Cucamonga Valley & Temecula Wine Tours

From the city of Los Angeles to San Diego, the tourist delights of Southern California make it one of the most frequently visited areas of the United States. Travelers flock to this part of the state in droves to enjoy the white sandy beaches, Disneyland fun, glitzy Beverly Hills, Hollywood landmarks and so much more. What may surprise wine enthusiasts is the South Coast wine region contains seven AVA’s (American Viticultural Areas) and over forty wineries. Few wine lovers think to visit wineries in southern California.

About 45 miles east of the city of Los Angeles is the Cucamonga Valley. Although it is now part of greater Los Angeles, at one time this area was larger than Napa/Sonoma for wine production and was home to more than 60 wineries. Although only three wineries remain today with about 1,000 acres of vineyard land, Cucamonga winemakers are proud of their long heritage. Fortified wines made from old vines and rustic, ripe Zinfandel are typical of this area.

South and east of Los Angeles, the Temecula Valley offers visitors about 25 wineries, restaurants and lodging within a short distance from Old Town Temecula. Hot, dry growing conditions are modified by higher elevations and the natural cooling influence of the Pacific that often draws cooler air in at night. A wide variety of grapes are grown here including traditional Bordeaux varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc, but recent plantings of both Rhone and Italian varietals are showing promise.

Popular wineries to visit in Temecula Valley are Mount Palomar Winery, Thornton, South Coast, Callaway, Stuart Cellars, and Hart. The rolling hills covered with vineyards, low-key friendly atmosphere and affordable fine wines make for an ideal wine country getaway that is close the major metropolitan areas of both Los Angeles and San Diego. Old Town Temecula also offers interesting shops and good tourist amenities.

Continuing south from Temecula towards the San Diego area wineries tend to be fewer and further in between but several enjoyable tasting spots can be found near the small towns of Ramona and Julian. Just 25-miles north of San Diego is one of the oldest continually operating wineries in California, Rancho Bernardo Winery. Wine history buffs will appreciate San Diego as the place where viticulture got its start in California’s Franciscan missions. The city of San Diego itself offers superior fine-dining, entertainment, lodging and nearly perfect weather all year long.