothly across the palate.  An up-and-coming Malbec wine received acclaim and quickly sold out earlier this year, and excellent white and red Meritage wines are also made.  The Stuart tasting room is also a cool respite from a hot day, pleasant and very friendly. 

Temecula - Mount Palomar Winery

Across the road, Mount Palomar Winery is another area pioneer, though its tasting room has been updated to great effect.  It is another cool spot to relax if the Temecula sun is getting to you.  The white wines are in transition here thanks to sharpshooter damage, but the intriguing Italianate white varietal Cortese still managed to impress.  Cortese is the most celebrated white grape of northern Italy, and its unique fruit flavor flourishes in the Temecula sun.  Crisp, dry, and delicious, it is a perfect match to fresh seafood.  Other standouts were the crowd-pleasing concentrated fruit of a succulent Syrah, the thick and tasty Solera Cream Sherry, and Shorty’s Bistro Red, an engaging Super Tuscan blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Franc, Cinsault and Barbera.  Shorty’s Red is also one of the area’s best bargains at $14.

Our last stop, Falkner Winery, produces 10 wines from just 24 acres.  Its rustic yet inspiring setting communicates elegance at the same time.  The renowned estate grown Sauvignon Blanc is excellent, as the varietal is a perfect match to the Temecula terroir.  This wonderful wine was made entirely in steel tanks.  Its diverse herbaciousness is surrounded with a slight melon aroma, and fresh floral and fig flavors follow in a soft round finish. 

Temecula Wine Country - Falkner Winery

The 2003 Sweet Loretta carries a lovely name for a beautiful wine.  This fruit-laden blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon is named after Loretta Falkner, co-owner with her husband of the winery.  With just enough sweetness with only 1.5% residual sugar, flavors of melon and honeydew shine brightly.  We thought it perfect for sitting and sipping, as well as for pairing with fruits, salads and chicken dishes.

Sadly, we were out of time.  For our next visit, we will be sure to catch the Palumbo Family Winery; we heard comments about their fine Cabernet Sauvignon and another exceptional Cabernet Franc.  We also were recommended to Leonesse Cellars, especially for a unique Cinsault Port, and to tiny Hart Winery for our pursuit of fine reds to match the cool white wines Temecula has shown it produces so well.

We did finish with a late afternoon visit to charming Old Town Temecula.  Through a picturesque gate at the other end of Rancho California Road lies an old Western town that respects its history while adapting to a new age of wine grapes and avocados.  Here Stellar Cellars operates a quality wine shop, a pleasant, spacious wine bar with a rich selection of by-the-glass choices. Open later than the wineries, it is a hip, early evening hangout that often features live music jams.  Specializing in Temecula wines, our charming hostess Anna led us through an international tasting flight that was interestingly organized by varietal and appellation.  Thursday night tasting events present food and wine adventures, and Fridays and Saturdays offer the no-cover jams from 7-10pm.

The Temecula Valley Winegrowers Association supplies a map and excellent information about the area. Itpromotes the Vine2Wine event coming on August 9, a chance to experience an insider’s view of the Temecula Valley just prior to harvest.  This is a great opportunity to go beyond the ordinary tasting room experience to meet the men and women who grow the grapes and make the wines.  Taste the best fruit of the area by private tour, and then enjoy a special Sunset Vineyard Barbeque.  If staying at an area accommodation, you might choose to relax and leave the driving to The Grapeline Wine Country Shuttle.  These area experts are ready to facilitate your carefree enjoyment; tours and a popular weekend shuttle provide carefree all-day transportation among the wineries.

We thoroughly enjoyed our whirlwind tour of the Temecula area.  Whether the days are warm or cool, we know you will find plenty to enjoy in this valley. 

Travel ItineraryRedwood Valley Wine Country Recipe
Wine Country DrawingThis Issue

Past Newsletters


WineCountry Online Newsletter Editor: Carolyn Lewis

home : lodging : wineries : things to do : event planning : real estate : spas : dining
event calendar : newsletter : discounts/specials : message boards : search : site index

© 1994 - Freerun Technologies Inc. All rights reserved. View our PRIVACY POLICY.
Sister sites: