I can think of few adult-centered social activities that are more fun, interesting and allows oneself to learn something new all in the process of sampling alcohol. Over the years I have been to a few wineries in Pennsylvania, Georgia and even Lebanon. It was not until recently was I afforded the opportunity to visit a winery in California. On a recent trip to San Diego with friends we planned a visit to the wineries located in the Temecula Valley which is an hour north of the city (hour and a half south of Los Angeles).
Temecula Valley supports over 30 wineries on 35,000 acres of land a short distance from the Interstate 15 exit. What was most surprising was that once you exited the highway, you were immediately surrounded by a modern and clean version of suburbia. Aside from the relatively close distance to San Diego and Los Angeles, the wineries are apparently supporting the local economy very well. It requires less then 15 minutes to clear the suburbs and you are then transported to the wineries and vineyards themselves. The transformation from suburbia to wine country is quite surprising.
We had selected to first go to the Falkner Winery for no other reason that it was a winery that was on a list that we had reviewed prior to picking up the glossy brochures about the Temecula Valley from the hotel in San Diego. As we drove towards the Falkner Winery, we passed vineyards of varying ages with some of the vines thick with age. The wine server told us during our wine tasting that some of the wines were nearly forty years old. The location of the winery is beautiful, sitting on the top of the hill with breath taking views of the valley.
The winery was crowded with tourists, some to taste the wines, others just to browse, while others were there to purchase wine or items from the gift shop. The process of wine tasting at the Falkner Winery was simple. You purchased a number of poker chips and were given a wine glass for your sampling.
There was quite a few wines available for tasting, ranging from dry to sweet, white, rose and red. I tried a variety of wines with the most notable being the 2007 Meritage – Bordeaux Style Red Wine and the 2006 Port. Both were very enjoyable and I was particularly partial to the Port. In the end I did not purchase any bottles of wine. I considered making a few purchases, but between the price and not having enough space in the luggage, I passed on purchasing a few bottles to bring home.
After the Falkner Winery we continued to drive through the valley, deciding where to stop next. Unfortunately, the valley was jammed with other like minded vehicles that day and after looking at how crowded the parking lots were for each winery we decided to head south back to San Diego. I would definitely go back to the Temecula Valley wineries, but would hope to be able to do it during the week the avoid the crowds.