Temecula, an hour from San Diego and Palm Springs and 90 minutes from Los Angeles, is a year round getaway for wine-lovers and golfers.
The center of the action in Temecula is Historic Old Town. Wooden sidewalks and hitching posts recall the Wild West days in Old Town Temecula’s 1890’s buildings (some original). Be sure to check out the Old Temecula Jail.
While the antique stores, bars and great al fresco dining spots around town are fun to explore, don’t miss locally produced flavored olive oils from The Temecula Olive Oil Company, lavender blueberry cookies from the Temecula Lavender Company and chocolate covered bacon from The Old Town Sweet Shop.
Where to Eat
There are plenty of dining options in Old Town Temecula. For Italian, try Palumbo’s on Fifth Street. Only fresh local ingredients go into old family recipes like their Manicotti Florentine. Baily’s, on Old Town Front Street, offers fine dining on the second floor with a California/Continental fusion menu.
Wine tasting is featured at more than 30 wineries in Temecula Valley, but you’ll need more than a weekend to visit them all. Here are two we toured recently.
Wilson Creek Winery
The 93-acre Wilson Creek Winery is home to a local favorite, the award-winning Almond Champagne, not as dry as it sounds. The Tuscan-themed Wilson Creek Winery sits amidst lush gardens. Nearby, the Creekside Grille features seasonal cuisine that pairs well with Wilson Creek wines. Popular menu items include a squash risotto, their California cheese plate and the Creekside Burger.
Callaway Vineyard & Winery
Eli Callaway of Callaway golf fame was a pioneer in Temecula’s wine industry. The valley’s first winery helped put Temecula Valley wines on the map in 1976 when an Estate bottled Callaway premium varietal was served to Queen Elizabeth II at New York City’s Waldorf Astoria. The Queen, better known as a gin and tonic fan, requested a second glass.
The inventive, fresh seasonal menu at the on site restaurant, Meritage, includes wine-pairing suggestions. Pork belly and fried potato tacos served with avocado and salsa pairs well with the 2009 Special Selection Grenache. Seafood lovers will appreciate the seared Ahi tuna tostadas with avocado, tempura Scallions, cabbage and jicama topped with a Habanero salsa paired with a 2011 Special Selection Roussanne.
Where to Stay
For golfers, Temecula Creek Inn is the only golf resort with an on-site 27-hole championship golf course, given a 4 star Places to Play rating by Golf Digest.
The Temecula Creek Inn is a cozy western themed place with vaulted ceilings and balconies overlooking their golf course. A heated saltwater pool, hot tub and a business center with free wi-fi and printing are all great bonuses.
The attractive on-site restaurant Cork|Fire Kitchen serves rustic cuisine made with locally sourced ingredients. Try the delicious CFK club sandwich made with Fallbrook avocado, pork belly strips, roasted chicken, local heirloom tomatoes, boutique romaine, and mustard aioli.
Where to Play
Designed by Dick Rossen and Ted Robinson, Temecula Creek Inn’s 27 holes present golfers three distinct 9-hole courses: The Creek, Oaks and Stone House. Be sure to make the Stone House nine part of your 18. Starting with the dramatic par-4 blind uphill tee shot on the first hole, doglegs both left and right and elevation changes make a fun and challenging nine holes you’ll want to play again.
Cross Creek Golf Club, designed by Arthur Hills in 2001 is a short drive 15 minutes west of Old Town Temecula. Mature trees, rolling hills and water hazards gave Hills a great natural starting point for his course. Sycamore Creek runs through the first five holes. Don’t try to cut the corner on the first hole. The smart play is short and left for an easy par and a great start to your round.
Temecula Valley Wine Country Events
A perfect opportunity to combine both golf and wine, tee it up with your favorite Temecula Valley winemaker at the 2014 Cellar Masters Golf Tournament.
- Temecula Creek Inn
- Wednesday, April 16, 2014, 1:00pm Shotgun Start
- Temecula Creek Inn 44501 Rainbow Canyon Rd, Temecula, CA www.temeculacreekinn.com 888.976.3404
- Callaway Vineyard & Winery 32720 Rancho California Rd, Temecula, CA www.callawaywinery.com
- Wilson Creek Winery 35960 Rancho California Rd, Temecula, CA www.wilsoncreekwinery.com