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By Chanin Victor
Observer Travel Editor 

We've got SIPS for an amazing weekend getaway in Temecula Wine Country

South Coast Winery Resort and Spa: 50 guest suites and 82 villas with Vineyard Views!

 

January 26, 2022

The author pouring wine at the South Coast Winery.

In the heart of Temecula Valley Wine Country and surrounded by 63 acres of beautifully tended vines, you'll find family-owned South Coast Winery Resort and Spa. Bask in an idyllic setting and experience Southern California's wine country for a peaceful sojourn. Delight in an unforgettable wine-tasting occasion. Bring the kids (and dog), stay for the weekend, and immerse yourself in a complete wine country adventure.

Temecula Valley is the inland oasis to enjoy when looking for a weekend getaway. You'll find incredible dining, eclectic shopping, unique experiences, and of course, wine tasting! Savor hundreds of award-winning wines and over fifty varietals on the lush grounds of beautiful California vineyards. Whether you're staying in the "Jewel of Riverside County" for a girl's trip, destination wedding, professional retreat, or a family-friendly vacation, you'll find something to do for everyone here and you won't want to leave.

Getting There

Easily accessible by car (or hot air balloon wink) from many of Southern California's coastal cities, you'll find getting to Temecula is an easy road trip. From LA, via the CA-405, the CA-91, or the CA-60, it can take anywhere from within a two-hour drive with no traffic to almost (gulp) three hours on a Friday afternoon. We learned our lesson with this one for sure. However, we did choose to take a more scenic route on the CA-74, over the mountain and down towards Lake Elsinore. This route was much more enjoyable during the slowed-down conditions and the views were incredible. From Orange County, take the CA-74 and you'll be there in a hop and a skip. From San Diego take the I-15 and from the Palm Springs area take the CA-74 over the mountain to the CA-371. Temecula is pretty much equidistant from all of these locations.

Temecula Weather

Once you arrive in Temecula, you'll see the rolling hills, mountain views, and if you visit at the right time of year, flourishing, bountiful vineyards abundant with grapes ready for harvest. Most of the year, you'll feel the warm breeze and the sun caressing your hair. We brought our jackets for the afternoon and evenings, but we were never really cold. Layers are key when temperatures fluctuate and it's also a great excuse to bring multiple wine-tasting outfits!

No matter what time of year you decide to visit Temecula, you'll find the weather to be unobjectionable at the very least:

Spring: High 76F Low 53F -- summer: High 90F Low 61F

Fall: High 74F Low 51F -- Winter: High 68F Low 47F

It's this amazing, temperate California climate that makes the area a popular destination for wine enthusiasts, golfers, and those just needing an easy escape.

South Coast Winery Suites and Villas

The founder, Jim Carter, was inspired to build the area's very first full-service winery resort in the early 2000s and it has since emerged as one of the region's most acclaimed and popular wineries. South Coast Winery Resort & Spa has 50 guest suites and 82 villas, ranging in

size from 490 to 850 square feet, each with beautiful vineyard views as well as

comfortable sitting and dining areas. Suites are located in the elegant hotel tower while villas are scattered among the vineyards – each with a private patio. All accommodations are dog-friendly.

We loved our Deluxe Double Queen Villa and it was perfect for our family of three, plus our dog.

In-room amenities include:

Triple sheeted luxury linens and down comforters; Cozy gas fireplaces; LCD flat-screen TVs; WiFi

Soothing hot tubs (Villas)

In-room Keurig coffeemaker with premium coffee

Hairdryers -- Iron and ironing boards -- In-room safes

Refrigerators -- Room service -- Complimentary bottle of wine upon arrival

BIG thank you South Coast Winery for the charcuterie and wine which we definitely needed after three hours fighting Friday afternoon traffic! Next time, we'll be savvier about road trippin!

Tuscan-Inspired Dining

Looking for a memorable culinary adventure? The Vineyard Rose is located on the property and offers breakfast, lunch, intermezzo and dinner. They also offer in-room dining and takeout. The hours are 8am to 9pm. Featuring fresh, California-style cuisine masterminded by executive chef Jose Esparza, it's quite the experience. Of course, you'll find a South Coast wine or two to pair with whatever you choose. This strikingly beautiful, Tuscan-inspired dining hall is enormous with open wood beams and views out onto the terrace. Relax at the wine bar before and watch the sunset over the vineyards or choose to dine al fresco on the landscaped patio, where you can enjoy the perfect Temecula weather.

We ordered a bottle of NV South Coast Winery Sparkling Pinot Grigio: Gold and Best of Class, 2018 Los Angeles International Wine Competition. For an appetizer, we started off with the scallops and the Vineyard Rose salad. For dinner, we enjoyed the Skuna Bay Miso Salmon with Nori rice, edamame, baby bok choy, soy caramel, scallions, and sesame seeds. The Grilled Filet Mignon in a red wine reduction came with smashed fingerlings, wild mushrooms, and asparagus. We also had the penne pasta with seasonal vegetables, parmesan, and pesto.

We couldn't make up our minds for dessert, so we tried three: the dark chocolate decadent walnut fudge brownie, the classic creme brulée, and an exquisite berry creme caramel mousse. We loved (and ate) every last bite!

Special Dining Offers

With Valentine's Day right around the corner, South Coast Winery is offering some ways to create those special Valentine's moments:

Valentine's Day Specials Featured at The Vineyard Rose Restaurant

Available Thursday, February 10, through Monday, February 14, from 5:30 to 9 p.m.

Romance is always in the air at lovely Tuscan-inspired The Vineyard Rose Restaurant at South Coast Winery Resort & Spa. In addition to the customary menu, innovative Valentine specials include appetizers of Spinach and Strawberry Salad with poppyseed dressing or Seared Tuna Salad composed of Napa red cabbage, shaved carrots, wonton crisp and soy ginger vinaigrette. Special Entrees include a choice of Petite Filet and Scallops with potato croquette, asparagus, baby carrots and cipollini onions; Pork Osso Buco with cheddar polenta, tomato ragu and gremolata; or San Francisco Cioppino with littleneck clams, green lip mussels, shrimp, bay scallops, sea bass and lobster broth. For the sweet ending, Desserts feature Belgian Chocolate Tarte with Raspberries and Strawberry Sponge Cake with Chantilly Cream. Reservations available at http://www.OpenTable.com.

The Spa: South Coast Winery boasts the only full-service spa in the Temecula Valley, the three-story 17,000-square-foot GrapeSeed Spa features a heated saltwater pool, two whirlpools, private lockers, spa dining menu and a full fitness center. The 22 treatment rooms all have patios with fountains.

GrapeSeed Spa offers a variety of treatments in a tranquil setting – from HydraFacials to deep tissue massages – as well as a full-service boutique, manicure/pedicure area and a yoga studio with regular yoga instruction and other classes. Hours are 8am to 5pm.

Once we felt the splendid warm water of the pool, we grabbed our swimsuits and jumped in. It was the perfect day for some pool time. Pool hours are 7am to 10pm.

The Tasting Room

One of the highlights of our little weekend getaway was the opportunity to taste some of the wines of South Coast Winery. There is a beautiful room where locals gather for the tasting experience, but it was such a beautiful day so we all sat outside, including our daughter, sometimes on her iPad. Of course, Mishka, our dog, was there too hanging out in the grass. What an wonderful day we had as we all relaxed and listened to live music.

Come by for a day of wine-tasting or stay for the weekend and immerse yourself in the complete wine country experience. Spend time with your family or favorite person and have a bottle of South Coast Winery's estate-grown, certified sustainable, award-winning wines.

South Coast Winery is known for consistently great wine with many options to choose from, including some of the wines my husband and I tried. They first started bottling wine back in 2003, and have since earned more than 3,000 awards in regional and international competitions. They are also the proud recipient of the Cilurzo Award for Winery of the Year, which was awarded from the Temecula Xenia Hospitality Awards.

Here is what we tried:

The award-winning Sparkling Vineyard Rosé--Sparkling Ruby Cuvée

2016 Dry Gewürztraminer--- 2020 Verdelho--- 2017 Viognier

2020 Grenache Noir Rosé -- 2017 Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

Group Therapy -- 2015 Tempranillo Monastrell

2014 Wild Horse Peak Heritage; -- 2015 Wild Horse Peak Petite Sirah

There are so many others,... But try any one of these and you are bound to find a new favorite.

The Winery offers tastings every day from 11-4pm during the week and 11-5pm on weekends. Weekends also offer you a chance to kick back and listen to some live music from local and famous artists. It truly is an unforgettable experience.

The hospitality we experienced at South Coast Winery Resort & Spa has set the Gold Standard of Excellence. You could tell they take great pride and care in delivering exceptional guest experiences with a warm, friendly Southern California style.

Plan Ahead For Romance

Thinking ahead to Valentine's Day: Couples Celebrate Romance with Couple's Massage at GrapeSeed Spa. - For a soothing Valentine's treat, GrapeSeed Spa at South Coast Winery Resort & Spa welcomes couples to stroll through the vineyards and then luxuriate with a 50-minute Classic Couple's Massage in a private couples' room at the Spa. This romantic treatment ends with a glass of the winery's award-winning sparkling wine paired with chocolate truffles. $350 per couple. Reservations available at 877-552-1731.

Looking for a romantic getaway and maybe leaving the kids with the grandparents? Think ahead to the South Coast Winery Resort & Spa Romance Package - An overnight getaway for two means a romantic setting, total relaxation, luxurious accommodations and luscious wine and strawberry treats. Package includes one-night accommodations, a welcome bottle of wine, plate of chocolate covered strawberries, strewn rose petals and a bottle of South Coast Sparkling Wine. Starting at $290 for one night plus tax. To book Romance Package, guests can visit https://www.southcoastwinery.com/specials/romance-package. For additional nights, they can call 951-587-9463.

Since its inception, South Coast Winery Resort & Spa has raised the bar for the Southern California wine industry – breaking records in both domestic and international competitions – accumulating over 5,000 accolades, including status as the only winery to be the four-time winner of the prestigious California State Winery of the Year award from the California State Fair Commercial Wine Competition. With acre after acre of carefully tended vineyards, South Coast

offers 45 wine labels, the majority of which are available for sampling in the main tasting room – from robust reds such as tempranillo, cabernet sauvignon, grenache, petit syrah, merlot, and pinot noir to whites including sauvignon blanc, viognier, pinot grigio, chardonnay, and riesling. Also available are sparkling wines, dessert wines, and other specialty offerings. The winery employs a staff of skilled winemakers, including master winemaker Jon McPherson and winemaker Javier Flores, both with decades of experience in the wine industry.

Galentine's and Valentine's can visit South Coast Winery's Tasting Room for the February Newly Released "7 Siblings" Red Blend Tasting - Beginning Friday, February 11, starting at 11 a.m.

South Coast Winery proclaims newly released 7 Siblings – a barrel aged red blend – a celebration of the Carter Family and a perfect wine to celebrate the month of love and romance. The family, working together, planted their Wild Horse Peak Vineyard over 30 years ago with the vision and dream of establishing a fine wine haven in Temecula wine country. 7 Siblings is a blend of several grape varietals, from cabernet to zinfandel, and alicante to tempranillo, all aged for 24 months in American oak whiskey barrels to produce a dramatic red wine. The warm bourbon character marries the intense berry fruit, laced with rich, smoky overtones, vanilla spice and caramel. The smooth, bold flavors are well integrated, and the bourbon smoothness elevates this very elegant red wine. Tasting is $22 (includes five wines); retail bottle price is $30

Of course, The South Coast WInery would also be the perfect place for a wedding. Recognized as a "Couples' Choice Awards" winner by WeddingWire and The Knot in 2020, South Coast Winery Resort & Spa is a popular spot for destination weddings, offering venues for up to 500 people. Charming choices include the lovely Rose Arbor for ceremonies and the Bell Tower Courtyard for receptions.

Guests can celebrate amidst a backdrop of verdant rolling vineyards and an array of wedding packages and special amenities are available for the bride and groom.

Family-Friendly Experiences

A full gamut of activities are available to guests in and around Temecula and the South Coast staff is available to help consult and arrange any activities for you, your family, or a group of friends.

* Horse-drawn carriage ride through the vineyards with Temecula Carriage Company

* Sunrise hot-air balloon rides - make reservations in advance and plan to wake up way before the sun starts shining - I promise it will be worth it

* Golfing at Pechanga or CrossCreek Golf Club

* Biking or horseback riding - check with the concierge for easy bike rentals

* Grapevine Wine Tours will take visitors to the wineries of their choice Santa Rosa Plateau *Ecological Reserve for hiking, biking and more

* Temecula Valley Museum

* Temecula Valley Balloon and Wine Festival

* Pechanga Resort Casino

* Sugarplum Farm, a zoo and artisan chocolate company

And we really loved visiting. . .

* The Alpaca Hacienda - make reservations in advance for your private hour-long tour. You'll see the sweet Alpacas up close and personal and learn everything you ever wanted to know from the owner Beth. This is a MUST DO if you visit Temecula with your family

Don't forget to visit Historic Old Town Temecula, a 12-block walkable area filled with glimpses of the region's colorful history. You'll find cool shops and delicious restaurants, including some with a menu for your dog too.

If I Was A Sommelier

I've always thought sommeliers were so knowledgeable and sophisticated. So let's pretend for a minute I was a sommelier (which I can assure you I'm not even close). However, if I were going to recommend a bottle of wine that pairs well with relaxation and pleasure, I'd suggest the varietal "South Coast Winery" to patrons and here's how I'd so eloquently describe it.

(Meant to be read with a French or Italian accent):

South Coast Winery Tasting Room

Like a fine wine, The South Coast Winery Resort & Spa is on another level of elegance, with rustic and earthy tones. Its sweetness continually develops on your palate during your stay. The villas and suites are bright and clean, with rich furnishings and harmonious interiors. The lush vineyards right outside your door have a rich bouquet, filled with delicate floral and fruity tones. The body profile is spicy with a brilliant, robust, flavorful restaurant on-site to satisfy your cravings, a la The Vineyard Rose. A refreshing, heated pool and an aromatic spa inspire calming sensations that melt you like honey; you'll feel just like the legs that ease their way down the sides of a glass. The finish is full of great depth. After your weekend getaway here, you'll experience a combination of intense flavor, balance, harmony, and finesse. And just like every extraordinary wine, it has a rich, long, complex aftertaste that lingers lightly on your palate and in your memory.

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My family and I were hosted by The South Coast Winery for two nights and thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Temecula. All opinions are my own.

South Coast Winery Resort & Spa; 34843 Rancho California Road

Temecula, California 92591. Tel: (951) 587-9463. http://www.southcoastwinery.com

 

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