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Temecula wineries: good wine, nice setting, and family-friendly? Is this possible?

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Nicole May 1, 2012 04:55 PM

We are planning a trip to Temecula to visit wineries, 4 adults and 2 well-behaved one-year-olds. We want to drink good wine, but a scenic or pretty setting is also important (looking for more than a room with good wine), and a place that would welcome our one-year-olds. Do such places exist in Temecula? Your recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

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    escondido123 May 1, 2012 09:06 PM

    I find this to be an ill-conceived trip--wineries with one year olds? Temecula is fondly known for drunk wine tours so maybe not the best venue for any of you.

    1 Reply
    1. re: escondido123
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      Nicole May 1, 2012 10:27 PM

      I appreciate the response. I've never been to Temecula so I don't know what the vibe is. But I've been to Napa and Sonoma several times and I've seen lots of small children happily roaming the green grounds, so I don't think kids and wineries are an inherently bad combination. I imagine that there might be some child-friendly corners of Temecula as well, and I plan to contact any winery we might visit to ask them if it is appropriate to bring the tots.

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      littlestevie May 2, 2012 09:50 AM

      Its just that the wineries along California Road really get crazy with tons of people especially on the weekends. They seem much more crowded to me than the wineries up in Napa or Sonoma or up along the Central Coast. The wineries along De Portola road are a little less hectic. While not the best wine, you could enjoy Keyways or Leonese. The best wine in my opinion, is Hart, but its kinda small and may not be the best for kids. Stay away from Callaway and Wilson those tasting rooms are just insane.

      1 Reply
      1. re: littlestevie
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        araknd May 3, 2012 09:13 AM

        +1 for Hart, but I agree with him about the other Rancho California Rd. wineries, especially Wilson and Callaway. I think that the proximity to LA and Riverside brings the rowdies, where Napa and Sonoma don't necessarily cater to that type of crowd.

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        cstr May 2, 2012 12:43 PM

        You may want to drive down to Escondido and visit Orfila Vineyards, it's small and not generally busy, has a scenic and nice picnic area and their wines are quite good and reasonably priced. Agree with littlestevie, forget Calaway, IMO their wines are like mouthwash and Wilson. I do like South Coast Winery in Temecula.

        www.southcoastwinery.com/winery/viney...

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          steve753 May 6, 2012 10:05 AM

          I live in San Diego, which is only an hour's drive from Temecula. I have been there many times.
          This is the problem with Temecula. Most of the customers who frequent Temecula like what I call soda pop wine, which is really sweet, and mostly tasteless Because of this, that is the kind of wine that you will find there.. There are some really good wineries there (such as Gershon), but are unreasonably expensive. One that I really like is Footprinte, which only makes reds.
          My advice is to save up some money and go up to Paso Robles instead. There are over 200 wineries yo choose from up there, and a lot of them are much better than anything you can find in Temecula.

          1 Reply
          1. re: steve753
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            goldangl95 May 10, 2012 11:24 AM

            I second the Paso Robles suggestion for any future wine trips (also could try Santa Barbara county). Actually, this must be conventional wisdom for the wine loving denizens of San Diego, because every time we are in Paso there are TONS of people from SD around.

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            Nicole May 9, 2012 06:10 PM

            Thanks very much for the feedback. Will let you know where we end up going and how it was (early next month). In the meantime, if you have more thoughts, I'd love to hear them!

            1 Reply
            1. re: Nicole
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              DiegoMom May 19, 2012 07:43 AM

              I was wondering the same thing and found these suggestions:

              http://beachforbaby.com/temecula-wine...

            2. justanotherpenguin Jun 2, 2012 08:25 AM

              Hi,Nicole. I hope that this reply is not to late.

              First of all, please do not be put off by some of the condescending snobbish comments. These people are too distanced from reality to be taken seriously. It is one of the reasons that I no longer post regularly on Chowhound.

              My wife and I moved to the general area (Canyon Lake) approximately 3 1/2 years ago. We have three adult children (33,30 & 27) and two toddler grandchildren. We have been wine tasting all over California, a bit in New York, and even in Tuscany. In our experience, there are good and bad wineries everywhere.

              Temecula is no exception. There are good and bad. We go there regularly, and have been with large groups, small groups, and our grand-kids with their parents. Our preference is reds, so the following list is a bit skewed. We have found that more than three wineries in one go-around is too much. Go and enjoy!

              Weins Family Cellars
              Robert Renzoni Vineyards
              Oak Mountain Winery
              Danza del Sol Winery

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                Nicole Jun 6, 2012 02:12 PM

                OP reporting back! The answer to my question is definitely yes--it IS possible! We went to Temecula last weekend and had a lovely time. We ended up doing a day trip. Unfortunately, I did not see the helpful comments from DiegoMom and justanotherpenguin until after our trip, but I'm sort of glad because now I have a new list of places to go to on our next visit.

                We visited 3 wineries: Frangipani, Leoness, and Palumbo. All three were very welcoming of our one-year-olds, and although we didn't love everything we tasted, each of them had a few wines we liked and at least one wine that we really enjoyed and purchased.

                We went to Frangipani in the morning, and were the only people there for much of the time. We did a tasting on their lovely patio, overlooking the grounds. It was a great space for kids because there was grass and no one else was using the patio. We liked some of the wines and enjoyed our experience there.

                In the afternoon we did tours at Leoness and Palumbo (which I made appointments for in advance). I was used to the larger tours of Napa and Sonoma and did not expect these to be private tours for our little group, but they were. Based on my experiences up north, we saw less of the grounds than I expected, but the tour was much more informative and personalized than I expected.

                Leoness was moderately busy, but by doing the tour we had excellent service and seating reserved for us in both the tasting room and the cellar. The tour guide was knowledgeable and nice and gave us additional pours of wines that were not on the tasting list but came up in conversation, including some more expensive wines (e.g., port). I really enjoyed the experience, and thought our tour and tasting was an excellent value for $20 pp.

                Last we went to Palumbo Family Cellars. Our tour guide was extremely knowledgeable and very down to earth. In addition to wines from the bottle available in a regular tasting, we were able to taste wines that were not quite mature yet directly from the barrel, which was a great way to get new insight into the winemaking process. We also got to taste the same wine from both American and European barrels, which was a very interesting comparison. For $25 pp, this tour was also a great value. I'm really surprised that it seems like few people do the tours.

                Both Leoness and Palumbo could not have been more welcoming of our tots. Frangipani was fine with the kids but we didn't get much personalized attention there, in general. And the staff there didn't seem very passionate about what they were doing, especially compared to the staff at Palumbo.

                All in all, we had a great time, and are eager to return to Temecula again.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Nicole
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                  MelB5 Jun 14, 2012 09:50 AM

                  So happy you were able to enjoy your time in temecula! I was going to respond that I thought it was possible but I see you've already been. You visited a couple of my favorites. We enjoyed palumbo and frangipani. Thanks for reporting back!

                  1. re: Nicole
                    Das Ubergeek Jun 14, 2012 10:04 AM

                    That sounds awesome. I haven't done the wine tour of Temecula in many years—I seemed to be bumping into the same obnoxious bridesmaids drinking almond-flavoured sparkling wine—but I'd also suggest the Valle de Guadalupe, east of Ensenada. The wine scene is burgeoning, the tastings are all about $5 each, and it's absolutely beautiful with fantastic restaurants to eat lunch in.

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