Wine Country
Temecula hotels undergo major renovations
Visitors to the Temecula Valley will find big  1improvements to local hotels and wine tasting venues.

The Temecula Creek Inn has spent more than $2.5 million on its classic wine-country inn, while the popular Penchanga Resort and Casino has completed a multi-million-dollar renovation that has improved three restaurants and its lobby area.

Not to be outdone, the Hampton Inn completely updated its 98 rooms in preparation for the 2014 visitor season.

Over at the Oak Mountain Winery, they've put in a subterranean cave where you will find a private tasting room with a subterranean wine cellar, barrel storage and a banquet room.

Robert Renzoni Vineyards now has an on-site Italian trattoria.

The Temecula Valley has an impressive list of wineries and is becoming one of California's most popular wine-producing regions. It's between San Diego and Los Angeles, and boasts an inland balmy climate making it ideal to visit year-round.

There are more than three dozen wineries in Temecula and, surprisingly, the city has grown to more than 100,000 in population. Several major wineries have built tasting rooms and opened restaurants, and there is a wide selection of inns and other accommodations built in locations near the wineries. The area also has a number of smaller wineries -- many of them family run -- for an experience quite different from the more corporate Napa Valley, for example.

One of the best times to visit is during barrel tasting, which occurs in the spring and fall of each year. During these events, special areas are designated in the winery tasting rooms to offer special foods. During these festive occasions, visitors can travel from one winery to another enjoying food and wine at each stop.

During Barrel Tasting Weekend, visitors can pay one flat price to take a special wine glass from winery to winery where they also will feast on good things to eat.

The wineries might offer everything from brisket of beef to sausage and peppers to arugula salad -- every year, and every winery is different. You'll also be able to chat with the winemakers in many of the wineries as you take your personalized tour.

Many visitors to Temecula come from Los Angeles and from San Diego, since the valley is located right between the two cities. The wineries and restaurants are a big draw, but Pechanga also brings in visitors who can see top-name entertainment in an intimate theater setting.

The Temecula area also boasts seven champtionship golf courses and anglers will find lakes for fishing. Also be sure and check out the Temecula Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau site for more information on the annual hot air balloon festival. Visitors, in fact, can take hot air balloon rides over the gorgeous Temecula Valley scenery any time of the year.
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