It surprises me how many of my friends who have lived in San Diego haven’t been to Temecula, wine country located an hour north of San Diego. It’s loaded with amazing wineries with my favorite kinds of reds: Syrah, Viognier, Cabernet Franc, Zinfandel, and Tempranillo. I love that these aren’t your typical Merlots!

Recently I was invited to Wiens Family Cellars and was blown away: not just for the wines but also the hospitality.

Rock Star Wine Tasting

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Expecting the standard stand-at-the-counter wine tasting, my friend Rose and I were delighted when Bonnie Tyler, Cellar Room Sales Manager, greeted us personally and took us to an exclusive tasting of Wiens’ reserve wines in the Cellar Room. This special tasting of limited production red wines is a perk for members of Wiens’ Winemakers Select Wine Club, though you can also get one for $40 if you are not a member.

The wines were Big Reds, my favorite, and included an amazing 2014 Reserve Barbera and a 2012 Chateau Grand Rouge. With prices starting at $30 a bottle and rising quickly to $150 a bottle, we felt fortunate just to be able to get a glass.

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The ambience was subdued, with a dozen or so tables of happy imbibers surrounded by Wiens barrels. Given that it was the week between Christmas and New Year’s, the main tasting room had been overly crowded, so it was nice to have a more mellow atmosphere.

But Wait…There’s More??

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Once we were done with the tasting, Bonnie took us through the back door the staff used to get back to the main building.

“You’re family now,” she grinned over her shoulder.

She said she had another tasting for us. I expected to be thrown into the melee of the general population, but no. She accompanied us to the Barrel Room, located at the back of the main building. This was the home of the Wine Club Member VIP tasting room. Yet another exclusive experience! We were lucky girls.

There, we sampled Dolcetto, Grenache, Sangiovese…the list went on and on. The staff was warm and conversational, and again, the atmosphere was completely lovely and comfortable.

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By the time we left, we were sated and stumbling (we went to another winery after that, but it didn’t hold a candle to Wiens).

Wine tasting is such a fun experience with friends because it spurs conversation and laughs. And when the wine is exceptional, the way it is at Wiens, it makes for a truly memorable experience.

I was given complimentary tastings at Wiens, but my enthusiasm and opinions are my own.