A relative newcomer to the area, the Falkner Winery (40620 Calle Contento, 951/676-8231, www.falknerwinery.com, daily 10 a.m.–5 p.m., $8) fits perfectly into the casual elegance of the Temecula Valley. The elegant half-circular main building houses the tasting room, gift shop, and a Mediterranean lunch-only restaurant, Pinnacles.
Inside the tasting room, sip from a wide range of wines; Falkner takes particular pride in some different styles from the average California vintner. Here, be sure to try at least two or three of the wonderful blended reds — made in the traditions of Tuscany and Bordeaux.
For wine drinkers who like a little sweet with their savory, Falkner offers a number of not-quite-dry wines that are not as syrupy as a standard dessert wine. For added fun, take a tour of the winery any day of the week 11 a.m.–2 p.m. for $3 per person.
© Liz Hamill Scott from Moon California, 2nd Edition