Trip Start Jan 08, 2013
Trip End Mar 26, 2013

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Flag of United States  , California
Thursday, March 14, 2013

When people think of California, and wine, they generally tend to think of Napa Valley or Sonoma. Thanks to a good friend of ours we've discovered Temecula, about an hour's drive away from Carlsbad. It's here where we ventured today, along with some friends.

Temecula is a lot like the Okanagan. Lots of smaller vineyards, with the occasional fruit orchard thrown in for variety. It's a very pretty area with a sort of Tuscan theme and I love driving out there. There's a dramatic change in climate between Carlsbad (the coast), and Temecula (the interior). One more reason to visit since the weather is usually great out there.

We've been going to Temecula for just over three years, visiting different vineyards each time and learning all about wine making. Each vineyard having its own personality (and personalities), and stories to tell. Its all very interesting. Some are pretty new. In fact every time we go out there, it seems that a new vineyard has opened. And some are older and very well established.

Our favourite vineyard is Wilson Creek Winery, which has been around for quite a while. We drop by there regularly since they have consistently good wines that we enjoy. We do, however, like to mix it up a bit and discover something new. Today we visited a couple of new places. It wasn't a particularly busy day at the wineries so we were able to take our time.

Our first stop was indeed Wilson Creek. I'm a white wine fan and they didn't have much new to taste in the whites but they did have my favorite wine in stock (it seems to sell out rapidly each year) so I just replenished my supply. Our friends, however, like reds and they soon found a few wines to taste and enjoy. I also tried a new Sangria they were producing that I think I can add fruit to and make a delicious Summer drink. All told, we managed to relieve the winery of a few bottles of their best.

Our second stop was Couger. A new winery to us, one that we'd never been to before. Their facilities were more modest but they had some very nice wine, with our server doing nothing but encouraging us to try this wine because its his favourite, or that wine because its his wife's favourite. It would appear that they both have good taste because we left there with a bottle of each and none of the others!

A number of vineyards have restaurants attached to them, and we were able to relax and enjoy lunch overlooking some beautiful scenery at the Callaway vineyard. The grapes aren't growing yet, but it was a beautiful warm day and we had nowhere we needed to be right away. (The joys of vacation).

The last wine tasting of our day was at Europa. Yet another place we hadn't heard of before, but it came highly recommended by someone at Wilson Creek. Our experience at Europa was more entertainment than tasting since our server was quite a character. We didn't always agree with his recommendations, but he was happy to keep pouring so that he could share his enthusiasm for their wines.

We had a great day out at Temecula, and not not just because of the wine! The weather was wonderful, the company great, the scenery beautiful and we had all the time in the world. No need to hurry. After our travels of the last month its also so nice to have clean fresh air, and we enjoyed it to the full.

We'll be back!

We rounded the day out back in Carlsbad with home-made fish tacos. This is a dish we originally found in Hawaii but it is very popular in Southern California (as is most Mexican food for some reason). We bought fresh fish from a local store and I took it from there. Yum!
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Hugh on

Welcome back to beautiful Carlsbad. Time sure seems to fly when you are having fun. It's hard to believe that you folks have been gone for over 2 months. You certainly didn't miss much so enjoy the rest of your trip. Adjoa and I have been following your adventures and can't wait to hear all the great stuff. Looking forward to your return. Cheers.

Colleen on

Hugh, its been incredible. It's difficult to do the vacation justice in a blog. Can't wait to get together with you and Adjoa to tell you all about it. Will try and distill my almost 3,000 photographs to a reasonable amount for you to see.

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