Temecula Valley is well known for its world-class wineries, beautiful landscapes, and historic old town. While a Temecula Valley wine tasting is a relaxed way to enjoy some of the best our area has to offer, it’s also an educational experience. You might be surprised what you’ll learn on one of our wine tours. Here are six little known facts about Temecula and its wineries.
1. Missionaries were the first winemakers in Temecula
The first grapes grown in the valley were brought to the area by missionaries in the late 1700s. Mission vineyards were established in the area as early as 1820. The first commercial vineyards in the Temecula Valley didn’t start development until the 1960s, with the first winery, Callaway Vineyard and Winery, opening in 1974.
2. Temecula is the only city in California to retain its aboriginal name
The city of Temecula was founded in 1859, taking its name from the Luiseño word “Temecunga”, which means place of sun. The first missionaries to the area learned the name from the original residents – the Colorado Shoshone Indians – interpreting the name as “Temecula.”
The area was renamed as Rancho California in 1964 after the 87,500-acre Vail Ranch was sold for development. However, in 1989, the city regained its original name after a vote by its residents.
3. Only one winery in the area has a “wine cave”
Oak Mountain Winery is the only winery in the Temecula Valley to have a wine cave, hollowed out of a hill on the estate. The cave is mainly used for cool storage, but it also has an area for parties and events.
4. Temecula’s climate is very similar to the Mediterranean
The Temecula Valley’s location, south of San Francisco, means it receives a lot of sun and little rain. The valley’s shape creates perfect conditions for morning mists to form, and cool breezes from the Pacific Ocean also make for lower evening temperatures – ideal growing conditions for wine grapes.
The climate of Temecula makes it suitable for a wide variety of grapes including Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Pinot gris, Chardonnay, Merlot, and Sauvignon blanc.
5. Temecula is home of one of the nation’s favorite and most unusual sparkling wines
Wilson’s Creek Winery in Temecula is most famous for its almond champagne, which is sold in grocery stores across the country. The sparkling wine came about when the winery was looking for something a little different to the usual champagnes. The wine is trademarked as "OH MY GOSH"® sparkling wine and has notes of sweet marzipan and caramelized sugar. It’s naturally fermented, and the natural almond flavor is added after production.
6. Temecula hosts an annual balloon and wine festival
Currently in its 36th year, the Temecula Valley Baloon and Wine Festival was started in 1983 to draw attention to the area’s wineries and attractions. Many of the wineries in Temecula join in on the fun, holding special tastings and events throughout the three-day festival.
Temecula’s wineries hold even more secrets. Want to know more? Book a Moses Wine Tour to visit some of the region’s best wineries with us, see the production facilities, and taste a variety of delicious wines.