California is likely the biggest wine producer in the United States and one of the few areas in the country with a real wine legacy that competes with the best in the world. One area with a rapidly increasing popularity is Temecula, an exciting destination with a staggering array of fantastic winery options. Let me take you on a trip to Temecula to show you some fun and unforgettable wine destinations.
Where’s Temecula, California?
Temecula sits in southwestern Riverside County in California and has become a popular wine destination for true connoisseurs.
Many, many wine fans make at least one pilgrimage here every few years to try out one of the new wineries that always seems to be popping up.
You can get everything from small wineries with just a few unique offerings to full-scale, lavish operations.
Temecula’s special wine comes from the Temecula Valley, a large and inviting area with rich soil, beautiful scenery, and luscious vegetation.
Just as many people come to this area to hike, swim, or explore as they do to enjoy wine!
Many of the best wineries sit right next to their vines, giving you ring-side seats to some of the best grapes in California or anywhere in the world.
Temecula Valley is also one of the oldest continually populated areas in the nation.
Native Americans were present in the valley as early as 900 A.D. and may have been here even sooner. This rich history has only expanded in recent years and has become a fascinating and genuinely intriguing place to visit.
But, of course, when you’re tired of drinking wine (impossible, I know), you can always check out the town itself.
Temecula has a fun downtown shopping center that does include plenty of wine stores, lots of tourist-friendly clothing destinations, and even some old-fashioned streetcars imported from San Francisco.
But, of course, the biggest reason to visit this area is the wines, so let’s not linger too long on shopping and dining and dive headfirst into the best wines and wineries in the region.
Related: Temecula is great, but you may be interested in nearby Paso Robles wineries. Alternatively you can check out the unfrequented and more private wineries in Santa Ynez valley. However, Santa Barbara wineries may be more up your alley if you want to be spoiled for choice.
Popular Wines from Temecula, California
Over the years, Temecula has earned a reputation for producing some very good wine varietals.
The most popular options not only compete openly with European options but may even slightly beat them in some areas.
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular choices in Temecula:
- Malbec: Many popular Temecula wineries create rich and delicious Malbec wines. They typically produce a deep ruby red color with a bit of violet and navy blue. Taste profiles include a slight hint of vanilla, tobacco, and coffee, with rich tannins that make it a popular option for true aficionados.
- Zinfandel: California is almost always renowned for its Zins, and Temecula doesn’t let the state down! Their Zinfandels typically engage the taste buds with touches of plum, figs, cherries, and raspberry. I particularly love the balanced taste that makes these Zins hard to put down.
- Bordeaux: California Bordeaux wines may not be quite as popular as true French Bordeaux options, but they have their own unique flavor and taste options. Expect a relatively balanced and earthy taste with this wine, with some mineral and fruit notes and a rather dense tannin content.
You can thankfully find each of these unique wines throughout the many wineries in the area!
By now, you’re probably ready to book a flight to Temecula and check out its over 40 different wineries.
Not so fast! Let’s examine the 12 best options to ensure that you are satisfied with your pick.
13 of the Best Wineries in Temecula, California
When examining each of these 13 wineries, I made sure to check several different factors.
These include the quality of their wine, any food options, the overall feel of the winery, and their price-to-value ratio.
Things like their atmosphere are also considered, though I find it’s more important to focus on value and price, as many people may order wines online from these wineries instead of attending them in person.
Map of The Best Wineries in Temecula, California
1. Carter Estate Winery
- Website: Carter Estate Winery
- Address: 34450 Rancho California Rd, Temecula, CA 92591
- Phone Number: 888-364.5709
Carter Estate Winery & Resort is a fantastic destination vacation that has grown in popularity over the last several years.
You can always stop by for a quick drink of their award-winning sparkling wines (made using the French méthode champenoise process), sign up for their monthly wine club, or book a visit to their 109-acre facility.
What makes this winery stand out is its commitment to quality and high class.
You typically get a better wine when you visit here, with very carefully selected decorations and amenities that make it a top-class option.
You can also get a variety of unique amenities that make it worth visiting, including:
- Hot air balloon package
- Destination wedding options
- Award-winning dining options
- Special packages that include vineyard tours
- Large pool available
2. Palumbo Family Vineyards
- Website: Palumbo Family Vineyards
- Address: 40150 Barksdale Cir, Temecula, CA 92592
- Phone Number: 951-676-7900
Palumbo Family Vineyards boasts an incredibly sustainable practice that reuses as much soil, vines, and material products as possible.
While not one of the largest vineyards at 13 acres, they produce delicious reds and small-lot varieties of Sangiovese, Viognier, Cabernet Franc, and Syrah.
Despite their relatively small size, Palumbo Family Vineyards has quickly made a reputation due to their quality wines, fantastic wine club, and many other unique amenities.
Some of these benefits shocked me, and I had to research to make sure they were real.
Thankfully, they are, and you can get:
- Private tasting room for your enjoyment
- Helipad for helicopter travel!
- Accommodation for limo and group visits
3. Doffo Wines
- Website: Doffo Wines
- Address: 36083 Summitville ST. Temecula, CA 92592
- Phone Number: 866-469-8466
Doffo Wines is a family-oriented winery that includes some of the best Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Zinfandel, and dessert wines in the state.
Their sparkling wine is trendy for its rather sharp and enjoyable taste.
Fans of motocross racing are particularly welcome here, as the Doffo Family collect motorcycles and host various motocross viewing events throughout the year.
They also provide live music options, including acoustic music, some R&B, and even family-friendly rap concerts.
Their other amenities include:
- Group and limo reservations
- Private rooms where you can stay the night
- Reserved and private taste tests
4. Europa Village Winery and Resort
- Website: Europa Village Winery and Resort
- Phone Number: 951-506-1818
- Address: 41150 Via Europa, Temecula, CA 92591
Europa Village utilizes three different wineries, Bolero, Vienza, and Prelude/C’est La Vie, that help create a surprisingly diverse array of wines.
Their specialties include Cabernet Sauvignon (a favorite of most California winemakers) and an excellent Tempranillo.
Europa Village also has two wine clubs, Société Wine Club and The Europa Table, that you can try out.
These clubs vary their wines based on your taste and allow a pretty broad range of different options.
Other amenities that make this winery worth visiting when you’re in the area include:
- Concierge services for those staying in the area
- Wedding and business meeting books
- A relaxing spa (coming soon!)
5. Leoness Cellars
- Website: Leoness Cellars
- Address: 38311 De Portola Rd, Temecula, CA 92592
- Phone Number: 951-302-7601
Leoness is particularly renowned for its fantastic hilltop view: sitting outdoors with a glass of wine and delicious food and looking out over their 500 acres of vineyards is reason enough to visit here.
However, the wine quality is more important than anything, and they thankfully deliver.
Their options include a blend of whites and reds that make them one of the most diverse options in the area.
Their signature wine is a Cabernet Sauvignon, probably the best in the area, depending on your taste.
They also have a great Zinfandel and can provide you with many other amenities, including:
- Destination wedding options
- Tasty restaurant with French cooking techniques
- eGift card options for the wine lover in your life
6. Fazeli Cellars
- Website: Fazeli Cellars
- Phone Number: 951-303-3366
- Address: 37320 De Portola Rd, Temecula, CA 92592
Bizhan Fazeli founded Fazeli Cellars after moving to the Temecula area and falling in love with the area’s wines.
Since its foundation, Fazeli Cellars has become a popular option for people who like Mourvedre (not a typical California wine), Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Petite Sirah wines.
Fazeli also includes a banquet facility and on-site restaurant, making it a fantastic place to visit.
This comprehensive range of options should please just about anybody who wants a unique wine experience that their family will love.
Fazeli also offers many other amenities and events, including:
- Live music on Saturdays and Sundays
- Fun events like Salsa Night and dance events
- A unique Persian-fusion dining option
7. Vindemia Winery
- Website: Vindemia Winery
- Phone Number: 951-760-9334
- Address: 33133 Vista Del Monte Rd, Temecula, CA 92591
Vindemia is a family-owned operation that focuses primarily on small-lot and limited production wines. This means their wines aren’t always readily available, but you’ll understand why when you find one.
Their Zinfandel is particularly noteworthy and has won awards for quality and taste.
That said, this winery also provides options like Syrah, Viognier, and Sauvignon for those who love them.
They also focus on sustainable operational methods, helping to cut back on their environmental impact.
However, they also have many other amenities that make them worth visiting, including:
- A beautiful view that looks perfectly towards the sunrise
- A working relationship with California Dreamin’ Balloon Adventures
- Wine club memberships that help you get access to their best wines
8. Callaway Vineyards and Winery
- Website: Callaway Vineyards and Winery
- Phone Number: 951-676-4001
- Address: 32720 Rancho California Rd, Temecula, CA 92591
Callaway Vineyards is one of the oldest continually operating wineries in the area for a reason.
Their Petite Sirah, Syrah, and Sauvignon wines are among the most respected in the area.
In addition, all their wines are 100% estate-grown, meaning all their grapes are grown and processed here without using other outside options.
Like many wineries in the area, Callaway also has an acclaimed restaurant (Meritage) that serves much more than cheese, bread, and meat.
This restaurant hosts a New Year’s Eve celebration every year that makes it very fun and unforgettable.
A few other amenities you may get when visiting here include:
- Helicopter tours that go from San Diego to Callaway!
- Multi-purpose gift cards you can use with friends
- Beneficial wine clubs that send you drinks every month
9. Baily Vineyards and Winery
- Website: Baily Vineyards and Winery
- Phone Number: 951-676-9463
- Address: 33440 La Serena Way, Temecula, CA 92591
Carol and Phil Baily started this winery in 1982 and have expanded it heavily over the last several years.
Carol still operates the region-favorite Carol’s Restaurant, while Phil still takes a hands-on approach to winemaking.
This small-scale operation makes it popular with many wine fans. Wine lovers also enjoy the fact that the Bailys use a traditional winemaking style.
They focus on more extended barrel aging to produce reasonably complex wines, including a high concentration of reds like Cabernet Franc (their signature blend) and Meritage.
Other amenities you may experience here include:
- An acclaimed array of delicious and reasonably priced food options
- Private party and banquet options for visitors who want more privacy
- Vineyard tours that showcase this fantastic winery and its unique options
10. Carruth Cellars
- Website: Carruth Cellars
- Phone Number: 858-847-9463
- Address: 118 S Cedros Ave #C, Solana Beach, CA
Though located in Solana Beach, this winery is close enough to make it a quick drive from other Temecula wineries.
They source grapes from multiple different sources, which may disappoint wine fans who want a single-source option.
However, this choice helps them produce more diverse wines.
For example, their Pinot Noir and Zinfandel wines are among the best in the area and create a fascinating array of different tastes.
They also provide tours and much more for visitors that should make this experience more enjoyable.
Other amenities you get when visiting here include:
- A live concert venue with some great local bands
- “Pay It Forward” bottles that dedicate cash to real, local charities
- Wine club memberships that should suit many people’s tastes
11. Wilson Creek Winery
- Website: Wilson Creek Winery
- Phone Number: 951-699-9463
- Address: 35960 Rancho California Road, Temecula, CA 92591
Wilson Creek Winery is one of the most extensive and most sprawling winery options in the area.
They provide a variety of tours that include five tastings and a complimentary wine glass, along with a 10% discount on all purchases made that day.
Outdoor seating areas let you relax in the beautiful California sun.
Wilson Creek wines are heavily available throughout the state and are some of the most popular local wines in the region.
I particularly suggest the Cabernet Sauvignon, as it has that rich array of tastes and flavors you’ve come to love with this wine.
Amenities that you may enjoy here include:
- Wedding booking on a relatively large and attractive estate
- Accommodations, like hotel rooms and other custom amenities
- A restaurant with a Greek-style grill that pairs well with wine
12. Avensole Winery
- Website: Avensole Winery
- Phone Number: 951-252-2003
- Address: 34567 Rancho California Road, Temecula, CA
Avensole is a reasonably small winery by acreage at just 16 acres.
However, its unique position in the Temecula Valley helps make its prime growing ground particularly great for producing wines.
Their Muscat Canelli is one of the best I’ve tried, as is their Gewurztraminer.
They also provide some traditional favorites, such as Cabernet Sauvignon and various Zinfandel options.
I like that they include some lesser-known options among the clear favorites. It shows an attention to detail that works well in their favor.
Other amenities include:
- A constantly evolving restaurant menu with in-season ingredients
- Multiple wine clubs you can join for various monthly deliveries
- Regular concerts and events that keep this venue hopping
13. Oak Mountain Winery
- Website: Oak Mountain Winery
- Phone Number: 951-699-9102
- Address: 36522 Via Verde, Temecula, CA
Last but not least, on my list is Oak Mountain Winery.
The thing that stands out about this option is its amiable and open atmosphere.
As a family-owned and operated winery, it typically has the comfortable feel of private taste testing, even when you’re around many people.
The Cave Cafe serves mouthwatering burgers and other foods alongside sparkling wines, Tempranillo, and Cabernet Sauvignon specialties.
There’s something of a pub atmosphere to this winery, particularly with its pub-ready food options.
Just a few other amenities you might experience include:
- A subterranean mined wine cave at 104 feet below ground
- A streamlined online shop that makes buying easy
- Destination wedding options that should work well for most
- Multiple event options that should keep you entertained
Which Wineries Are Best For Tours?
Wine tours are a fun and unforgettable way to explore the beautiful Temecula Valley region and check out how wines get produced.
When deciding on these wineries, I made sure to examine the overall friendliness of the tour staff and the comprehensiveness of the tour itself.
Palumbo Family Winery
If you want a friendly and more hands-on tour, this option is for you!
Rather than getting a disinterested employee walking you through the facility, an actual member of the Palumbo Family will take you through the winery.
You’ll learn about their sustainable farming practices (some of the most acclaimed in the state), get the chance to see grapes on the vine, and learn more about how grapes become wines.
Europa Village Winery and Resort
Few wine tours provide the kind of comprehensive experience you get here.
You’ll get the chance to explore the rolling vineyards and smell grapes as they’re ripening.
You’ll also get to taste up to eight different in-production and handmade wines, giving you a unique insight into this winery.
If interested, you can also learn more about the importance of great soil when producing wine.
Are you a fan of motorcycles and wines? Then, you need to check out this tour!
You’ll not only learn more about the winery’s farming techniques and wine options, but you’ll also explore the beautiful landscape, experience what it’s like to grow and harvest grapes, and visit the MotoDoffo Vintage Motorcycle Collection.
Of course, their hogs are about as good as their wine, which is honestly saying something.
The Best Wineries For Taste Testing
If you do plan on visiting any wineries for taste testing, it is a good idea to consider each winery’s availability, seating options, scenery, friendliness, and general atmosphere.
Thankfully, more than just a few Temecula wineries quality for taste testing! So let’s take a look at a few to help you in your search.
Baily Vineyards and Winery
When it comes to diversity, Baily Vineyards may be your best choice.
They have two tasting rooms, including the main room in their visitor center.
Here, you can taste any wine from their menu list, though you’re limited to up to six.
At their production facility, you can also taste-test older reserve wines that may not even be in production anymore.
Both areas create an intimate and friendly atmosphere that works well for just about anybody.
When checking out photos of this winery, you will discover a set of reasonably comfortable seating, including padded bar stools and relaxing armchairs situated throughout the facility.
The outdoor tasting room is particularly lovely, as you’ll get a chance to experience the fantastic view of the estate’s vineyards.
The relaxed and friendly atmosphere makes this a place where you can even take your kids, as they’ll enjoy the tasty food.
Carter Estate Winery
Carter Estate provides a unique Wine and Food Pairing day that makes it one of the best wineries in the Temecula area for taste testing.
You’ll not only get five great wines but experience some tasty food prepared by the winery’s high-quality chefs.
These food pairings take place in a relatively private and intimate atmosphere, as well, giving you plenty of time to relax with loved ones.
Best Wineries For Lunch
If you’re a big fan of wine and food (who isn’t?), then you need to choose wineries that provide delicious lunch options.
Thankfully, each of the wineries listed here does serve food of some kind.
But I’ve found the three consistently highly rated lunch options for your wine needs.
Fazeli Cellars uses a Mediterranean-Persian fusion food style that owner, BJ Fazeli, has been carefully perfecting over the years.
As a result, the overall environment comes across as a comfortable little bistro, including options like shawarma and much more.
It’s honestly hard to beat this type of rich and diverse food, notably when Fazeli also offers such tasty and rich wine options.
As if Leoness’ exceptional wines weren’t enough, their Restaurant at Leoness is acclaimed as one of the best in the area.
Even people who don’t like wines visit here with their children and get a surprising array of salads, pasta, flatbreads, and chicken dishes.
The flatbreads are particularly popular because they pair well with most Leoness wines and provide kids with a broad array of dining options.
Callaway Vineyards and Winery
Within this winery, Meritage Restaurant provides visitors with a variety of fresh and season-specific meals.
They focus on farm-to-table meals, meaning that all ingredients are picked from farms very shortly before being prepared in meals.
In addition, many of their foods (including delicious cheese and meat trays) come directly from the winery’s greenhouse, ensuring the freshest possible ingredients.
I honestly don’t think you can wrong with any of these wineries!
There are so many unique options that I strongly suggest you book a vacation there for at least a week or so and visit a different winery each day.
Some wineries even provide a tour bus that can pick you up at no extra cost and help you save money on your trip.