I love to travel – getting out and seeing the country and the world is definitely near the top of my priority list. When I travel, I like to see places that are off-the-beaten-path. You know, mom & pop motels and restaurants, B&B’s, small cafes, etc. Nearly everyone knows where THE California Wine country is (aka Sonoma & Napa Valley), however, there’s a lesser-known wine country just north-east of San Diego that not everybody and their brother has found yet. I’d jump at the chance to visit Temecula, though, because the quaint-ness and off-the-beaten-path-ness won’t last long!
The Oak Mountain Winery Location
It seems everybody and their brother these days are either starting a winery or their own brewery. Well, that doesn’t mean that all wine is created equal and certainly not all wineries are created equal, either.
I admit, I was a bit skeptical going to a winery in an area of California that’s not yet well-known for its wine, but Oak Mountain was a fantastic first stop.
Oak Mountain Winery has two wine tasting areas – one outside in a very large, open-air building that overlooks the valley. Their second tasting area is inside a large steel building where they have many of their caskets aging. The outside area has ample seating and there was even live music going on at the time we were there (a Saturday afternoon in July). The inside building is a bit more crowded and is standing room only.
Winery patrons come and go as the day passes by, but there was more than enough room outside to accommodate the many bachelorette parties, anniversaries and just casual wine drinkers that arrived and departed throughout the afternoon. Only while I was inside the main building did I ever feel there was a “crowd”.
The winery grounds are absolutely amazing; they really made me feel like I was in Italy with their rolling hillsides and grape vines nearly as far as the eye could see. If you want to “get away” to Europe but don’t want to hop the 10+ hour flight I highly recommend a stop at Oak Mountain.
I’ll be the first to admit that wine is still growing on me to an extent, so take this review of the wine with somewhat of a grain of salt. My wife, however, is a wine connoisseur, having worked in the hospitality industry for the majority of her adult life. She was thoroughly pleased not only with the selection of wines available but the quality as well. We visited the winery on a Groupon.com deal, so our selections were somewhat limited, but there were still more than a few choices available.
Their full wine list can be found on their site, here.
Service in general in California seems like it can be a bit hit or miss. I’ve experienced exemplary service in my travels to Northern Cali, while Southern California was a bit less friendly. It seems that Temecula is taking queues from it’s Nor-Cal winery counterparts and I have nothing but good things to say about (nearly) everyone I encountered at Oak Mountain. The one exception was a female wine-tender inside the steel building. She wasn’t too friendly and gave the impression she’d rather be elsewhere. I don’t know about you, but if I got to hang out at a winery all day, I think I’d be more chipper than she was.