Think Southern California, and beach towns, mountains and desert landscapes come to mind. But wine country? Yep, that’s what you get in Temecula, a charming town about 60 miles north of San Diego. Temecula Valley Southern California wine country enjoys welcoming weather year-round, often characterized as a Mediterranean climate with warm, dry summers, and cool winters with relatively low rainfall.
It’s a casual community with an old west flair and very relaxed attitude when it comes to dogs. And it’s coming on strong when it comes to wine, with more than 40 wineries and twice as many growers in the Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Region.
Most wineries with tasting rooms are clustered in a region about 15 minutes from town, although a few tasting rooms can be found in Old Town. Their picnic areas are pretty much all dog-friendly, although tasting rooms may or may not be, especially if food is served (be sure to ask). Tasting fees vary by establishment (and in some cases days of the week), but you won’t have to worry about reservations unless you’re with a group of six or more.
Where to go if you are a newbie? Temecula Valley Winegrowers makes it easy by directing visitors to nine self-guided tour recommendations ranging from old favorites to off-the-beaten track establishments. Also check for mid-week promotions. Each winery has its own signature varietals and blends. Some specialize in grapes from the Rhône region of France, others in wines made from Italian grapes and still others in Malbec, the signature grape of Argentina.
The Temecula Valley Wine region marked its 50th anniversary in 2018, so many wineries are quite well established. So is its dog-friendly reputation: Check out pet-welcoming lodging, restaurants and other establishments and bone up on wines at Temecula Wines.
Oh, and if all of the above doesn’t convince you to visit Temecula Wine Country, Wine Enthusiast magazine named it one of the 10 best wine regions in 2019.