SDtoday City Guide Play Banner

Hit the Road: A wine and food adventure to Temecula, California

The city just north of San Diego County is brimming with fun things to do.

SD Temecula Hit the Road City Guide San Diego

The beautiful rolling hills and vineyards in Temecula alone are worth the drive.

Photo via Monica Garske + SDtoday

Table of Contents

We hope you’ve packed your appetite. This month, we’re finishing our Hit the Road series with a wine + foodie foray into Temecula, California. Our neighbor to the north is home to ~50 wineries — many with food and lodging options.

Whether you’re interested in taking a tour of Peltzer Winery, trying the comfort grub at The Goat & Vine (those breadsticks, though), or checking out the specialty food shops in Old Town Temecula, this driving-distance destination is every wine enthusiast’s and foodie’s dream.

Before you start packing your bags, here’s everything you need to know about the area and our insider recommendations.

Drive time: ~1 hour, 10 minutes from downtown San Diego, via Interstate 15
Est. population: 110,846
Avg. high in February: 68°

Wilson Creek

You can’t have wine country without Wilson Creek — and that famous Almond Champagne. | Photo via Wilson Creek Winery

🍇 Things to do — visit these wineries

Wilson Creek Winery, 35960 Rancho California Rd.
Gorgeous vistas, guided wine tastings, or just casual sipping at one of the sprawling property’s many bars make this a classic spot in Temecula Valley Wine Country.
Pro tip: Given its popularity, Wilson Creek can get pretty busy. Carve out a few hours and take it slow by having lunch at one of the on-site restaurants: Creekside Grille or Courtyard Bar + Grill.

Altisima Winery Temecula

The views from Altisima Winery. | Photo via Joe Sotomayor

Altisima Winery Temecula

Altisima Winery keeps the fun going, even on the weekdays. | Photo via Joe Sotomayor

Altisima Winery, 37440 De Portola Rd.
Newer to Temecula’s wine scene, this Spanish-inspired spot is poppin’ — even mid-week — and on the weekends, there’s live music.
Pro tip: The view is incredible; once you’ve scored a seat on the patio, the vibe is quite relaxing.

Peltzer Winery

We’ve got a grape idea: Visit Peltzer Winery. | Photo via @peltzerwinery

Peltzer Winery, 40275 Calle Contento
This 25-acre vineyard has amazing wines — from Syrah Rosé (perfect summer sip) to endless whites and reds. Take a wine tour guided by an expert educator, enjoy events like Wine Wednesday with specialty food trucks and live music, or the Food Truck Alley at Crush House Tasting Room.
Pro tip: You’ll also find craft beer on tap here. Oh, and don’t sleep on visiting in the fall and winter — Peltzer is known for its Pumpkin Farm and ice rink.

A glass of wine at Peltzer Winery in Temecula, north of San Diego County.

A wine tasting at Peltzer is a truly Temecula experience.

Photo via Monica Garske + SDtoday

Briar Rose Winery, 41720 Calle Cabrillo
This family-owned, boutique winery is as enchanting as the name suggests. Don’t miss the brand’s award-winning Talking Frog Sparkling Wine.

Callaway Vineyard & Winery, 32720 Rancho California Rd.
Founded in 1974, this was one of the first wineries to open in Temecula Valley. Enjoy a walking tour of the lush estate and learn about the winemaking process, then kick back and sip.

🍷 Psst: We know this is just a sample of the vast selection of wineries in Temecula. When you’re ready to visit, download this app — Temecula Life Wine Country Guide — for the down-low on all things happening in this region.

Havana Kitchen Temecula

Our heart is in Havana Kitchen, oh-na-na. | Photo via SDtoday

🍲 Memorable eats

Havana Kitchen, 41955 5th St.
House-roasted coffee and casual Cuban cuisine are king here. Don’t miss traditional dishes like Arroz Con Pollo (a savory sautéed chicken bowl) or the Cubano Sandwich stacked with Cuban Mojo roast pork, sliced ham, Cubano sauce, pickles and swiss — pressed to perfection.

Machado House Temecula

This plaque posted outside 1909 will give you the historical rundown of the location. | Photo via Monica Garske + SDtoday

1909 Temecula, 28656 Old Town Front St.
A solid brunch spot, go for the bennys with house-made biscuits, the Rib-Eye Hash, and a Bloody Mary. This restaurant is a tribute to the Machado Building, a historic structure rebuilt in 1909 that served as a trading post, church, and — most famously — a bar called the Long Branch Saloon.

Goat and Vine food temecula

The stone hearth bounty at The Goat & Vine. | Photo via @goatandvine

The Goat & Vine, 41923 2nd St., Ste. 102
This stone hearth kitchen specializes in rustic, scratch-made dishes — from breadsticks and pizzas, to sandwiches, salads + decadent desserts.

Small Barn Modern Bistro, 28535 Old Town Front St.
Here, the menu is all about carefully crafted, artistically plated fare inspired by wine country. This cute, modern eatery is also housed in a historic building in Old Town Temecula.


Branch out: Try an olive oil tasting. | Photo via Monica Garske + SDtoday

Mad Madeline’s Grill, 28495 Old Town Front St.
If you’re hankering for a hamburger, this local favorite is known for having the best burgers in Old Town. Try the Triple 333 featuring pork belly strips and sweet onion relish, or the towering Tractor Racer stacked with onion rings and BBQ sauce.

Swing Inn Cafe & BBQ, 28676 Old Town Front St.
Going strong since 1927, this historic spot offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and is beloved for its Texas-style craft BBQ including smoked brisket, turkey, spare ribs, pulled pork, beef ribs, and pork belly burnt ends.

Temecula Jerky

The speciality shops in Old Town Temecula offer it all. | Photo via Monica Garske + SDtoday

Old Town Temecula specialty shops, locations vary
If you’re in the mood to graze, pop into the specialty shops around Old Town Temecula and gather goodies to make your own snack board. Try these:

Old Town Temecula Matcha Place

Go inside — it’s pink + gorgeous in there. | Photo via Monica Garske + SDtoday

Our Matcha Place, 42072 5th St., Ste. 105
Come for the selection of wellness-focused matcha beverages, stay for the chic atmosphere — and treat yourself to one of the fresh-baked cookies in the display case.

SD Hit the Road Temecula San Diego

Sugarplum Zoo & Chocolates — a petting zoo and sweet treats? That’s wild.

Photo via Monica Garske + SDtoday

Sugarplum Zoo and Chocolates, 39695 Berenda Rd.
Dubbed the “world’s first chocolate shoppe and petting zoo,” this unique business offers a variety of handmade chocolates, truffles, and wine tastings. But what makes this place truly special are the cute animals who live here — cows, camels, zebras, and pigs, oh my. The kids will love it.

Inn at Churon Winery

The Inn at Churon features 24 luxe suites. | Photo via @innatchuronwinery

🏨 Toast-worthy accommodations

Inn at Churon Winery, 33233 Rancho California Rd.
This luxurious inn features 24 suites with panoramic views. The winery features wines by the flight, glass or bottle, plus live music on Saturdays. The on-site eatery, Cafe Churon, serves breakfast and lunch.

Inn at Churon Winery

One of the suites inside the Inn at Churon Winery. | Photo via Inn at Churon Winery

Churon Winery

The French-inspired tasting room at Churon Winery. | Photo via Inn at Churon Winery

South Coast Winery Resort & Spa, 34843 Rancho California Rd.
This resort features villas + suites with luxe amenities — plus direct access to the vineyards from your patio for a truly immersive wine country experience. Oh, and the tasting room — we’ll toast to it any day.

Southcoast Winery Resort

Wine, dine + stay. | Photo via @southcoastwineryresort

Ponte Vineyard Inn, 35001 Rancho California Rd.
Offering a host of accommodations and stunning views of the estate’s vineyards, TripAdvisor ranks this hotel No. 1 in Temecula. In 2016, TripAdvisor named Ponte Vineyard Inn No. 6 among its Top 10 Travelers’ Choice Hotels in the US — and No. 2 in California. The wine and dining options here are also on point. Meanwhile, the winery tasting room showcases the small-batch brand, note by note.

Ready for more road trippin’? Catch up on our other Hit the Road features: An outdoor adventure to San Clemente, California and a 40-mile getaway to Oceanside.

Check out our other Guides
Check out these brunch restaurants, cafes, and diners in San Diego, serving a variety of egg dishes, mimosas, bloody marys, and more.
We’ve gathered 26 spots to grab a great deal.
This beach city is roughly 45 minutes from downtown San Diego and is perfect for a nearby getaway.