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Temecula Valley’s first commercial vineyard was planted in 1968.
In 1984, Temecula Valley received formal recognition as an American wine-growing area (corresponding to the European PDO), first as “Temecula AVA”, in 2004, with the name in “Temecula Valley AVA”.
Temecula Valley currently boasts over forty licensed wineries, producing more than 500,000 cases annually.
Let’s find out more from the words of Devin Parr, PR and Marketing Manager for Temecula Valley.
Since the birth of Temecula AVA Valley, which goals have been achieved and which remain to be achieved?
A wise man once said, “When you’re building something, you’re never truly finished.” Since the establishment of the first commercial vineyard in 1968, Temecula Valley has grown from a sleepy, one-stop-sign town to a vibrant, bustling wine destination with 47 wineries as well as dining and lodging among the vines. The region has since built a reputation for quality wines, a welcoming community, robust hospitality offerings, and unique wine experiences. We were also the first US wine region to introduce an entirely different funding model – the Temecula Valley Wine and Agricultural Heritage District – aimed at providing marketing dollars to continue to build programs around raising awareness of the region among wine and travel consumers.
In terms of what remains to be achieved, we are continuing to look at ways we can increase vineyard plantings, expand the American Viticultural Area (AVA), and attract new wine lovers throughout the country and abroad.
What are the peculiarities of the territory and its wines?
Temecula Valley is marked by a warm, Mediterranean climate. However the region does experience significant marine influence thanks to a gap in the coastal mountain ranges. As hot air rises in the desert, it creates a vacuum effect, pulling cool ocean winds inland, which in turn creates breezy afternoons as well as cool nights and mornings. This allows grapes to develop perfect ripeness while maintaining highly desirable acid levels for well-balanced, flavorful wines.
The region is known for its diversity of grape varieties. We grow a literal A to Z of wine grapes, from Arneis to Zinfandel. Given the region is also almost entirely direct-to-consumer (very little wine is sold through the traditional three-tier distribution system), we have the unique ability to produce wines in a variety of styles as we are not beholden to the same market forces as wines in distribution are. There is truly something for everyone in Temecula Valley when it comes to wine.
What services/activities do you use to promote your wine region?
We promote Temecula Valley through traditional public relations and marketing channels – advertising, social media, and communications with wine and lifestyle journalists – as well as various consumer and trade events. For example, each year the region hosts the Temecula Valley Barrel Tasting, where consumers are invited to sample unfinished wines straight from the barrel, along with selections of Temecula Valley’s newest wine releases. We also host an event aimed at grape growers and winemakers from all over the country called Grape Day.
We pour Temecula Valley wines at consumer walk-around tastings throughout California, and usually participate in industry events like SommCon, where we educate wine trade – sommeliers, wine directors, wine buyers, and other industry leaders – on the region’s wines, climate, grapes, and more.
Can you briefly describe the areas of cultural and enotourism interest of Temecula AVA Valley?
Temecula Valley is home to 47 wineries, from small-production, boutique tasting rooms to large-scale, amenities-driven establishments. Wineries are situated relatively close together, making travel throughout the region easy. Unlike many other California wine regions, several wineries in the area offer on-site dining, as well as lodging quite literally among the vines. Guests can step out onto their hotel room terrace and look out at the vineyards before them.
There are plenty of unique wine tasting experiences, such as hands-on wine blending classes, where visitors can blend their own signature bottle of wine, wine and wellness activities like yoga and pilates among the vines, curated food and wine pairing activities, and more.
The region also offers outdoor and adventure activities like hot air ballooning, horseback riding, hiking, biking, golfing, and, of course, shopping, and is home to a large casino – Pechanga Resort Casino.
What are the goals set for the near future to spread your excellence more and more internationally?
We will continue to introduce events and programs aimed at attracting and engaging wine consumers through tastings, educational materials, marketing initiatives, and public relations. We are also undergoing a comprehensive re-brand of the region, and are looking forward to unveiling new storytelling elements in Summer 2022.
Beyond that, customers can expect to see Temecula Valley pouring delicious Southern California wines at various events throughout key markets in California, Arizona, and beyond in 2022.
We will also be hosting media, trade, and consumers in the region, allowing them to get to know Temecula Valley, its wines, and the extraordinary people who make the region so special.
Why are Temecula Wines so special?
Temecula wines are special for several reasons. Firstly, they come from Southern California, and are representative of a burgeoning wine region in this part of the state. Secondly, they are produced from over two dozen different grape varieties. In Temecula Valley, you can find classics like Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Zinfandel, but you can also find exciting grape varieties like Albarino, Barbera, Falanghina, Grenache, Syrah, Montepulciano, Sangiovese, and Vermentino, among others. The Mediterranean climate is ideally suited to growing grapes most widely associated with top wine regions of the world like Italy, Spain, Portugal, and France’s Rhone Valley.
Temecula Valley wines are produced in a variety of styles as well, making it easy for all types of consumers to find something they like. Lastly, the wines are produced thoughtfully and passionately by talented winemakers who believe in the promise of Temecula Valley, and have helped build this amazing wine region into what it is today.