Whoa! Is that right? Well, not exactly. Temecula became a wine producer in 1969, when Eli Calloway Jr (remember the Calloway golf club, Big Bertha?). He chose the are because of the mountains to the west which provide warm days while the proximity to the ocean provides cool evenings. Ideal for winemaking? In his opinion, yes.
Today there are over 40 wineries in the area which sits just above the 30th parallel. Vitis Vinifera grapes which only thrive between the two 30° and 45º latitudes with a big void in between. If you follow the 30th parallel from Temecula, which is just north of San Diego you would wind up in Morocco and Algeria – not particularly known for wine quality.
That is not to say they can’t produce decent wines but not world class ones. In her first edition of The Wine Bible, Karen MacNeil omitted Temecula. Over the years since it was published in 2001, bear in mind the acknowledgements are huge which is why it took about ten years to produce. Several people noted in Amazon reviews that she should have included it. However, when the second edition was published in 2016, there was still no mention of it, despite the forty or so wineries there.
There is a resort hotel and so it has become a destination of sorts for Southern California. This did not go unnoticed by the Chinese, who seeing the popularity of Napa and Sonoma, decided that Los Angeles and Orange counties needed another destination besides Disneyland.
The developer is David Liu, an American who came here from China and made millions as a real estate developer and has tapped wealthy Chinese investors for the project. Originally the area was going to become tract homes but Liu decided otherwise and purchased the 700 acres of barren land in Riverside County. He is building a huge Marriott-branded hotel, a winery, event space, and some multi-million dollar homes. It will be called Twelve Oaks…gee, if he had played his cards right he might have instead had a bit ‘T’ on it…they’re everywhere you know…
TB would like to say he researched all this but instead he read it in his local paper last Sunday. Here is the link: Chinese Pour Their Focus on California
TB is not berating the developer or the wines but doesn’t believe the future of wine is in Temecula…but he does wish Mr. Liu well in his endeavor. Hey, if Two-Buck Chuck can be a success…
Sorry it took so long to put this one out…will try to get back on schedule again.