Sunrider Jeep Tours offers a unique way to visit the Temecula Wine Country – in an open air Jeep! We jumped at the chance to ride along for the day with a group of first time Wine Country guests. The day started off at the Starbucks in Old Town Temecula, which is a completely normal place to set out for an adventure in Temecula. We headed out of Old Town with the wind in our face and the warm Temecula sunshine above.
Our first stop was Stuart Cellars, which coincidentally is on our top six list of Temecula wineries in. What impressed us about our driver, Adam, was that even before we arrived at the winery he had an attitude of “lets have some”, fun mixed with a real knowledge of Wine Country. He told about all the wineries that were along the way and when we arrived at Stuart, he introduced us to our pourer, Jarmila, From time to time interacted with the guests and ourselves to make sure we were having a good time. The wine at Stuart was, as usual, very good; the Tatria and La Grien were two of our favorites.
From there we journeyed to Weins Winery home of the Big Reds. Again Adam was awesome in making the group at home with the servers. Pete, new to Weins poured us several of the reserve wines and we were not disappointed. Our favorites were the 07’ Reflection, the Tempernillo and the Petite Syrah.
This is where we parted ways with Sunrider, as we had a special lunch date with Chef Fernando at The Creekside Grille at Wilson Creek Winery (post coming soon).
Sunrider’s guests stayed at Wienes, where they were provided lunch (courtesy of Sunrider) consisting of sandwiches from Cosi (a local favorite eatery) , and locally grown, organic, fresh fruit from Barons Marketplace in Temecula.
Later in the day we met up with Adam at Keyways Winery over on the DePortola side, which was busy as usual. Their winemaker, Mike Tingley is a close friend & acclaimed winemaker in the Temecula Valley. Although Keyways is known for their reds, we really enjoyed the “Ice Wine”, which is great on a warm Temecula afternoon – everyone must try it at least once.
Ice Wine was developed in the cool climates of Europe. The grapes are grown to full ripeness and left on the vines until the first deep freeze of the winter. The grapes are then naturally dehydrated & hand harvested at night. . To serve the Ice Wine at the correct temperature, the glass is actually chilled with ice before the wine is poured. As for the taste, the front has an intense sweetness with unexpected dryness on the finish.
From Keyways, we went across the street to Leonesse Cellars, where Adam shared with us some of the process that takes place after the grapes are harvested. He apparently has a carte blanche to Leonesse, instead of the public tasting room, we were escorted into the wine club members only section. We were treated to a barrel tasting of the yet to be released, 07 Syrah made by Tim Kramer.
Wine tasting might not be the most many outing in the world, but when you go with Adam of Sunrider, the climax of the trip brings out the redneck in all of us. After driving through the vineyards of Leonesse we shifted into 4-wheel drive and headed straight up the to the heights of Temecula Valley in our yellow jeep with the theme from Jurassic Park blazing – better buckle in! Check out the video:
When we reached our destination, high above the valley, we could truly see the beauty of Temecula; Mount Palomar, Lake Skinner, and vineyards as far as the eye can see – Sunrider Jeep Tours truly lives up to their name. Adam mentioned that it is at this point that he breaks out his guitar and serenades the group, but we took up the seat reserved for his guitar.
We highly suggest you call Sunrider Jeep Tours (951-551-1516) for your next visit to the Wine Country. Ask for Adam & tell him “Taste of Temecula” sent you and they’ll give you a special discount on your midweek tour (Tuesday-Thursday). Take a minute and become a Facebook Fan of Sunrider Jeep Tours here. When you get a chance to ride along, come back here and leave a comment about how much fun you had.