Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Touring California's Other Wine Country

As part of our company's annual rep symposium I mentioned in my last post, we took our distributors on a private bus tour of some of the wineries in the Temecula Valley. Although not as well known as Napa or the Central Coast wine region, the Temecula Valley is actually California's oldest wine-making region, dating back to the early California Missions.

Vineyards at Temecula. (12/05/2007)
Vineyards at Temecula. (12/05/2007)

In 2005 our company took our distributors on a daytrip to Catalina Island. Last year they took them on an overnighter to Las Vegas. And in each of those years, I was never one of the lucky staff members selected to accompany our distributors on these fun trips. But this year, for some unexplained reason, I made the list!

I think my primary role was to be the event photographer, taking pictures of everyone and everything. And I did lots of that. But I did manage to hand off the camera here and there to get a couple of pictures of me for this blog.

James takes his first drink at Leonesse winery. (12/05/2007)
James takes his first drink at Leonesse winery. (12/05/2007)

We toured and tasted at three wineries that day. We started things off at Leonesse Cellars, which opened up an amazing new tasting room since the last time we were there. While there I sampled a delightful 2005 Zinfandel and a 2005 Melange de Reves (and ended up buying a bottle of each).

James drinking again at South Coast winery. (12/05/2007)
James drinking again at South Coast winery. (12/05/2007)

Next we headed to South Coast Winery. We started with lunch at the restaurant, which I have to admit was pretty lackluster. Then again, we were a group of 40 people and only had a limited menu to choose from (chicken sandwich or steak sandwich, with fries or fruit), so I can't really hold that against them.

But I did enjoy their wines, in particular their 2006 Muscat Canelli. I got two bottles of that, along with one bottle of their 2006 Riesling. Plus I simply had to buy a bottle of the 2004 Olivia Newton-John Viognier for Olivia Newton-John's biggest fan Tim. Although I thought the viognier was only fair, how can you pass it up buying wine from Sandy in Grease?

James already drunk at Wilson Creek winery. (12/05/2007)
James already drunk at Wilson Creek winery. (12/05/2007)

We closed our day at Wilson Creek Winery, where we all had a very entertaining lesson in wine-drinking by general manager Bill Wilson (and member of the Wilson family that owns the winery). He was not only funny, but educational. I thought I knew a fair amount about wine already, but he taught us a lot more.

I really enjoyed the Almond Champagne that they're well known for, although I didn't buy any bottles there since I happen to know I can find it at our nearby BevMo, which stocks it. Overall it was a fun excursion which I think our international distributors enjoyed very much.

5 comments:

Yeti9000 said...

Glad you enjoyed the Lebanese winery, but I personally stopped drinking Lebanese wines after Prime Minister Rafik Hariri was slain in February of 2005. Long live the opposition!

Yeti9000 said...

Oh, wait...you said Leonesse...not Lebanese. My bad!=)

James said...

10 points to you for being the first person to mention Rafik Hariri in the nearly three-year existence of the James & Tim Blog.

Wikipedia much?!! :)

Yeti9000 said...

Wiki-what? Nah, still haven't checked out that newfangled website you introduced me recently. Rafik Hariri and I were in Allen Estrin's screenwriting class together at AFI. So-so writer, but a great guy!

TIM said...

Can you say "Napa"?!?! I wanna go!!!!!!!