We headed from Los Angeles to Temecula Valley AKA wine country! Temecula is in southwestern Riverside County, California and about a 2hour drive down the freeway from L.A. We flew down the freeway blasting out our favourite songs, singing all the way. As you approach Temecula you get a real sense of space and freedom, that you only ever experience in the countryside, the seemingly endless backdrop of mountain ranges and the sprawling vineyards for as far as the eye can see, really are a sight to behold.
The Ranch: We booked a week at the fabulous Temecula Carriage House on airbnb, we stayed in the Hay Loft Suite in the Vineyards. Our room was above the truly idyllic working horse stable with views right out across the valley. The ranch is located in the heart of wine country, surrounded by the biggest wineries in Temecula.
The tradition of wine making has been going strong in Temecula Valley since 1820. Temecula Valley is a small but significant wine production district. Temecula’s wines are generally less known than those from higher-production California wine districts such as the Napa Valley in northern California or the Santa Ynez Valley, made famous in the Academy Award winning movie Sideways (which we watched Sideways on the flight over from London in prep). Temecula’s popularity is however on the rise, with tourists, wine buffs and weekenders escaping the city, so who knows, Temecula may give Napa a run for it’s money in the coming years!
It was such a pleasure to sit in the sun and enjoy life on the ranch, chatting with Dale our lovely host and playing with the dogs. We fell in love with the animals on the ranch. Luna the dog has the sweetest temperament and Maggy May the mini Cockapoo may actually be the cutest dog in the world!
Horse Riding: There are a number of horse riding companies in Temecula. Marika at the Temecula Carriage House offers rides around the winery and vineyards for guests upon request. Alternatively you could choose one of the local ranches and ride a trail through the hills and around the vineyards or if you don’t want to ride, you can always get a horse drawn carriage to transport you from winery to winery. One word of warning, I’d strongly suggest taking a high spf protector, headscarf or some kind of wide brimmed hat as the sun gets really hot and most rides begin around noon.
Wine Tasting: For wine tasting if you don’t opt to go by horseback you could jump on the gogrape shuttle or book a vineyard limo. The vineyards in Temecula are beautiful, there are fields upon fields of vines and citrus groves. We stayed just next to the Ponte winery so walked from our front door and wandered through the orange groves to the South Coast Winery Resort & Spa where we enjoyed several good breakfasts and a rather splendid evening meal.
When wine tasting you’ll pay around $15 for a ticket which gives you approx 5-6 tastes of a wide variety of wines, the atmosphere is very relaxed and the service is informative and friendly, so don’t be afraid if you don’t have a clue about wine, there’s plenty of opportunity to learn! Temecula is a picturesque valley nestled amongst a mountainous backdrop with a quaint old town, a heap of nature trails, friendly locals, horse riding, vineyards and restaurants to enjoy. Truly fabulous.
‘The most important thing is to enjoy your life – to be happy – it’s all that matters’ -Audrey Hepburn