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Temecula winter festivities continue into restaurant month

Wine casks filled with future vintages fill many of Temecula's wineries. Photo courtesy Temecula CVB

Wine casks overflowing with future vintages fill many of Temecula’s wineries. Photo courtesy Temecula CVB

Festivities of the holiday season are still being celebrated daily throughout January and into February at Winterfest in downtown Temecula, Temecula Valley, and at the Pechanga Resort & Casino. You may have missed holiday concerts, ballets, holiday lights, Santa, the electric Light Parade, and ice-skating on Town Square. But, there’s still time for some great Winterfest exploration with hot air balloon flights, golfing, and hiking at the Santa Rosa Plateau, California Restaurant Month, and February’s 28 Days of Romance. Kimberly Adams, president of Temecula Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau, suggests that visitors arrive a couple of days early to more fully enjoy the festival; this is easy to do since most Temecula hotels have midweek and seasonal specials now.With average daytime winter temperatures of just under 70F and many sunny days, Temecula Valley offers up natural, rolling hills, vineyards, and a big blue sky overhead. In winter, the snow-capped peaks of Mount San Jacinto to the west, Palomar Mountain to the south, and Mount San Bernardino to the north form a semi-circle that hugs the valley’s panoramic vistas. Temecula Valley is only minutes away from most southern California metro areas: about an hour from the OC, Palm Desert and San Diego, and under two hours from LA.

Old town Temecula is very walkable and has been restaurants and shops for visitors to peruse. Photo courtesy Temecula CVB

Old town Temecula is very walkable and has many restaurants and shops for visitors to peruse. Photo courtesy Temecula CVB

Winterfest & Restaurant Month seasonal dining
No matter what brings merry-goers to Temecula Valley for Winterfest, festive, seasonal dining is always a highlight. Many restaurants feature menus showcasing local, seasonal ingredients and wine lists with a variety of Temecula Valley Southern California wines. Temecula celebrates California Restaurant Month by offering deliciously discounted dining including prix fixe lunch and dinner menus. Top restaurants in Downtown Old Town Temecula, Uptown Temecula, at Promenade Temecula, in Temecula Valley So Cal Wine Country, along Temecula Parkway, and at Pechanga Resort & Casino feature special menus at attractive prices daily throughout January. The month-long celebration also provides the opportunity to showcase Temecula Valley chefs, their talents, philosophies, passions, and cuisine. For foodies and aspiring foodies, January is the chance to taste much of the goodness and greatness that Temecula Valley creates.

In Old Town Temecula, the classic Baily’s and more-casual Front Street Bar & Grill anchor the southern block of the district. Further north, Palumbo’s Ristorante serves highly regarded Italian cuisine, Soro’s very popular Mediterranean. For steaks, Texas Lil’s Mesquite Grill is the place; for barbecue, Sweet Lumpy’s. The Bank and Rosa’s Cantina feature Mexican fare.

Farther afield, restaurants include Bouquet, Café Champagne, Carol’s, Creekside Grille, Meritage, The Pinnacle, Restaurant at Leoness, Restaurant at Ponte, Shorty’s Bistro, and Vineyard Rose. For casual fare, M.D.O. Bistro and Maurice’s Kitchen are popular. Nestled against Temecula’s famed Rainbow Gap is Temecula Creek Inn. Within the casually elegant resort is the Temet Grill featuring menus inspired by the local vineyards and wine country.

Lastly, the Pechanga Resort & Casino includes a variety of award-winning restaurants. From Great Oak Steakhouse, Paisano’s Ristorante, Seafood Grotto, and Journey’s End, to Bamboo, Blazing Noodles, Kelsey’s, and the Pechanga Buffet.

Hot air balloons fill the early morning sky as adventurers grab a peek of the vineyards from above. Photo courtesy Temecula CVB

Hot air balloons fill the early morning sky as adventurers grab a peek of the vineyards from above. Photo courtesy Temecula CVB

Temecula Valley’s Winterfest outdoor options
The mostly sunny days of Winterfest’s make for clear panoramic views of snow-capped mountains, and an excellent time to enjoy hot air balloon flights, vacation-worthy golfing, and hiking at the Santa Rosa Plateau.A hot air balloon flight over Temecula and surrounding valley promises memorable adventure for celebrating any occasion. Serenely floating together with spectacular views of rolling hills and vineyards may be the ultimate holiday traditions to start, and its never too late at Winterfest. Several local hot air balloon companies launch at sunrise daily, weather permitting.

Temecula Valley golf courses are highly regarded for course design, age-old oaks and sycamore trees, elevation changes, and expansive views. All are popular with golfers of all skill levels and offer challenging play year-round. Arthur Hills-designed Journey at Pechanga is one of California’s top courses. Temecula Creek Inn features 27 holes of championship golf surrounded by 350 acres of rustic natural beauty. The highly rated RedHawk Golf Club has one of the only island greens in Southern California. Legends Golf Club has rolling topography, five lakes, and numerous doglegs. Golf Club at Rancho California features hilly terrain, wide fairways, and large landing areas while Pala Mesa Golf Course has a traditional, parkland front-nine and back-nine that climbs into the foothills. Tee times may be scheduled daily including holidays.

The Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve protects thousands of acres of grasslands, wetlands, oak woodlands, and chaparral. There’s a self-guided, interpretive, nature trail as well as almost fifty miles of hiking trails, mostly easy to moderate difficulty. Open daily from sunrise to sunset, including holidays, the Plateau has opportunities to listen and watch for small songbirds wintering over in the oak woodlands. It’s also is an ideal site for a SoCal Winterfest picnic.

Straight-from-the-barrel tastings are one of the perks of visiting Temecula Valley during one of its many wine festivals, like last year's Harvest Celebration barrel tasting at Europa Village winery // (c) GTH & Nathan DePetris

Straight-from-the-barrel tastings are one of the perks of visiting Temecula Valley during one of its many wine festivals, like last year’s Harvest Celebration barrel tasting at Europa Village winery // (c) GTH & Nathan DePetris

February’s 28 Days of Romance in Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country
Just as January wraps up California Restaurant Month, Temecula Valley kicks off 28 days of Romance. Hotel romance packages can be paired up with traditional Valentine activities like romantic dining, spa treatments, and hot air balloon flights through beautiful Temecula Valley wine country. Dine at casual and fine dining restaurants like Baily’s, Palumbo’s Ristorante, Café Champagne, The Pinnacle, Vineyard Rose, Temet Grill, and Great Oak Steakhouse. Indulge in relaxation at GrapeSeed Spa and Spa Pechanga. Glide through the air in each other’s arms in a hot air balloon over vineyards and rolling hills with panoramic views of snow-capped mountains. However you make your romantic moments, Temecula offers many options to realize them.

If You Go:
Temecula Valley CVB official site 
Restaurant Month

This news & events bulletin is based entirely on information received from Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country Convention and Visitors Bureau.

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