The long journey towards bringing Europa Village from concept to reality is nearing its realization. On October 13, golden shovels sent dirt flying at the official groundbreaking ceremony for Europa Village’s Prelude tasting room. While onlookers sipped Europa Village Pinot Grigio and Tempranillo, what started as a dream began to take shape. Partners Dan Stephenson and Denis Ferguson spoke of what was to come. Representatives from several area wineries, including Briar Rose, Wilson Creek and Miramonte lent their support, and Jeff Greene, chief of staff for Assemblyman Kevin Jeffries of the 66th District added his best wishes while presenting a certificate of appreciation.
Denis looks at Prelude as a screening room, if you will, a definition for the Europa Village project. The 3,400 square foot L-shaped building will feature a small French bistro at one end with an above ground “cave” at the other hosting intimate wine events. Not only will Europa Village be unlike anything else in the Temecula Valley, he says it will be unlike anything else anywhere. The goal is to replicate a time gone by when the pace of life was slower. Three boutique wineries: C’est La Vie Chateau, Bolero Cellars and Vienza will be at the heart of the village. Nuances of the old world will be evident from the gardens to the small streets where you can stroll among all three wineries. Ferguson says they want to tell a story. “If Europa Village is a book, you want to at least get them into the first couple of chapters and then have them come back for more.”
The principals believe a respect for this area and their neighbors will play a key role in their success. To that end, they are involved with a master plan for wine country. “Without respect, you don’t have success” says Ferguson. “We succeed if everyone else succeeds.” Supervisor Jeff Stone sees huge potential for the region. Ferguson notes that the Temecula Valley is one of the few regions that permits amenities other than winemaking. With that in mind the plan is to offer restaurants and events in harmony with the old world European feel Europa Village will offer. Their values in winemaking aim for consistency with age old values of European winemaking traditions. The wines will focus on varietals from the Mediterranean, Rhône, Priorat, Piedmont and Tuscany regions. Prelude will have one winemaker, while Vienza, C’est La Vie and Bolero will each have a master winemaker guiding a team.
From Prelude visitors will have the opportunity to watch Europa Village “come to life.” Although it will be isolated from the actual construction, visitors will get to watch as Europa Village begins to take shape. Prelude is slated to open in March of next year with the completion of Europa Village anticipated approximately two years from now. The aim is to have everything work in unison. The excitement among those involved with Europa Village is palpable. Growth here has been rapid, but the area is still in its infancy. “Whoever’s around Europa Village is going to have a good time.”