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Aug 7, 2008 08:01 AM

Temecula-area grape stomp questions

We have been wanting to go to a grape stomp for awhile and there are a few out here where we live in Temecula. I just got a flyer for one at Ponte, which I'm excited about because their restaurant (Smokehouse) is one of the best at the local wineries so I'm thinking their food at the grape stomp will probably be good.

Anyone been to the Ponte grape stomp or a stomp at any of the other wineries? The price is pretty steep ( for info - grape stomp is under "ticketed events") but it does include their full buffet, which sounds good.

It's on a Sun 4-9 p.m. and they make it sound family-friendly, at least in the early hours. Does it seem like a terrible idea to try to do it with our two little kids? Part of why I have been wanting to go is to introduce them to the idea of how food makes it from farm to table (or vine to bottle in this case) but at ages 6 & 2 are they too young? There's an under 12 price for tickets and 3 and under are free. Because they are so clear about kids' pricing it does make it sound like kids will be there.

Thanks for input!

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  1. There are many reasons to enjoy a wine stomp. Being even more excited because their restaurant is "one of the best at the local wineries" is good to go on Chowhound, IMO. I think you and your husband would have a blast . . . sans the young ones at the buffet dinner.

    However, what I would do to include your children in "the idea of how food makes it from farm to table" is plan to spend the earlier part of the day with them in the local area in some locations I will mention below, ending up with them at the winery and grape vines, and then send the tired little angels home from there to complete a related "project" with a relative or babysitter while you go stomp and eat dinner with hubby (I am assuming that's what "we" meant).

    I would consider taking them on a "roving picnic" in the area, beginning at DeJong's Dairy in Wildomar. It's the real deal there (though I don't think they will let you taste raw milk due to laws). Start there around lunch time and buy them an ice cream pop. Walk around the cows, ask for a tour or ask questions, see the livestock and fowl and talk about foods there they eat right now.
    DeJong's Dairy is at 31910 Corydon in Wildomar (some think its in Lake Elsinore)

    Then, go about 4 miles to PlowBoys Market via Corydon to Palomar Street, turn left at the light at Palomar and drive about 3 miles to The PlowBoys Market in Wildomar. Point out the horses in the front yard of the house directly across from PlowBoys on Palomar (cross street is Arnold). Survey the market stands at PlowBoys and let them choose some oranges, grapefruit, watermelon, ... what have you. Tell them you can also pick from trees in your backyard and show them the farm land right there indicating that's where lettuce comes from, etc. (Um, Plow Boys is cutting back for the Summer season, so won't be as full)
    PlowBoys Market, 22055 Palomar St, Wildomar, CA. Tel: 951-609-0446.

    Maybe eat a picnic in the park? There's a new park very nearby on Palomar with a playground for the children. (You would have passed it on the way from DeJong's to PlowBoys)
    Marna O'Brien Park, 20505 Palomar Street

    Show them olive trees in the area. The olive fruits are young and small, but abundant right now. They will start to drop in about October. Have some Kalmata olives in your picnic basket and let them taste the cured ones. If the children want to taste the olive fruits from the trees, warn them they are not ready to eat yet, they need to be "cured" but let them if they want. It won't hurt them (unless their face gets scrunched too tight in a yucky wince). There are other food trees in the area (mostly olive trees), but you'd have to identify them on your own. Used to be tons of Almond trees.

    If that's not enough, head over (about 15 miles) to Wesselink Dairy/Winchester Cheese Co. where they have a lot of grazing land, a covered wagon, and a little tiny mobile home wherein they serve up samples of (and sell) the Gouda cheese they make on site with milk from on site cows (remember the cows at DeJong's), some aged 18 mos., some with herbs, some with corriander. I think the children will like fresh Gouda cheese as it is quite mild. Tasting the aged cheese with that will show them something, too! They have Dutch cookies and food stuff there also.

    Ummm, if you drive there from PlowBoys via Palomar/Mission Trail to Bundy Canyon, know there is some road construction along Bundy Canyon as it become Scott Road- some bumpy road for a short distance. Scott Road hits Winchester and you will see Wesselink/Winchester Farms in about a mile after you turn left in Winchester.

    You're not far from the Ponte Winery at that point. (@14 miles on a vacant, smooth road
    )35053 Rancho California Road, Temecula

    You've got a lot of farm/food related history to grasp in that area !
    I suggest taking a cooler/bucket of ice - kids I know love playing with ice for what seems like hours. Drench their head at the park if they like with a pom-pom made of sponge slices)!

    Enjoy your dinner.

    4 Replies
    1. re: kc girl

      Thanks for your ideas, KC. We live within 1-2 mi of Ponte btw. I have never been to any of the places you have listed except Plowboys and have to note them down for future reference -NOT on the same day with 6 yr old and 2 yr old! Have you gone to grape stomps and are there others you'd recommend to or instead of Ponte?

      1. re: drucie

        <<<No, Drucie, I have no other recommendations for you. Maybe some locals at the movie this Saturday night at Creekside Park would. "Enchanted" movie-themed costume parade, fun jump and face painting. Corn dogs, popcorn, candy and ...

        Sorry to be confusing with my post. I did mean recommendations for grape stomps. It seemed from your post like you have been to one and might have ideas for whether Ponte throws a good one or others in the area might be a better bet. The price is high enough that I want to make sure to go to one that is terrific:-)

        1. re: drucie

          I think Ponte would do it up right, but a close to 100 bills, it does seem a bit steep. I guess I think of the stomps (really any stomp at any winery that I have been too) as being a bit hokey, too many memories of I Love Lucy for me. Down in Escondido, I think in October they have a stomp, that is for free, during their Grape Days Festival. It is in the park behind the Performing Arts Center. That might be more fun for the little ones, and probably a lot cheaper

          1. re: littlestevie

            LOL@I Love Lucy. You know, that episode is NEVER on in reruns. Nice to know there is something for free. I will look into that. And yes, the price makes me hesitate. (A nice meal at Ponte's regular restaurant isn't cheap either though.)

            I have such mixed feelings about the Temecula wine country becoming more hokey, by the way. We are definitely having growing pains here, struggling between growth and staying unique. Bigger is not always better. Weekends are just insane, with "limo buses" of drunken bachelorette parties from out of town, day trippers coming to GET DRUNK at a wine tasting !!!! Just so unthinkable to me but there you have it.

            We try to support our local farmers and businesspeople when we can - belong to CSA, buy locally grown and produced items, give gifts of local honey or olive oils & vinegars, support locally owned shops for clothing & beauty products etc. And of course I do my share re: the local wineries - I like my wine lol.

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