If the Southern California Wine Country destination of Temecula Valley isn’t on your radar for wine regions you need to visit, it should be. Centrally located in Riverside County, about a one-to-two-hour drive from most of Southern California’s major cities and airports, including San Diego, Los Angeles, and Orange County, Temecula Valley is an easy getaway from just about anywhere.
With rolling hills reminiscent of the Tuscan countryside, a Mediterranean climate with warm, sunny days, breezy afternoons, and cool nights (perfect for grape-growing and vacationing!), and dozens of different grape varieties and styles of wines produced, this wine region, named by Wine Enthusiast Magazine as one of the top ten wine destinations in the world in 2019, is a must-visit for wine lovers.
While booking an itinerary of individual winery visits is a great way to see this popular Southern California Wine Country, there are actually plenty of companies in the region that specialize in creating memorable wine experiences for you. From guided wine tours to simple limo transportation to offbeat excursions on horseback or motorcycle, Temecula offers plenty of options for tasting your way through Wine Country. All you have to do is show up. We’ve rounded up a few of our favorites to get you started.
Owners Kim and John Kelliher have curated a team of local insiders who know Temecula Valley inside and out, and are passionate about sharing their love of the region with wine travelers. From shared tours like the “Classic Wine Adventure” and the “Vineyard Picnic Tour,” which feature stops at three to four wineries, as well as cheeses, snacks, or a catered picnic lunch, to private choose-your-own-winery-adventure-style SUV tours, the top-rated Grapeline Wine Tours can work with you to create the perfect Wine Country experience. Join “Club Kay” and earn cork bucks to redeem on future wine tours, including excursions to the other wine regions they service: Napa Valley, Paso Robles, Sonoma Valley, and Santa Barbara.
27286 Via Industria, Suite A, Temecula, CA 92590, (951) 693-5755
This luxury tour company prides itself on offering flexible, fully customizable wine tour experiences. Visitors can select from a large menu of add-on options, such as vertical wine tastings, food and wine pairing classes, and even a vineyard proposal package for those looking to pop the question Wine Country style. For the ultimate wine lover’s experience, book the exclusive private wine dinner, which includes a gourmet four-course meal cooked by your private chef, sommelier-presented wines, and a beautifully decorated table set just for you and your guests among the vines.
31915 Rancho California Road, Temecula, CA 92591, (951) 852-6799
Visitors who are simply looking for a stylish and upscale ride between wine tasting stops will want to book Stryder Transportation. This full-service transportation provider boasts an extensive vehicle fleet of sedans, limos, SUVs, and motor coaches that can be at your beck and call as you taste your way through Temecula Valley. Stryder also offers private wine tours, wedding transportation, and corporate packages as well as airport transfers and by-the-hour rates.
35505 Calle Nopal, Temecula, CA 92592, (951) 693-0242
Owner and operator Diana Lefort is passionate about horses. Not only does she have three decades of equine experience, she has also rehabilitated more than 50 horses abandoned or abused by their owners. The result is Wine Country Trails by Horseback, a unique tour company that invites wine and animal lovers to tour the stunning trails and vineyards of Temecula Valley by horse. Experienced trainers have conditioned these horses to carry guests through vineyards on one of several different tour packages available, such as the wildly popular, 90-minute sunset ride or a fully-customizable wine and equestrian experience for groups of all sizes.
34450 Rancho California Road, Temecula, CA 92591, (951) 795-1444
How often do you get to take a tour of Wine Country in an open-air vintage San Francisco cable car? Hop on one of these lovingly restored, motorized cable cars, and enjoy unobstructed views of Temecula Valley vineyards and countryside. Not only do they offer all-inclusive Temecula Valley wine tours that feature visits to three wineries and a Wine Country lunch, but brave visitors can also book the “Nightly Spirits” Haunted Cable Car Tour through the once Wild West of Old Town Temecula.
41740 Enterprise Circle N, STE 106, Temecula, CA 92590, (951) 302-5981
Love wine and the fast life? Experience the thrill of a Wine Country motorcycle ride while letting someone else do the driving as you hop aboard the world’s first and only tandem motorcycle sidecars through Temecula Valley. These throwback passenger cars accommodate two people comfortably, and are driven by skilled riders decked out in stylish, of-the-era gear, who will guide you through the rich history and idyllic surroundings via backroads made accessible by the freedom of motorcycle travel. So-Cal Sidecars offers a wide range of tour possibilities, including winery, brewery, specialty cocktail, and city tours, as well as day and night options and custom experiences.
39730 Calle Contento, Temecula, CA 92591, (951) 414-5344
For total romance, or simply an experience that harkens back to a simpler, bygone era, experience Temecula Valley Wine Country on a horse-drawn carriage. Enjoy the pleasant clip clop of hooves as you take in Temecula Valley’s rolling hills and rows of carefully tended vines on your private tour, a picnic basket of Wine Country delights like meats, cheeses, crackers, olives, and local wine, as well as parasols and flannel blankets at your fingertips. Group tours are also available, which include a visit to four different wineries, as well as various stops throughout Wine Country, allowing you to experience the shops, restaurants, grounds, and tasting rooms at a leisurely, civilized pace.
40001 Berenda Road, Temecula, CA 92591, (858) 205-9161
Temecula Valley is known for world-class wines, stunning vistas, gorgeous weather, and friendly people. It’s also known for a sky frequently dotted with colorful hot air balloons floating over vineyards at dawn. Start your day with a dreamy sunrise balloon ride, and behold just how gorgeous Wine Country can be from 2,000 feet in the air. Each balloon adventure will start at Vindemia Winery and cover anywhere from two to seven miles, culminating in a delectable breakfast of Cinnamon Burst bread, local fresh fruits, cheese, crackers, and of course, mimosas in Vindemia’s private Rose Garden, as well as a complimentary wine tasting for two.
33133 Vista Del Monte Road, Temecula, CA 92591, (951) 699-0601
For wine lovers looking for a high touch, guided experience, Destination Temecula offers public and private tours of Temecula Valley that feature not only top-notch transportation throughout Wine Country, but also escorted entrances to each winery stop, personal introductions to winery staff (and often the winery owners and winemakers themselves!), and detailed stories of the region’s history, climate, wineries, personalities, and unique characteristics. Enjoy wine tastings, a winery lunch, and the memories that come with making new friends on a true Wine Country immersion experience.
28475 Old Town Front Street, Suite F, Temecula, CA 92590, (951) 695-1232