Winemaking is one of the world's oldest vocations. For thousands of years, it has been more of a calling than a line of work. The Temecula wine region took years to develop but it has finally found its place as one of the most well known and respected wine producing areas in the United States. Connoisseurs the world over, including Queen Elizabeth II, respect the wine made here.
Thousands flock to this region yearly to enjoy Temecula wine tours and relax in its sumptuous surroundings. Few, however, know that winemaking started in the area only a little over 60 years ago, and even then only as an experiment.
Temecula’s Colorful Past
Temecula emerged before the Civil War as a way station for those flocking to find a new life on the sun-saturated coast of Southern California. Afterward, it served as a magnet for former Confederates looking for a fresh start in a new land. As settlement increased, it managed to retain the mixed cultures of Indian, Spanish, and newly arrived Americans, as well as its primarily agricultural character.
Wine Comes to Temecula
Each generation seemed to bring new changes to the area in the 20th century. Rail service was followed by roads, then major highways. After World War II, Southern California saw its golden years as an area of seemingly unending growth of wealth and population.
In 1964, an industry arrived that would give Temecula its enduring defining characteristics from then on, the crafting of fine wine.
Kaiser Industries, led by Oakland based founder Henry J. Kaiser, purchased the 100,000 acre Vail Ranch. Shortly thereafter, agricultural expert Dick Break proposed that the area held the perfect characteristics for growing grapes for wine production. Although not many believed him, Break got his break. Two years after Kaiser Industries purchased the property, and while the surrounding area experimented with developing a planned community, Break seeded several ten-acre plots.
His efforts quickly bore fruit.
By the 1970s, thousands of acres had come under cultivation and wineries soon followed. An early entrepreneurial family, Vincenzo and Audrey Cilurzo, established one of the first wineries in the area, the oldest one still in operation, though not by the original owners. Ely Callaway, a famous period professional golfer, also found great success with his winery. He even got Queen Elizabeth to sample a glass, leading her to request a second serving of the top quality selection.
Its white wines especially earned so much fame that some wondered if grapes for red wine would even grow in the area (thankfully they do!)
The region itself started attracting residents, such as future President Ronald Reagan and a number of Hollywood stars.
At the turn of the century, over 30 wineries opened their doors to produce wines for customers around the world.
Today the region has earned rightful fame as a center of high-end wine production. Temecula wine tours attract waves of visitors seeking to sample and learn more about the making of their favorite spirits.
Forty different wineries do a brisk business both in selling wine and introducing visitors to their operations. Some follow traditional processes, while others have used local caves to house their operations. Each winery bears some individual stamp of its owners in their production, giving each their own distinctive and delicious flavor.
Come to Temecula to enjoy a wine tour and learn more about the ancient art of winemaking in one of the crafts newest centers of excellence. We promise that you will have a unique, exciting, and informative experience creating memories that will last a lifetime.