Napa Valley and Sonoma aren’t the extent of California’s wine country. Southern California’s charming Temecula Valley is a burgeoning wine region that is fast becoming a favorite of wine-lovers as I discovered when I visited the destination.
Just over an hour away from both Los Angeles and San Diego, Temecula is perfect for growing grapes because it benefits from the “Rainbow Gap” – cool air that blows inland from the ocean that gets trapped in the valley and moderates the daytime temperatures creating a climate similar to the Mediterranean.
Temecula has close to 40 wineries ranging from boutique, family-owned places, like Doffo Winery, to larger more established places, such as Callaway, one of the first wineries to open in the region.
Temecula’s wineries aren’t the only reason to visit. Old Town Temecula has been in existence since 1882 when the California Railroad was built and still has many historical features and looks like the set straight out of a Hollywood western. The storied Route 66 also passed through Temecula during its heyday.
Old Town also has a number of restaurants, entertainment venues, art galleries and boutiques selling everything from olive oil to clothes.
Temecula also boasts the largest casino in the Western U.S. Pechanga Resort and Casino has 200,000-square feet of gaming options, 10 restaurants, a golf course, and of course a large selection of area wines.
I was pleasantly surprised by all that Temecula had to offer, and can’t believe I’d never been before, considering what an easy side trip it was from my native Los Angeles. It will definitely be on my itinerary the next time I’m in Southern California.
Temecula’s location off the I-15 freeway makes it an easy trip from some of Southern California’s most popular destinations like Palm Springs, Los Angeles, Anaheim and San Diego.
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