When the folks at the Temecula Convention and Visitors bureau scheduled this year’s media day, they hit the jackpot with the weather. The sun was shining and highs were in the mid 80s. We gathered at the Temecula Civic Center and set out for an Old Town stroll. Our first stop was at the Temecula Olive Oil Company, where Catherine Pepe was on hand to greet us, share the history of her business and let us taste her wares. The business started off as a crazy dream in 2001 that quickly became reality. From their first property in Aguanga that they put liberal amounts of sweat equity into, they now have four retail locations and her business partner Thom Curry is a certified master taster and is on the board of the California Olive Oil Council’s Taste Panel. They harvest 125 acres throughout Southern California, and their products can be found in Downtown Disney and are used at the Cleveland Clinic by co-founder Dr. Michael Roizen and Dr. Mehmet Oz.
We continued our stroll through Old Town and stepped into Pennypickle’s Workshop. I have passed by this place dozens of time, but hadn’t set foot inside until now. I consider myself a 60-year-old child and I felt right at home here. The mind of Phineas T. Pennypickle is a wondrous place indeed, and kids of all ages will have plenty to see and explore here. It’s won many awards including Best Museum and Best Kids’ Party Place from Nickleodeon’s Parents’ Picks Awards. It deserves all the accolades it receives. We walked around the corner and ducked inside the Temecula Lavender Company. The smell when you walk in the door is intoxicating. Every nook and cranny is filled with all things lavender; soaps, lotions, sachet and they even had a little tincture for a small scrape I had suffered.
Since the little kid in all of us was already out and about, wasn’t it fitting that our next two stops were for sweets and root beer?! Next stop, the Old Town Sweet Shop where we lapped up creamy ice cream and homemade candies. At the Old Town Root Beer Company, we marveled at the shelves filled with not only hundreds of different root beers, but other sodas as well. Our collective sweet toothed sated, we walked beck to the Temecula Civic Center where nearly 30 wineries, restaurants and local businesses were on hand to wine and dine us and introduce themselves to us.
We hopped aboard a Sunset Limousine bus and took off for Bulldog Brewery, a newcomer to Temecula’s blossoming micro-brew population. Their beers are all named with a tip of the cap to canines, Shih-Tzu Saison and Pug’s Porter for example, and we enjoyed a handful of different brews paired with some savory bites including a bacon wrapped, cheese stuffed jalapeno. From there we were off to wine country with a stop first at Doffo Winery. Marcelo and son Damian Doffo were on hand to share their exceptional wines with us as well as giving us a tour of the property and the one-of-a-kind Moto Barrel room, where dozens and dozens of motorcycles of every kind share space with wine barrels. We said our goodbyes, and made our way to our final destination, Callaway Winery. Temecula’s oldest winery, Callaway has recently undergone a major facelift and it is gorgeous. After a tour of the winery, Denise Hanner Sutterfield took us into a private tasting room with sweeping views of the vineyards. We enjoyed Callaway’s offerings and ended our day on just the right note.