Faulkner Winery - A Fun and Romantic Activity While Visiting Southern California
Oh so many places to choose
When it comes to finding something to do in the state of California, you may actually find yourself more overwhelmed by how much there is to do, rather than moping because there is nothing to do. California tourism is big. Yet, even though there are tourists everywhere, when you live in the area, there might be a few gems easily overseen.
My husband and I were celebrating our 12th anniversary and we wanted to do something unique. We have been to Disneyland a thousand times and we have season passes to Seaworld. After living here, theme parks seem to become the ordinary and believe it or not, they can get redundant if you visit them regularly. So we began the search for something different, something unique, and something romantic. After all, we were celebrating 12 years of wedded bliss.
Floating over wine country
We live pretty close to Temecula, which is a small but significant wine production center in southern California. This area is less known when compared to other higher production winery districts such as Napa Valley, which is located in northern California, but Temecula is a great option for wine tasting in southern California. For us, it is close to home. According to the California Winery Advisor, there are about 40 wineries throughout the Temecula area. Often times these places offer a venue for weddings or just overnight accomidations.
There are also several activities in wine country that don't revolve around drinking wine, such as festivals and hot air balloon rides. On our 10th anniversary, we actually took a Hot Air Balloon ride over the vineyards at sunrise. It was amazing. So, two years later, wine tasting seemed only appropriate.
A beautiful view
A little bit of jazz...
A grape escape...
When looking for a winery to visit, the list seemed to be endless, however, we finally found one that offered a great deal and some free entertainment. When comparing the different wineries, you have to find something that sets one apart from the other. This is why the Faulkner Winery stood out.
In the world of wine, Faulkner Winery is a baby, only opening in July of 2000. However, with a passion for wine, the winery has been going strong ever since. The Pinnacle Restaurant is available for a bite to eat and offers a great view of the valley below. The prices are reasonable for this type of restaurant and the food is delicious.
Inside the winery, you can enjoy wine tasting in the tasting room and during the summer months, they even offer a free Jazz concert on Sundays. This concert doesn't require any reservations, and the music is provided by a local favorite, Jason Weber, who has played throughout the San Diego and Orange County areas. Often times this concert is done outside in the lawn area next to the tasting room from noon until 3 p.m.
With some good wine and jazz playing in the background, you truly can't ask for a better atmosphere.
Wine tasting this way!
How To Taste Wine
My husband and I have never done wine tasting before. We have drank plenty of wine in our lifetime, but the actual art of wine tasting has left me in the dark. So naturally, I had to ask lots of questions. After all, everybody wants to make sure they get their money's worth when they go out for a romantic afternoon.
As I was doing research I found each winery had what was called a tasting card. The average price for a tasting card varies, but not all tasting cards are equal. A cheaper tasting card may include less drinks while a more pricey tasting card may include additional benefits. From there, it is going to depend on what you are looking for and what your budget is. This is also a great time to see if the winery offers coupons.
When we choose the Faulkner Winery, part of it was because of the coupon. The "Buy One Get One" tasting card made this winery the best deal I found. The classic tasting was 6 tastes for $10. For $15, you got 7 tastes (the final taste was Sangria - a summer specail) and you also received a complimentary glass to take home and a coupon for $5 off a bottle of wine purchase. Since we had the 2 for 1 coupon, the higher of the prices was the better deal for us, not only because we got more tastes but because we got a souvenir as well.
Just a taste
Sniff - Swirl - Sip
I am by no means a wine snob.... So when it comes to tasting wine, I have no comparison. I am just as fond of a $5 bottle of wine picked up at the local grocery store.
I don't know what it means when people talk clarity, and if they have a hint of peach in there, I probably couldn't tell you... unless of course it was written in the description. So naturally, I had to ask what this "Sniff, swirl, and taste" thing was when it came to wine tasting.
Between my husband and I, we had 14 tastes. This was ideal because it allowed us to try just about every single wine on the list. So, with our noses ready, our wrist prepped for swirling and our taste buds in tune, we were ready for our wine tasting experience to begin.
As many people already know, our sense of smell directly effects how we taste things. (To this day it still confuses me as to how people actually eat Sauerkraut!) If you have a head cold, it throws off your taste buds; when people quit smoking, they often talk about how much better things taste. Just test yourself. Close your eyes, smell one thing and then taste something completely different. What happens? Now notice how when you close your eyes how it intensifies the smell. This is the concept behind why you sniff wine before you taste - it helps you to take in all the flavors better.
So now we go on to swirling the wine in the glass. I always thought this was just to look sophisticated, (Which you can also do by extending your pinky up while you drink!) but I was wrong. According to Wine Etiquette, "swirling releases the esters, ethers, and aldehydes that combine with oxygen to yield the bouquet of the wine." Ok - for those of us who aren't professional wine tasters, this basically means that it aerates the wine, not only giving it a better smell, but a better taste as well.
Alright, now is the time we have all been waiting for - the taste. Now remember to sip your wine. This will allow you to really indulge in the taste. After all, this isn't like downing a glass of water where you just drink and swallow. To taste the wine is to really concentrate on how the taste buds react to what you put in your mouth. It is time to decipher whether or not you taste sweet, sour or bitter. Maybe once you have had enough you will be able to figure out what different flavors were used to make the wine. And naturally, after you have tasted your wine, it is time to sit back and savor it. this will help you get a good impression of the wine.
Most importantly, whether you are a pro at wine tasting or someone like my husband and I just out for a different experience, it doesn't matter how much you know. Try the wine and decide whether or not you enjoyed it. Every person is going to have different tastes. Some may prefer white wine, others may prefer a dry wine, and some may prefer the reds. Wine tasting is all about the experience, and what you like, someone else may not. So take a sip and enjoy yourself.
Want more Information....
If you are looking for more information on Faulkner Winery, feel free to click here for directions, hours and coupons. In addition, they also have information on their wine club. So, if you live in southern California or you are planning a vacation here, don't forget to add wine tasting to the list of activities. Faulkner Winery is sure to please.
As a first time wine taster, Faulkner Winery was a great choice. The staff at Faulkner Winery were friendly and helped us through the entire experience. They even explained the purpose of the "Sniff, Swirl and Sip" and recommended we start with the white wines and move to the red ones as we progressed through our tastes.
We enjoyed our Sunday afternoon at the winery and plan on returning again in the future. We had a great time listening to the Jazz concert, but would like to return to take advantage of the tours through the vineyard, which weren't offered the day we went because of the jazz concert.
The atmosphere was great. Not only where the staff friendly, but the people who were there all seemed to be laid back and relaxed. (Who knows, maybe that is the effect of the wine!)
Yet there is one thing for sure - Neither my husband or I "wined" about having a relaxing afternoon together!
A romantic afternoon
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