California is the leading wine producing state in the United States (making nearly 90% of all American wine), which is not surprising given the state’s mild climate, coastal influences, and diverse soils all conducive to growing grapes. From Napa Valley to Sonoma County, Monterey to Santa Barbara, California is full of renowned wine regions that attract visitors from all over the world. Though Southern California is most known for its warm weather, glistening beaches, and picturesque coastal communities, it also has its own burgeoning wine region to note: Temecula Valley.
Conveniently located just an hour’s drive from San Diego and Orange County, Temecula Valley is home to nearly 50 wineries producing grapes from 50 different varieties. From grand estates with lavish tasting rooms to modern wineries with vineyard views, here are the best Temecula wineries to visit.
With family wine roots that trace back to Italy in the late 1880s, fourth-generation winemaker Robert Renzoni continues his family’s tradition at his estate in Temecula Valley. The 12-acre vineyard is planted to classic Bordeaux and Italian grape varieties, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Grigio, and Sangiovese. Stop by for a tasting at this Italian-style estate and pack a picnic to enjoy on the grounds, or plan to eat at the winery’s Mama Rosa’s Trattoria for a comforting taste of Italy.
Insider tip: Not only does Robert Renzoni Estate produce wine, but they also make a marinara sauce (based on a family recipe), homemade vinegar, and even a variety of spicy chile pepper sauces—all available to purchase from the winery.
37350 De Portola Road, Temecula, CA 92592, (951) 302-8466
Founded in 1997 by Argentinian-born Marcelo Doffo, the family owned and operated Doffo Winery is a boutique winery producing small-lot, hand-crafted wines, such as Malbec, Zinfandel, and Syrah. Tastings include a flight curated by a Doffo Wine Specialist, who will teach you about the family’s history and farming practices. To dive a little deeper, book the Cork ‘N Tork Tour and hop aboard the Malbec Express, an eco-friendly tour bus that takes you through the vineyards and ends with a private tasting. Just be sure to make time to check out the MotoDoffo Vintage Motorcycle Collection in the MotoBarrel room, containing over 200 scooters and motor bikes.
Insider tip: For a more intimate experience, book the private tasting. Seated in a private room, the experience includes six wines chosen by the vintner, along with a charcuterie board and pours of select library wines, if requested.
36083 Summitville Street, Temecula, CA 92592, (951) 676-6989
Leoness Cellars was founded in 2002 by two partners with deep roots in Temecula Valley’s agriculture, and together they craft signature estate Cabernet Sauvignon from their 20 acres under vine. Located on a hilltop overlooking their estate vineyard, Leoness is open daily for tastings and tours, including seasonal vineyard tours, educational tastings, and even a proposal package if you’re looking to pop the question in Wine Country. With a plan like that, we’d suspect the answer will be “Yes!”
Insider tip: Leoness Cellars is also home to The Restaurant at Leoness, an acclaimed dining establishment that offers seasonal, scratch-made fare in a beautiful al fresco setting. Plan it right and enjoy a late afternoon tasting before heading to dinner at The Restaurant for the complete Leoness experience.
38311 De Portola Road, Temecula, CA 92592, (951) 302-7601
Honoring the Spanish roots of the Temecula region, Altisima Winery is a family-owned winery dedicated to making Spanish varietal wines. Though it hasn’t been open for too long, the expansive winery is a popular spot in Temecula, drawing visitors for its unique still, sparkling, and fortified wines, welcoming hospitality, and incredible views of the valley. Before or after a tasting, visit the on-site restaurant, Gaspar’s, which features Spanish fare with a California twist.
Insider tip: While many of us enjoy bringing kids and pets along for a day of wine tasting, Altisima kindly asks that you leave them behind. No guests under 21 are allowed in the winery nor on the winery grounds, however, children are welcome in the restaurant—just something to be aware of.
Owned and operated by the Baily family, Baily Vineyard & Winery specializes in wines made from Cabernet Sauvignon and other traditional Bordeaux varieties, all grown on their estate vineyards planted in 1982 and 1983. Their main tasting room at the Baily Visitor Center is where you can drop by without an appointment to sample current releases (reservations are required for groups of more than 12 people). At the second location—the Estate Tasting Room—book in advance to enjoy a vertical of library wines, either at the bar or during a seated experience.
Insider tip: If tasting at the Baily Visitor Center, stay and eat at Carol’s Restaurant, a medieval-themed restaurant open for lunch. Offering live music on weekends, they also feature a doggie-approved menu on SundaysMain Tasting Room: 33440 La Serena Way, Temecula, CA 92591, (951) 676-9463
Owned and operated by father and son, Ray and Akash Patel, Akash Winery crafts estate grown wines from the family’s 20-acre vineyard. With recent renovations finally complete, Akash Winery is a great place to stop in Temecula Valley, where you can enjoy wine tastings from the open-air patio while taking in stunning views of the region. On the weekends, wood-fired pizza, sandwiches, and salads are available, while tacos from Brews Boyz Tacos are offered Monday through Thursday.
Insider tip: Dine among the vines at Akash Winery with their ‘Grazing in the Vines’ experience. Reserve a private table nestled in the vineyard for a savory brunch or a family-style dinner—both, of course, paired with wine.
39730 Calle Contento, Temecula, CA 92591, (951) 888-1393
This sophisticated modern winery draws its inspiration from Italy—in fact, the name “Bottaia” is Italian for “cask aging room.” So it comes as no surprise that BOTTAIA specializes in wines made from Italian varieties. Experiences here range from more in-depth seated food pairings and wine blendings, to casual, by-the-glass tastings on The Deck, but regardless of which you choose, you can expect an elevated tasting experience designed to be informative and relaxing.
Insider tip: In the warmer months, don’t miss spending time at BOTTAIA’s sun-drenched, all-ages pool. In addition to a glistening pool, which is surrounded by vineyards, there’s a poolside cafe and cocktail bar, along with a splash pad for the kids… you can really make a whole day of it. If you are planning to stay a while, we suggest reserving a private cabine (an Italian-style private changing room), which includes a shower and bath amenities. It’s also just nice to have a space to store all your stuff.
As a Certified California Sustainable Vineyard & Winery, Palumbo is passionate about using sustainable practices in and out of the vineyard to craft full-bodied reds from their 13 acres of vineyards. Specializing in small-lot, handcrafted wines, including estate-grown Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Sangiovese, they also grow on neighboring properties to produce a Viognier and Syrah. Opt for a standard tasting in the intimate tasting room or, for a deeper dive into the inner workings of this family-run winery, reserve a tour and tasting to experience the process from “Dirt to Bottle.”
Insider tip: While this small winery is happy to welcome tasters without a reservation, if planning to arrive via limo or with a large group, call ahead and make an appointment to ensure there’s room.
40150 Barksdale Circle, Temecula, CA 92592, (951) 676-7900
With its 300 acres of stunning vineyards, manicured gardens, and expansive tasting room, Ponte is no doubt a picturesque place to taste wine. Established by the Ponte family, who have been growing grapes in Temecula since 1984, Ponte Winery produces everything from single varietal wines and blends to sparkling and fortified wines. Ponte’s motto is “If you like it, it’s good wine.”™ so don’t expect any pretense during a visit here.
Insider tip: To experience even more of the Ponte family’s hospitality, plan to stay at the Ponte Vineyard Inn, a 90-room boutique hotel that includes elegant accommodations, a semi-Olympic sized pool, and a full service cocktail bar that hosts live music.
35053 Rancho California Road, Temecula, CA, 92591, (951) 964-8855
Yet another family owned and operated boutique winery in Temecula, Vindemia stands out for its outdoor tasting room (located in a rose garden) and cleverly named wines (like More Cowbell and Guy Lemon Blanc). While the names may be cheeky, Vindemia is serious about using only sustainable vineyard practices to make their handcrafted wines. Stop by to enjoy an al fresco tasting, which is accompanied by complimentary bread and estate grown olive oil, produced from the 100 olive trees on the property.
Insider tip: If you’re looking for a more memorable way to experience the winery, book the sunrise hot air balloon ride with California Dreamin’ Balloon Adventures. After flying high in the sky, you’ll head to Vindemia for a two-for-one tasting in the rose garden.
33133 Vista Del Monte Road, Temecula, CA 92591, (951) 760-9334
The owners of Somerset describe it as a destination for “anyone who appreciates the joy of friendship, the thrill of life, and the taste of fun.” For that reason, don’t expect any pretense here; Somerset invites wine novices and experienced oenophiles alike to sit back, relax, and enjoy a glass of Tempranillo or Syrah amidst the beautiful surroundings. Cheeses and pre-packaged foods are available to purchase on site, and most Friday and Saturday nights you can find live music to accompany your wine.
Insider tip: Vineyard and winery tours are offered every Saturday and Sunday (or by appointment during the week), and include the opportunity to taste wine straight from the barrel or tank. Just be sure to book in advance to guarantee your spot.
Founded in 2001, this hilltop winery, which sits at an elevation of 1,400 feet, charms with its convivial vibe and lovely views of the surrounding vineyards and valley. Stop by any day of the week (no reservations required) to enjoy a tasting of six wines, which you are welcomed to enjoy at your own leisurely pace. Don’t feel like leaving after your tasting? Head to the winery’s Flower Hill Bistro, where fresh, seasonal fare can be savored with the views.
Insider tip: As one of the first Temecula wineries to offer live music, the winery continues the tradition with live music every Friday and Saturday night, offering everything from 90s rock cover bands to Reggae vibes.
33410 Rancho California Road, Temecula, CA 92591, (951) 506-5500
Showcasing Moorish architecture mixed with a contemporary California setting, the grand Fazeli Cellars is the life-long passion of owner Bizhan “BJ” Fazeli, who first purchased the property in 2001 after falling in love with the area. Since its first vintage in 2006, Fazeli Cellars has remained dedicated to producing a wide range of wines—more than 20 varietals, to be specific—including Sauvignon Blanc, Petit Sirah, Viognier, Chardonnay, and Mourvèdre. Thanks to banquet facilities, an on-site restaurant, and picturesque surroundings, the winery hosts a number of weddings and special events.
Insider tip: The winery offers a variety of rotating special events, like masquerade balls, as well as live music every Saturday and Sunday afternoon.
37320 De Portola Road, Temecula, CA 92592, (951) 303-3366
Surrounded by 112 acres of vines, the luxurious Carter Estate is an upscale resort and winery founded by vintner Jim Carter and family. From sparkling wine to still red, white, and rosé, all of the wines produced are 100% estate grown from Certified Sustainable grapes. Drop in for a tasting any day of the week, but if you’d rather sit and enjoy a glass or two, wines by the glass and bottle are also available.
Insider tip: Make a weekend of it by booking the Grapeline Wine Tour Package. You’ll experience a romantic weekend touring Temecula, with tastings at four wineries and a picnic lunch, plus overnight accommodations and breakfast at Carter Estate Resort.
34450 Rancho California Road, Temecula, CA, 92591, (844) 851-2138