I adore these moments of pure peace in amongst the craziness of life and work. Temecula really was that place for me. All you can see for miles is vineyards and mountains.
The Incredible Ponte Vineyard Inn
The Ponte Vineyard Inn hotel is insane. As we wandered through the gorgeous stone floor of the reception area we were greeted with Bellinis made with wine from the Ponte Winery. We checked into our room and the beds were huge, with a thick enough mattress to make me feel like I was in the fairy tale Princess and The Pea. There was a “do not disturb” button next to the door that you can press at anytime, I could tell immediately that this hotel’s focus was pure relaxation. A quick Google and I learned that this hotel had in fact been voted the 2nd best hotel in the whole of California. Wow. I noticed immediately how tranquil the hotel was. No sounds. Everyone whispered. We opened our balcony doors and all I could see was rows and rows of vineyards and mountains in the distance. It was incredible. I definitely felt miles and miles away from real life.
The Ponte vineyards have been functioning since 1984 and they opened their winery in 2003 and have since become the benchmark for great service among Temecula wineries. Their motto is “If you like it, it’s good wine.” I love that you can go for walks around the grounds and vineyards too, to get fresh air and soak up the views.
I honestly cannot recommend this hotel more. We enjoyed a very low-key relaxing time here, taking our time over breakfast (and indulging in wine at breakfast, woops, you can’t turn it down when the wine is so good and from their own vineyards!) You can also ask the concierge to arrange activities for you, such as spa treatments, hot air balloon rides, horseback riding and golf.
We had SO much fun exploring Temecula town. It’s as if you have entered a time machine and into a time warp in the best possible way. There are loads of antique and vintage shops which I always enjoy browsing, the weirder the better. Our favourite hang outs were: a cafe called 1909, I think it’s called 1909 because that was the year it either burnt down and was rebuilt, and The Bank, a really chilled bar that used to be a bank once upon a time with a huge vault inside. Recommend it for happy hour specials, Mexican food and a good atmosphere.
We had a brilliant time at Robert Renzoni’s Vineyards and Winery. We loved how it was a family run company, how some of the wines on the tasting menu were named after family jokes, milestones or family members. Our favourite of the wines was called “Big Fred’s Red” name after Robert’s dad Fred. Every wine had a personality (some had interesting flavours like caramel and leather!) and the wine tasting guides were brilliant at chatting us through each one. The winemaker was called Olivia and she was only 28, which was seriously impressive. So much knowledge at such a young age.
What I loved about this winery was how welcoming it was. I half expected wine-tasting venues to be slightly snobby, or at least judge you a bit if you did things wrong. I don’t know anything about wine-tasting, apart from that you swill it around and how you must hold the stem of the glass so that it doesn’t get to warm. I picked up lots of hints and tricks, and no one made me feel silly for asking any questions. They have a loyal membership to the winery too, over 3,000 members constantly come in to try and buy new wines.