Although Warner Springs is less than 45 minutes away, in six years of living in the area I had never ventured out there before last week. I’m so glad I decided to take the drive. I went out in search of La Serenissima at John Tiso Vineyards and found Shadow Mountain instead. It’s a charming winery run by Alex and Pamela McGeary, who purchased the property in 1990. Gus and Helen Mase planted the first vines almost sixty years ago. The winery burned down in a forest fire in 1995 and was re-opened in its present facility in 1995.
Pamela was behind the counter and I did some tasting with her. I told her I was looking for Tiso Vineyards and she informed me they were open by appointment only, but that her husband Alex was the winemaker there and he would put me in touch with Tony Tiso. Pamela poured some unique wines for me, including a dry (0 residual sugar) Muscat and an â€˜05 Carignane. She explained their elevation of 3200 feet gives them cooler nights and a later harvest.Their wine club is called Out In The Middle of Nowhere, an apt description. Shadow Mountain is very peaceful and relaxed. I look forward to coming back and having a picnic lunch there.
The following day I came back to meet with Tony Tiso (La Serenissima – The Most Serene) and then paid a visit to Hawk Watch, on Chihuahua Road just off Highway 79.
Laura and I had a lovely visit with owners Mike and Lisa Schnell, who work weekdays in the Temecula area and then come out to man the tasting room on the weekends. They offer some tasty reds, primarily Syrah and Zinfandel with a big blend of the two called Synthesis. We took home a bottle of the Dry Orange Muscat. It’s wonderful to meet people who love what they do. I loved the fact that they have a big telescope just outside the tasting room. We’ll return, for sure.