The Winery Page
WINE COUNTRY IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA?
You bet! There are dozens of wineries in the Southern California area, including one in downtown L.A.
The wineries on this page all offer tasting and most offer tours as well.
These wineries also offer handicapped access for all their guests. Specifics about parking and other facilities are included in each description (except wineries noted with a ?", see next paragraph).
Wineries with a "?" have not been visited by us yet, a "2" means it's been at least 2 years since our last visit and the rest are recent reviews.
SAN ANTONIO WINERY
737 Lamar St, Los Angeles (just off of Main St., east of Downtown) (213) 223-1401
The only winery left in L.A., San Antonio grows the grapes up north and transports them to the winery in L.A. to produce the wine. In L.A. there is also a nice dining room with mediocre Italian food at fairly reasonable prices. The tour is very interesting and free...as are the tastes in the tasting room.
I've seen some bad reports on this place, mainly dealing with the food available, but we've always enjoyed the place. It is true that the food is mediocre (think one step above airline food) but it's the wine you come here for. The San Antonio brand is a low-priced wine usually found as the "house" wine in restaurants but their Madellena label is on par with most other California wines.
In L.A., handicapped parking is available in a lot at the north end of the building and also at the curb. The tour and all facilities are wheelchair accessible and braille literature is available.
J. FILLIPI WINERY
Located in Guasti. Take Interstate 10 east about 25 miles and exit Archibald. Turn right, the winery is on your left with a big sign marking it.
This is a great place to relax. The little town of Guasti is all but swallowed up by surrounding Ontario, but it is still a very tranquil oasis.
Free wine tasting is great, but buy a bottle & have a picnic in the small park across the driveway. Prices run $2 for their own coolers, $3.95 & up for their wines. From here you can watch the planes take off & land at busy Ontario International Airport, just across the street.
UPDATE: Contruction at Ontario Airport now blocks the view of the runway but this is still a great place for a picnic & a bottle of wine.
Handicapped parking is available right at the front door and accessible restrooms are available in the park across the driveway.
SAN ANTONIO WINERY
At the Haven exit of the 60 Freeway in Ontario, about 25 miles east of Los Angeles.
This is the Ontario branch location of the downtown L.A. winery and is much more low key with a small zoo, some vineyards, and a patio area where you can sample your purchases. There is also a mexican restaurant & produce store next door that can provide the makings of a good picnic.
In Ontario, handicapped parking is available at the front door and accessible restrooms are available inside.
MORE CUCMONGA VINTERS TO COME, STAY TUNED!
is home to over a dozen wineries. All offer tasting & tours, though some do charge a token fee. Click on the link for more complete information on the area of Temecula. Below are a listing of the Temecula wineries and our impressions of them.
To get to Temecula, Take the 10 (San Bernadino) or the 60 (Pomona) freeway east from Los Angeles to Interstate 15. Take Interstate 15 south from Ontario to Rancho California Road and go east 4 miles. It's about 1.5 hours from Los Angeles.
Baily Vineyard & Winery - 2. Located on a hilltop overlooking the scenic Temecula Valley Wine Country, Baily offers tasting for a nominal charge and also serves fine food in their restaurant. The Chardonnay & White Zinfandel is good here, their reds a bit muddy tasting. Prices are a bit high.
Baily is located at 33833 Rancho California Road and is open daily 10-5.
Filsinger Vineyard & Winery - ?. Filsinger is located in the back valley of Temecula at 39050 De Portola Road. Take Rancho California Road to Glenoaks Road and turn right. Turn right again at De Portola Road. There is a $1.00 charge for tasting. Tasting room is open weekend 10:30 - 5.
Maurice Carrie Winery. This winery is located in a large ranch-style building and offers free wine tasting. They have a very good Chardonnay plus som very good blends. We enjoyed the Cody's Crush light red blend. Like most Temecula vintners, their Cabernet was a bit muddy tasting.
Accessible facilities here include ramps at each end of the veranda, accessible restrooms adjacent to the playground, and 4 handicapped spots in the parking lot.
Temecula Crest Winery - ?. Temecula Crest is located across the street from Maurice Carrie at 40620 Calle Contento (at Rancho California Road). Open daily 10 -5.
Calloway Vineyard & Winery - ?. This is Temecula's largest winery. This winery, in a factory like setting, is open daily 10:30 - 5. A $3.00 tasting charge includes a souvenir logo wine glass. 32720 Rancho California Road.
Hart Winery - 2. Hart is the first winery you'll come across as you leave Temecula via Rancho California Road. Small, relaxed, unpretentious, Hart makes some very good reasonable wines. A rarity in Temecula, they also have some superb reds. Located atop a small hill, Hart has a superb picnic area surrounded by shade trees.
Hart is located at 41300 Rancho California Road and is open daily 9-4:30. There is a $2.00 tasting fee.
Hart has a roomy lot, though without any reserved spots (it's dirt). A ramp provides access to the tasting room & winery.
Mount Palomar Winery - ?. Open daily 10 - 5. Located at 33820 Rancho California Road.
Thornton Winery - 2. Coming into wine country, this will be the first winery on the right. Located in a spectacular estate-like setting with waterfalls & a superb restaurant. Tasting is charged by the glass. Thornton specializes in sparkling wines, which are quite good and on the expensive side. This is a very nice place for a good, sit-down lunch and to relax before or after visiting the rest of the wine country.
Thornton has a large parking lot with several handicapped spots. Ramps abound and all restrooms are accessible.
Cilurzo Vineyard & Winery. This is the one that started it all. Temecula's oldest winery. Not an especially pretty setting, but it is just off of a hilltop with a couple of peafowl running around. Very relaxed & unpretentious with some good quality, low priced wines. The reserve Cabernet Blanc and the Cabernet (red) didn't do anything for us. They did have a good Chardonay (Temecula seems to excel in this variety) and a very tasty noveau Petite Serah. There was also a good light red blend called Vincheno. Both the Petite Serah and the Vincheno were on sale that day for $4.95 making it an even better deal. There is a $1.00 tasting fee that is refunded with wine purchase. Located at 41220 Calle Contento at Rancho California Road. Open daily 9:30 - 5.
No reserved spots in the lot but there is plenty of room in the north parking lot (the south side only holds 2 or 3 cars). The lot is dirt. Ground level entrance with a 1" threshold that's a bit bumpy but not impossible. Accessible restrooms.
Keyways Vineyard & Winery. Our favorite Temecula winery. Not only do they make superb wines here, including the dreaded Temecula reds, but the owner has a first class collection of whimsical antiques. The Reisling here is among the best we've had. Carl Key is the affable owner who is more at home chatting with the customers than (his words, not mine) "BS'ing the customers" at the tasting bar. On our last visit though, he did hint that he was thinking of selling out. We hope he sticks with it because this is not only a very good winery but a very comfortable place to visit.
Keyways is the other winery located in Temecula's "back" valley on De Portola Road. Follow Rancho California Road through wine country to Glen Oaks. Turn right to De Portola and turn right again to 37388 De Portola Road. Open daily 10 - 5 with a $1.00 tasting charge.
No reserved spots in the lot but there is plenty of room. The lot is dirt. There is a large threshold bump. The winery can put up a portable ramp for you upon request. Accessible restrooms.
Santa Margarita Winery - ?. Open weekends 11 - 4:30. Comlimentary tasting. Specializes in aged Cabernet Sauvignon wines. Located at 33490 Madera de Playa. Take Rancho California Road to Calle Contento and turn right to Madera de Playa and then turn left.
Van Roekel Vineyards & Winery - ?. Open daily 10 - 5. Located at 34567 Rancho California Road. Temecula's newest winery also has a full service deli.
WINE PICK OF THE MONTH
Finally, a good white wine we can recommend to our fellow wine lovers. Again, we travel outside of California's fine wine regions to bring you this month's selection. This time up to Washington's Columbia Valley.
Hogue Cellars Chenin Blanc goes extremely well with hot-weather food such as an outdoor barbeque. This is a delightful, refreshing, wine without a lot of the sweetness some chenin blancs can have. Served cold it will really hit the spot on those hot summer days ahead.
You should be able to find this wine readily at $6-10.
Try this link to the Wine of the Month Club. We're featuring this link because of their brand-new wine shop in Monrovia. If you're in the area, it's at 116 W. Lime Ave., just west of Myrtle Avenue in Old Town Monrovia. This shop will definitely be on the map of wine landmarks in Southern California. Grand Opening is June 18th, 1998 (and no...we were not paid to say this, we just enjoy the shop).