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Ric Romero's one-tank getaway: Temecula Valley

August 4, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
The Temecula Valley is a paradise of family-owned wineries, each with friendly tasting rooms and delicious wines. But wine tasting is only the beginning of what Temecula and the wineries have to offer.

At Ponte Winery, located at 35053 Rancho California Road, they have free live music every Friday and Saturday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Enjoy the sounds while having a glass of wine or dining in their outdoor restaurant.

"Ponte is all about a day in the country. We're all about just coming back with friends and family and having a really great time in a laid back environment," said Elizabeth Liemandt, marketing manager at Ponte.

The Falkner Winery, located 40620 Calle Contento, features the Pinnacle Restaurant perched on a hilltop overlooking the valley.

"You get beautiful views; we have amazing, award-winning wines - most of them on our tasting menu have won gold medals or better. We have award-winning food, which is really spectacular," said owner Ray Faulkner.

Much of the food is healthy Mediterranean like the Ahi crunchy salad, wild king salmon special, and their signature dish, lobster mac and cheese. Mention ABC7 to get $3 off the mac and cheese.

At South Coast Winery, located at 34843 Rancho California Road (right next door to the Ponte), it's more than just a winery, it's a resort too. They have 76 private villas with views of the vineyards. Mention ABC7 for a 20 percent discount on hotel rooms Thursday through Sunday through November 1.

There is also a full service spa and a large swimming pool. Plus, the award-winning South Coast Winery has a behind the scenes walking tour not to be missed. At the end of the guided tour you get a cheese and wine plate, and if you mention ABC7 you'll get two for the price of one.

There are also plenty of unique shops on Old Town Front Street to check out.

The Old Town Sweet Shop, at 28545 Old Town Front Street, has delicious caramel apples, fudge to die for, and retro candy. Mention ABC7 and get 15 percent off your total purchase of sweets.

Another favorite shop is right next door. The Old Town Root Beer Company, features 100 types of root beers -- three of them made by the store -- and 300 types of sodas, some from around the world. If you mention ABC7, the Old Town Root Beer Company will give you two root beer floats for the price of one.

Near Old Town is the Temecula Valley Museum, at 28314 Mercedes Street. The star of the show here is the Erle Stanley Gardner display. The late Temecula resident is famous for writing hundreds of detective novels including the Perry Mason series. Actually he didn't write them, he dictated them.

"He would dictate a story, putting in paragraph marks and punctuations, almost complete, only one or two words needed to be changed in the story. It was all complete in his head, just fell out like Mozart writing a symphony," said Wendell Ott, director of the Temecula Valley Museum.

The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday with a suggested donation of just $2.

Another local museum, one of the coolest I have ever seen, is the Pennypickle's Workshop. Located at 42081 Main Street, Pennypickle's is all about children getting a hands-on experience.

"They can get all that energy out and they can actually touch and feel and use all their sense, whereas other places they come out a little disappointed. But here they always come out happy," said mother Maryam Mirmohammadi.

Pennypickle's is open Tuesday through Sunday. It costs $4.50, but mention ABC7 for a 2-for-1 discount through Labor Day.

Temecula has it all, easily qualifying as a great one-tank getaway.

 

  Special for ABC7 viewers

Faulker Winery
40620 Calle Contento
Temecula, CA 92591
(951) 676-8231
www.falknerwinery.com Mention ABC7 to get $3 off an order of Lobster Mac and Cheese at the Pinnacle Restaurant

South Coast Winery
34843 Rancho California Road
Temecula, California 92591
www.wineresort.com
951.587.WINE (9463)
Mention ABC7 to receive a 2-for-1 ticket of $25 for their wine tasting tour. In addition, South Coast Winery is offering a 20 percent discount, Sunday through Thursday, on hotel rooms through November 1.

Old Town Sweet Shop
28545 Old Town Front Street
(951) 693-1919
www.oldtownsweetshop.com
Mention ABC7 and get 15 percent off your total purchase of sweets

Old Town Root Beer Company
28545 Old Town Front Street
(951) 676-5088
www.facebook.com/pages/Old-Town-Root-Beer-Company
Mention ABC7 to get 2-for-1 root beer floats

Pennypickle's Workshop: Temecula Children's Museum
42081 Main Street
Temecula, CA 92590
(951) 308-6370
www.pennypickles.org
Mention ABC7 to get a 2-for-1 discount through Labor Day

A number of wineries offer 2-for-1 wine tastings through the Temecula Valley Winegrowers Association's website, www.temeculawines.org you can print out the discount coupons from your home computer and bring them with you.


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