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March 24, 2014 Destination North America No Comments Email Email

TEMECULA VALLEY Southern California Wine Country  – “From hot air balloon flights over Temecula Valley Wine Country; romantic wine country dining, touring, and wine tasting; Pechanga fine dining, entertainment, and casino action; and indulgence at the GrapeSeed Spa and Spa Pechanga; to Old Town Temecula artisanal foods and unique dining establishments; and wine country trail rides on horseback.

Our new Honeymoon Top 10 celebrates romantic Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country’s growing popularity as a honeymoon destination for newly married couples,” shares Kimberly Adams, Temecula Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau president and CEO. “The Honeymoon Top 10 is especially appealing on less-busy weekdays when couples enjoy more personalized attention throughout Temecula Valley, and special, Sunday-through-Thursday, better-than-weekend, nightly hotel-and-resort room rates.” Travel time to the popular boutique destination is 1-hour from San Diego, Orange County, and Palm Desert; 1½ hours from Los Angeles.

1-Take Flight in a Hot Air Balloon

over Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country (TVSCWC)

One of the most romantic experiences for a couple to share is a hot air balloon flight over Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country. Launching at sunrise and floating serenely provides spectacular views of rolling hills, vineyards, farms, ranchlands, and citrus groves – some of Southern California’s last remaining, open, rural countryside.

Temecula Valley’s delightful, year-round climate makes it possible for A Grape EscapeCalifornia Dreamin’D&D Ballooning, and Magical Adventureshot-air-balloon companies to take flight year-round. Hot air balloons float quietly, just above the vineyards and to 2,000 feet/610 meters; flights are approximately 1-hour, and provide a truly unique memory for a lifetime.

2-Wine and Dine in Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country (TVSCWC)

Honeymooning couples are pleased to learn that many Temecula Valley wineries host restaurants where talented winery chefs expertly pair award-winning vintages with fresh, local seasonal foods in a celebration of sun, soil, and natural affinity. As delightful to learn, is that couples dine in Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country with memorably romantic views overlooking boundless vineyards and rolling hills.

Situated in the heart of the majestic, French-Mediterranean Thornton Wineryestate, the must-experience Café Champagne offers French-country elegance and contemporary cuisine. At Carol’s Restaurant at Baily Winey, dine on salads, sandwiches, grilled fish, steak, and pasta dishes – beside the Cabernet Sauvignon vines.

The upscale-casual Creekside Grille at Wilson Creek features seasonal menus, Wilson-family favorites, and attentively prepared gluten-free fare. Big-flavor and variety inspire the fresh salads, tapas, and Mediterranean entrées at Meritage at Callaway where dining is on the enclosed terrace with vineyard views.

Widely known for its panoramic, hilltop views, The Pinnacle at Falkner serves Mediterranean-influenced, bold-yet-simple appetizers, sandwiches, pastas, and entrees. The Restaurant at Ponte features grapewood-fired pizzas, fresh pasta dishes, natural beef, sustainable seafood, and homemade desserts.

Adjoining the Early California-style winery with vineyards and citrus groves,Shorty’s at Mount Palomar Winery offers wine-country bistro cuisine inspired by the culinary styles of California and the Mediterranean. With views of the estate vineyards and surrounding, rolling hills, Vineyard Rose restaurant at South Coast Winery features California-contemporary, wine-country cuisine, natural California beef, fresh seafood, and local and estate-grown vegetables.

3-Indulge at GrapeSeed Spa and Spa Pechanga

Two Temecula Valley spas welcome couples with relaxing accommodations, and nurturing, rejuvenating spa services. The GrapeSeed Spa at South Coast Winery is a hallmark in vintage relaxation. Innovative, vine-based treatments, massage, body rituals, private yoga sessions as well as couples rooms and poolside cabanas are especially inviting. Spa Pechanga at Pechanga Resort & Casino is an intimate indulgence with high-end offerings, couples serenity soaks, couples massage, paraffin treatments, firming sea clay wraps, and hot stone pedicures. At both spas, special seasonally inspired treatments and distinctive services like aromatherapy are offered.

4-Experience Pechanga Resort Restaurants and Casino

With a multitude of Four Diamond amenities and services, the luxury Pechanga Resort features a trio of gourmet restaurants ideal for romantic dining. The Great Oak Steakhouse features an atmosphere of understated elegance and unparalleled flavors of 100% Prime Black Angus Beef. The Seafood Grottoserves the freshest seafood from the West Coast and beyond; offerings range from a raw bar (with fresh oysters and fresh clams), sushi, and sashimi; to a grand, seafood platter, and surf-and-turf. With ambiance reminiscent of a quaint Italian village and an exhibition kitchen, Paisano’s fare extends from pizza and focaccia, to pasta, risotto, and classic, regional Italian entrees.

At Pechanga Casino, those who enjoy high-stakes wagering will appreciate the luxurious atmosphere, Feng Shui elements of balance and harmony, and the elegantly appointed High Limit Gaming Area; features also include an appealing lounge and secluded cash cage for transactions. The spacious, smoke-free, 54-table Pechanga Poker Room is located on Pechanga Casino’s second floor. The Casino’s main floor includes 3,800 state-of-the-art slot and video machines, and 130 table games.

5-Share the Great Outdoors at the Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve

One of Temecula Valley’s greatest natural treasures is the 8,300-acre/3,358-hectare, Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve, and hiking among 40 miles/64 kilometers of trails. This romantic escape provides access to some ofCalifornia’s rarest landscapes: native grasslands, unique Englemann oak woodlands, and seasonal vernal pools. Before making a day of the great outdoors here, purchase a picnic-to-go from bistros like Campini’s inDowntown Old Town Temecula or E.A.T. Marketplace in Uptown Temecula.

Access to Santa Rosa Plateau trails is daily throughout the year, from sunrise to sunset. Small songbirds winter in the oak woodlands. Depending on rainfall, spring may see an abundance of native wildflowers in bloom and butterflies busy at work. In late autumn, the huge sycamore trees growing along the Plateau’s creek beds, display seasonal splendor: their large leaves turn from shades of green to walnut, mahogany, and gold. Year-round, coast live oak woodlands and the rare, ancient oak savanna are home to acorn woodpeckers, red-shouldered hawks, and great horned owls. Meanwhile, patches of coastal sage scrub are home to distinguished, horned lizards.

6-Savor Downtown Old Town Temecula

The pedestrian-friendly, hip-and-historic, 12-block, Old Town Temecula shopping-dining-entertainment district is ideal for strolling hand-in-hand. With all shops and restaurants independently and family owned-and-operated, the artisanal foods and dining experiences are genuinely individual and authentic.

In the heart of  Old Town, Temecula Olive Oil Company features sustainably grown, hand-blended, fresh, pure, and flavorful, 100% California, 100% extra-virgin olive oil; balsamic vinegars (in flavors like vanilla-and-fig, honey-balsamic, and bianco-pomegranate); and a complimentary tasting bar daily. At Old Town Spice Merchants, recycled and re-purposed, 100-year-old barn beams support the shelves laden with hundreds of fine herbs, spices, sea salts, blends, and loose-leaf teas.

Couples find sweet temptation at Old Town Sweet Shop with fresh, made-by-the-store’s own chocolatiers, fresh fudge, gourmet caramel apples, and chocolate dipped treats. Old Town Rootbeer’s namesake beverage is enjoyed ice-cold and in root beer floats. Also found here are hundreds of classic and nostalgic sodas.

Among Old Town Temecula wine tasting rooms is Lorimar, a trendy, friendly, relaxed place where couples enjoy premium, handcrafted wines as well as music and art. Couples also enjoy wines at Fazelli Cellars where musical entertainment often includes acoustic guitarists.

Many of Old Town Temecula’s nearly two-dozen restaurants, bistros, and cafés feature patios for alfresco dining. Among them are Palumbo’s Ristoranteserving truly authentic Italian cuisine including homemade Italian sausage, meatballs, gnocci, tiramisu, and cannoli. Soro’s Mediterranean Grill also offers romantic patio dining and specialties like hummus, kabobs, gyro, dolmas, and falafel.

Two upstairs establishments are also especially memorable for romantic dinners.Baily’s fine dining is enjoyed for its cuisine inspired by the use of local ingredients, and its expansive ala carte menu that is customizable as prix fixe.The Gambling Cowboy features and elegant, late-19th-century setting, and classic steak-and-seafood menu.

For more casual dining, Front Street Bar & Grill is upscale-casual with patio dining, gourmet burgers, soups, salads, and sandwiches; and The PUBlic House is Old Town’s gastro pub and ale house. Texas Lil’s Mesquite Grill is Temecula Valley’s original ranch-style steakhouse; and Sweet Lumpy’s BBQoffers ribs, pulled pork, beef brisket, and tri-tip – all delightful when accompanied by sangria. Nitza’s Pizza features specialty cowboy-themed pizzas, spaghetti; hot wings, and stromboli. The Bank Mexican Restaurant serves authentic cuisine like albondigas soup and carnitas. Uber-casual Rosa’s Cantinafeatures flame-grilled carné asada and a fun salsa bar.

7-Tour and Taste in Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country (TVSCWC)

With the potential to meet talented winemakers and gracious winemaking family members, less-busy weekdays are ideal for honeymooning couples to experience Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country, considered the only major American Viticulture Area (AVA) in Southern California. For relaxed, carefree wine country enjoyment, reserve in advance to tour-and-wine-taste with local, tour-and-transportation companies. Offerings range from the luxury of chauffeured limousines to stylish black cars, fun cable cars and trolleys, adventuresome Hummers and Jeeps, and in a horse-drawn carriage.

For informative and entertaining wine-country excursions, consider Destination Temecula; the highly regarded company also offers memorable, sunset winery dinners. Another popular option is the Vineyard Picnic Tour package offered by Grapeline Wine Country Shuttle.

While in Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country, seize the opportunity to purchase award-winning premium varietals and proprietary blends from the Temecula Valley Winegrowers Association’s 35-member-wineries. Among them is the Maurice Car’rie winery estate with 46 acres of vineyards among the first established in the region in 1968. To celebrate special occasions at home, and to share with family and friends, shop for sparkling wines at Maurice Car’rie, as well as Wiens Family Cellars, South Coast Winery,Thornton WineryWilson Creek Vineyard & WineryDanza del Sol WineryOak Mountain WineryPonte Family Estate Winery, and Cougar Vineyard & Winery.

8-Experience Temet Grill at Temecula Creek Inn

Surrounded by 350 acres/141 hectares of rustic, romantic, natural beauty,Temet Grill is nestled within the Temecula Creek Inn (TCI) Resort with expansive views of TCI’s golf course and the San Jacinto Mountains to the east. Creative dishes and classics – with an emphasis on sustainable and local – are served at the casually elegant Temet Grill. The menu features many small plates and meals prepared for ease of sharing, making for especially intimate and memorable, romantic dining.

9-Saddle Up on a Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country Trail Ride

Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country trail ride on horseback with Saddle Up Wine Tours recalls both Temecula Valley’s ranching, glory-days, and the pioneering spirit of Temecula Valley’s vineyards and wineries. From the 1800s until the 1960s, Temecula Valley was predominately grazing land for cattle including the Vail Ranch spanning more than 87,500 acres/35,409 hectares. In 1964, the Vail family announced the sale of their ranch for a pastoral, master-planned community; Rancho California would incorporate agriculture including avocados, citrus, and wine grapes. In 1968, Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country pioneers began purchasing acreage and planting vineyards. Today, the Temecula Valley AVA is considered the only major American Vitculture Area in Southern California.

On a Saddle Up Wine Tour, gentle horses transport couples past vineyards, ranches and wineries along the De Portola Wine Trail. En route to wine tastings, couples learn of historical wine country anecdotes. Wine-tasting destinations are Keyways Vineyard & Winery (one of the Temecula Valley’s original wine estates with Early California ambiance) and Robert Renzoni Vineyards (recognized for its production of premium, Italian varietals).

10-Stay in Comfort and Romance

Honeymooning couples find down-to-earth luxury, comfort, and romance atTemecula Valley canyon and valley resorts, and at select hotel properties. All are conveniently located minutes – even steps from the Temecula Valley’s appealing, main attractions: Temecula Valley Southern California Wine CountryDowntown Old Town Temecula, and Pechanga Resort & Casino.

Nestled on 350 private acres/141 hectares, Temecula Creek Inn’s soothing, nature-inspired guestrooms and suites feature rustic wine country furnishings, and plush premium bedding. Premium corner rooms have wrap-around patios or balconies with panoramic views. Resort amenities include Temet Grill restaurant and lounge, in-room dining, 27-hole championship golf course, outdoor swimming pool, and hot tub.

With architecture reminiscent of Frank Lloyd Wright, there is a relaxed harmony within Pechanga Resort & Casino’s 400+ acre/161+ hectare, footprint. At the porte cochere with complimentary valet parking and throughout the resort, guests experience casual elegance and a high degree of hospitality and service. Spacious guest rooms and suites include luxurious and plush pillow-top mattresses, 300 thread-count linen, and floor-to ceiling windows with valley or golf course views. Resort amenities include 9 dining establishments with 3 gourmet restaurants; Spa Pechanga within the hotel; Journey at Pechanga golf course; casino gaming; and live entertainment. Hotel guests have complimentary use of the fully equipped health club; seasonal pool, and sundeck with private cabanas; and knowledgeable concierge service.

With an open-air atrium and expansive swimming pool area, Embassy Suitesboasts newly renovated accommodations including fine, sophisticated bedding. The two-room deluxe king suites feature wrap-around patios with French doors. Hotel amenities include outdoor salt-water swimming pool and Jacuzzi, and fitness center.

A number of hotel properties along Temecula Hotel Row in Uptown Temecula offer upgraded accommodations. Hampton Inn & Suites is clean, comfortable, and 100% non-smoking. Among the guestrooms are king studio suites with whirlpool tub or fireplace. Hotel amenities include an outdoor pool and fitness center. Fairfield Inn & Suites rooms feature upgraded pillow-top Euro mattresses. The honeymoon suite has a living/sitting area and a whirlpool bathtub.

Also found in Uptown Temecula is affordable luxury. With all studio suites,SpringHill Suites by Marriott, offers luxurious bedding (crisp linens, thicker mattresses, and fluffier pillows). Highly rated for excellence is La Quinta Inn & Suites.

*Information is believed accurate but may be subject to change.


With natural gifts of climate and geography bolstered by Pu’eska Mountain, the Rainbow Gap, and the Santa Margarita Gap, Temecula Valley is most widely recognized for its quality wines, large and boutique wineries as Temecula Valley Southern California Wine County – considered the only major American Viticulture Area (AVA) in Southern California. The popular boutique destination recently received TripAdvisors’ Travelers Choice “Best U.S. Wine Destination Top 10” award and includes a trio of main attractions: Downtown Old Town Temecula, Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country, and Pechanga Resort & Casino.

The Temecula Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau (TVCVB), the region’s official tourism marketing organization and resource for visitors is online at; “Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country” on Facebook; and @Visit_Temecula on Twitter. The Temecula Valley Visitors Center in Downtown Old Town Temecula (Third Street and Mercedes, adjacent the free Old Town Temecula Parking Garage) is open 7 days. For visitor information and assistance, call 888/363-2852 or 951/491-6085.

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