By Greg Aragon
I’ve stayed in lots of luxurious and unique hotel rooms around Southern California, but I’ve never stayed in one that sits amongst lush vineyards. That is until this past weekend when I experienced South Coast Winery Resort & Spa.
Situated on 63 lush acres in Temecula’s burgeoning wine country, South Coast Winery Resort & Spa is a relaxing and idyllic destination for wine lovers and those who want a relaxing getaway. The property, which is open with current safety rules in place, boasts award-winning wine tasting, a gourmet restaurant, full-service spa (currently closed), a large pool area with cabanas, and a hotel with villas located in the vineyards.
My getaway to the resort began last week when a friend and I checked into a spacious and private, 575-square-foot villa, with stunning mountain views and a patio set among the grapes. The room also featured a luxurious king bed, large TV, living room with fireplace, dining area with microwave, refrigerator, kitchen sink and dining table, and a marble and granite bathroom with oversized jacuzzi tub and walk-in shower.
After checking in to the villa, we sampled some of the winery’s most popular varietals. The front desk sent a golf cart to pick us up at our room and take us to the tasting area, where we sat outside on a large outdoor patio and sampled a flight of red wines. The smooth, fruity, and earthy journey of wines included award-winning Grenache, Tempranillo, petit verdot and merlot
From the tasting we took a stroll around the rolling estate. Founded by Jim Carter, the winery opened in 2003, followed by the restaurant and resort in 2006, then the spa in 2007. Today, South Coast Winery Resort and Spa has garnered more than 5,000 awards and medals for its grapes and wine. In 2016, it broke records with its fourth win in the California State Winery of the Year Wine Competition.
“I wanted to share the complete wine country experience,” says Carter. “Guests not only enjoy the finest wines paired with the finest foods, but they stay in a private villa right in the middle of a vineyard. We are Temecula Valley’s only full-service winery-resort that gives them a glimpse of our lifestyle in one of the most beautiful places in Southern California.”
The winery produces 45 wine labels, the majority of which are available for sampling. This includes robust reds such as tempranillo, cabernet sauvignon, grenache, petit syrah, merlot and pinot noir, to whites including sauvignon blanc, viognier, pinot grigio, chardonnay and riesling. Also available are sparkling wines, desert wines and other specialty offerings.
While walking around the vineyards and dirt walking paths lining the resort, we spotted bunny rabbits, old windmills, hot air balloons, and a romantic, pumpkin-shaped horse carriage being pulled by two Clydesdale horses. The resort is currently offering packages that include an overnight stay, wine and either a ride in a hot air balloon or a horse carriage.
After touring the property, we headed back to our villa and relaxed on the patio with a bottle of South Coast Boulder Red 2.0. A little Southern France and a little Southern California, this wine features a balanced and clean taste, with the right amount of silky tannins.
For dinner we headed to the resort’s signature restaurant, The Vineyard Rose. Housed in an elegant, Tuscan-inspired dining room with open beams and a relaxing wine bar and terrace, The Vineyard Rose Restaurant serves contemporary California cuisine sourced from the season’s freshest, locally-grown ingredients. Because of the current California regulations, indoor seating is unavailable, but the restaurant boasts beautiful outdoor dining on its front patio or back veranda.
Our dinner began with tasty shrimp cocktail and a glass of South Coast pinot grigio. For the main course, I devoured seared day boat scallops with cauliflower, pork belly, asparagus tips and pea tendrils. My friend enjoyed grilled filet mignon with potatoes, wild mushrooms, asparagus and red wine reduction.
In the morning we stepped into summer paradise at the resort’s grand pool area, where we rented a cabana for the day. The large, tent cabana provided shade from the sun and featured comfortable lounge chairs and a couch, and service from the poolside café. To meet current safety requirements, the pool is currently open by reservation only.
I concluded the evening with a glass of wine and a bubble bath in my villa’s giant jacuzzi tub.
South Coast Winery Resort and Spa is located at 34843 Rancho California Road, Temecula, CA 92591. For more information on staying at the resort and current specials, including the Horse & Carriage Package or the Hot Air Balloon Package, call (951) 587-9463 or visit: southcoastwinery.com.