It’s Winery Wednesday

There are no words to describe the breathtaking experience we shared with awesome friends on this special day in October, Handsome and I were on cloud nine!  And, it all happened at…

QuintessaQuintessa sign

  As soon as we arrived at the stone facade winery, we could sense there was a magical feeling in the air.  It was harvest time!  There was an excitement we had not noticed at any of the other wineries we visited over the past few months.   When we were walking up to the main entrance, Handsome and I notice part of the wine making process was happening.  We went over to take a peek.Quintessa harvest

Once the group of 20 of us had all arrived for our afternoon of festivities, we were taken on a short hike to the highest point of the Quintessa property.  Under a shady tree, we were told all about the property.  The views were spectacular from that spot.

Quintessa view from hill

And my favorite view, the view of the lake.  I could sit here all day with Handsome and our friends enjoying a glass of Quintessa, Cabernet Sauvignon.

Quintessa view of lake

From this beautiful spot we walked back down the hill into the private wine tasting room where we met Charles Thomas, Director of Vineyards and Winemaking.

Quintessa master wine maker Charles Thomas

It was such a special treat for us to have Charles take time to speak to our group about the wine making process.

We felt privileged to be able to taste the tank samples.  They were very tasty.

Quintessa tank samples

I can only imagine how delicious the final products will be.  Quintessa wine tasting redAfter about an hour of sampling the tank wines, we headed with Charles to our final destination, our Harvest lunch, by way of a jeep ride.

Over the bridge to the private island.

Quintessa bridge

The area could not have been more beautiful!  With the lush landscaping and the wonderful company.

Quintessa lunch spot

The table was set so lovely.Quintessa lunch table

The place setting.

Quintessa place setting

The menu.

Quintessa harvest lunch menu

The scrumptious lunch!

Quintessa lunch

Handsome and I are so grateful to have been asked to be a part of this members only, harvest lunch. P&B we thank you from the bottom of our hearts!  What a experience!


Rutherford, Napa Valley, California

Call 707.286.2730 to request an appointment for your privately hosted wine tasting experience.

With harvest in full swing, I managed to find a few grapes on the vine at Quintessa.

Quintessa grapes

If you would like to see the step by step wine making process, I found this wonderful site www.wineanorak.com

Cougar Vineyard & Winery

It’s Winery Wednesday!

This was the most friendly and my personal favorite winery in Temecula Valley.

Cougar Vineyard and Winery

Cougar Vineyard & Winery

There are so many reasons I love this winery.  They were friendly upon walking in the door, I felt like I was home with family.  Their wine is 100% Estate Italian Varietals.

Cougar poured white wine

They are very generous with their pouring of wine.  If you print this page off their web site, you will receive 50% off their regular Monday through Friday wine tasting fee.

Cougar dining area

Cougar Vineyard is one of the only wineries in Temecula Valley that has a deli located inside the tasting room.  On any given day you will see winemakers from other local wineries enjoying lunch in the relaxed atmosphere at Cougar.

Cougar adirondack chairs

If Handsome and I lived close by, one of these adirondack would have my name on it.  I love the view from these chairs.  Handsome and I enjoyed a glass of wine overlooking Temecula Valley.

Cougar outdoor view

Enjoy one of the many picnic tables located on the property.

Cougar grapes in process

Handsome and I were invited into the heart of the Cougar operation, where all the magic happens.

Cougar botteling area

It was so very interesting to see the wine being bottled.

Cougar volunteers botteling wine

The benefit of a boutique family owned winery is the close personal relationships with their wine club members.  As a member, you have the opportunity to volunteer to bottle and pack up the wine.  It was such a fun atmosphere, I felt privileged to be a part of it, if but only for a moment.

Cougar stacked barrels

You also have the opportunity to purchase a wine barrel, your name is put on the barrel.  Cougar uses it for the duration of the wine making process and then the barrel is given to you when they are done.  I love this idea!

Cougar cork

Cougar Vineyard and Winery

39870 De Portola Road, Temecula, CA 92592

Phone # 951.491.0825

Doffo Vineyards

It’s Winery Wednesday!

Todays winery is located on the Northeast border of Temecula Valley.

Doffo Vineyards

Doffo Vineyard barrel sign

Doffo Vineyards is not like any other winery Handsome and I have ever visited.  It is a uniquely charming boutique family owned winery.  The winery is built around the former site of a historic schoolhouse.  The original school, know as the The Hyatt school was build in 1898.  The Doffo family took tireless efforts to restore the old schoolhouse, but sadly, due to the extensive damage over the years it was not able to be restored.  The old schoolhouse will forever remain alive in the Doffo Logo.

The wine tasting room.

Doffo tasting area

There is a lovely covered outdoor area to enjoy a glass of wine.

Doffo outdoor seating

Not only is Doffo known for its micro-boutique wines, but also for its extensive vintage motorcycle collection.  Even visitors who do not like motorcycles are impressed with the Doffo family collection of over 100 motorcycles.  Make sure you visit the Moto Barrel Room and take a peak.

Doffo moto barrel room

When Marcello Doffo was young, he fell in love with racing and before he knew it he found himself collecting rare and unique motorcycles.  Today he still races and is still collecting.  Below are just a few of his motorcycles.

Doffo barrels and motorcycles

And now for the vintage motorcycles in the barrel room.  There are motorcycles lining the top of the walls all the way around the room.  I love the collection of Vespa’s and scooter type bikes.

Doffo inside garage

Doffo motorbikes

While Handsome and I were looking at all the motorcycles, there was a gentleman also looking who was in total awe of these bikes.  He kept pointing at different ones and gasping at how he could not believe they had so many rare and expensive motorcycles.

Doffo Vineyards is like no other winery!  Where else would you see one of these old fashioned bikes amongst wine barrels?

Doffo wine barrel

Doffo Vineyards

36083 Summitville, Temecula, California 92592

Phone Number ~ 866.4myvino

Keyways Vineyard Winery

It’s Winery Wednesday!

Today’s Winery is located in Temcecula, California

Keyways Vineyard Winery

Keyways Winery Entrance

If you are looking for a winery that has a social calendar that would rival any socialite, and great tasting wines to boot.  Then this is the winery for you.

I enjoyed that this winery was a tad off the beaten path.  There were no larges busses taking up tons of parking spaces and there are not hordes of people. The staff is friendly and is able to really speak to you one on one, letting you know all the ins and outs of their particular wines and about the stunning winery itself.

The wine tasting area at Keyways is beautiful (my picture does not do it justice).  The bar top is made of onyx.  It has a charming early California style decor.

Keyways tasting bar

The casual seating area is perfect to relax and enjoy a glass of wine. If you book ahead you can have a wine tasting in their private wine room.

Keyways lounge area

The gazebo area is the perfect place to enjoy a sunny afternoon catching up with friends or making new ones.Keyways winery gazaboI want to have a dinner party beyond the trellis in front of the fountain among the vineyard.  Isn’t it beautiful?

Keyways fountain

One of my favorite things I saw was the poster for the yoga class held at the winery on Saturday mornings.  Who wouldn’t show up for yoga class knowing there would be a mimosa waiting for you at the end of class?  Now that’s a brilliant idea!

Keyways yoga saturdays

Take a look at the Event Calendar where there is always something happening!

Keyways vineyard corks

Keyways Vineyard Winery

37338 De Portola Road, Temecula, CA 92592

Phone Number ~ 1-877-KEYWAYS


Robert Renzoni Vineyards

It’s Winery Wednesday!

Today’s winery is…

Robert Renzoni Vineyards

Robert Renzoni

Would you like to be transported to Italy without the long plane ride?  From the moment Handsome and I drove onto the 12 acre estate of the Robert Renzoni Vineyard, somehow we were no longer in Temecula, California, but on the picturesque grounds of a spectacular winery in Italy.

Take the lovely walk under the beautiful trellis entwined with Wisteria vines welcoming you to the Tuscan Estate where you will be greeted by a lovely fountain.

Robert Renzoni fountain

When you walk in to the entrance of the recently completed Tuscan Villa tasting room you immediately feel like you are among friends.  It’s comfortable and relax atmosphere makes you want to stay all day.

Robert Renzoni tasting room

This is truly a winery you can hang out all day, a little bocce ball game at the court, perhaps?

Robert Renzoni Bocce Ball Court

Or just enjoy a glass or two of wine under one of the trellis gazing out at the spectacular view.

Robert Renzoni trellis

Don’t forget to take a short walk up the hill directly behind the tasting room for a breathtaking view of Temecula Valley.  During harvest time you can even sample the grapes in this area, with permission of course.  Check with the staff or the Robert Renzoni website for all the activities happening all year long.

Robert Renzoni fountain in vineyard

The Renzoni Crest dates back to the 16th Century, to find out more about this crest and the wonderful family it belongs to click here.

Robert Renzoni crest

Robert Renzoni Vineyards & Winery

A Family Tradition Since 1886

37350 De Portola Road, Temecula, California, 92592


Until Next time…

Robert Renzoni Grazie

Miramonte Winery

It’s Winery Wednesday!

Todays winery is located in the Southern California wine county of Temecula Valley.

Miramonte Winery

Miramonte Winery

This impressive boutique winery is located high upon a hilltop.

As soon as we walked outside of the winery, we were greeted by Mojo.  Mojo is Miramonte’s young Labradoodle.  Mojo hung out with us while Handsome and I toured the stunning grounds.  Miramonte is 100% dog friendly.

Miramonte dog Mojo

The garden area is the perfect place to relax with a glass of wine.  Mojo was showing us the perfect spot to sit and enjoy the grounds, I think she knew some secret spots.

Miramonte garden area

The veranda seating area is the prime place to catch the sunset and then stay around for their live music/wine events every Friday and Saturday night from 7-10 PM.  Check here for a calendar of events.

Miramonte outdoor seating area

Although the winery does not allow you to bring your own food on the premises, they do offer chef prepared appetizers for purchase on the weekend.Miramonte views

I loved the relaxing feel of this winery.

Miramonte Winery

33410 Rancho California Road, Temecula, CA 92591

             Phone Number ~ (951) 506-5500

Callaway Vineyard & Winery

It’s Winery Wednesday!

Today, we are back in Temecula Valley wine country to visit…

Callaway Vineyard and Winery 

Callaway vineyard and winery

With all the wineries Handsome and I have visited lately, up and down the California Coast, Callaway was the first winery we have seen with these self-serve wine dispensers.  We were told by employees that sometimes it get very busy when buses of wine tours come to visit, so they made the decision to put in these self serve machines to elevate the wait.  When you walk in, you buy a token and when you want a tasting you just put your token in the machine with the wine you would like to try.

Callaway self serve wine machines

They also have a wine tasting bar with an outstanding view of the valley.  Their Bordeaux blend was one of my favorites Reds on this trip through Temecula’s wineries.

Their wine tasting staff is extremely friendly and knowledgeable about the wines and the Callaway legacy.  Did you know in 1969 the first of Callaway’s vines were planted in Temecula?  And, Callaway Winery and the famous golf club “Big Bertha” by Callaway, the number one golf company in the world were both the brain child of Ely Callaway.

Right beyond the tasting area was this glass enclosed dining room.  The view from this room was spectacular.  I would love to have an occasion to have a dinner party here.  The picture does not do this room justice!

Callaway private dining room

At the entrance of the winery there is a gift shop (like most wineries).  This gift shop had unique items many of which I wanted to purchase!

Callaway black bottle wine

There are many places to sit outside and enjoy the panoramic view but, my favorite place on the property was a tucked away patio area covered by my favorite vine, the Passiflora also know as the Passion Vine.  It received it’s name due to the numbers of it’s various flower parts, Spanish missionaries adopted this unique flower as a symbol of the last days of Jesus, especially his crucifixion (you didn’t know you were going to get a history lesson today, did you?).  For more info about this beautiful flower click here.

Callaway passion vine

Callaway Vineyard and Winery

32720 Rancho California Road, Temecula, CA 92591 951.676.4001

Europa Village

It’s Winery Wednesday!

Today, we are visiting a winery in the Southern California wine area of Temecula.

Europa Village

Europa Village Sign

It was almost two years ago to the day, Handsome and I arrived here in the wee hours of the morning, it was still pitch black outside.  We were meeting our pilot to soar over Temecula in a hot air balloon, and Europa Village was the beginning of our extraordinary day drifting above the clouds.  It was nice to be going back to do some wine tasting this time.

Europa Village tasting area

The wine tasting room has one of the smaller bar areas we encountered throughout our wine tasting tour. There are many delightful gift items to browse through and purchase in the tasting room.  One of the staff members told us that in the near future there are plans to expand the tasting room.  We really enjoyed the cozy atmosphere of the wine tasting area.

Europa Village wine

The staff are friendly, knowledgeable and happy to discuss the European-style varietal grapes that are planted across their 30 + acres of land.

Europa Village grounds

There is several outdoor seating areas amidst the lovely gardens.  When you sit under the covered patio area, the lower part of the vineyard is right next to you.  It is easy to lose track of time and where you are in this beautiful location.

Europa Village glass

I love receiving this wine glass as a memento from our wine tasting.  Whenever I drink out of it now, I immediately go back to the wonderful times Handsome and I have shared at Europa Village.

Europa Village grapes

I am always amazed looking at grapes on the vine, then thinking of the long processes winemakers endure while producing that beautiful glass of wine.

Europa Village Arch

The entrance into Europa Village gardens and wine tasting area.

Europa Village

33475 La Serena Way, Temecula, CA 92591



St. Supery

It’s Winery Wednesday

Today’s winery brings us to the charming Napa Valley city of Rutherford.

St. Supery Estate Vineyards & Winery

St. Supery wines

St. Supery wines ELU wines (

I loved going to St. Supery, it’s newly renovated tasting room is bright and hip.  You know you are not at tasting room just like the one you just left 10 minutes ago.  It has a young feel to it, from the moment you walk in the door.  A beautiful piece of bright orange art greets you at the entrance.

St. Supery entrance art

As you stroll up to the tasting counter you have already been greeted by several of the staff who are friendly and welcoming. They are excited to share their love of wines with you.

St. Supery wine tasting area

They also have gift items that I could not resist buying, like this jam.

St. Supery jams

One of my favorite places in the tasting room was the back room area.  It was a little more private and displayed bottles and bottles of their delicious wine.  I love that all their wines are estate grown, produced and bottled on site at this family winery.

St. Supery wines roomOne of my favorite photos I photographed is this black and white I took of the back wine tasting room.

St. Supery wines black and whiteTheir outdoor seating at the entrance to their tasting room made me feel like I was sitting in a French cafe.

St. Supery outdoor

I love this wall of greenery. It totally transports you to another place in time.  The colors were changing on the leaves…it is stunning.

St. Supery entrance


St. Supery Estate Vineyards & Winery

8440 St. Helena highway, Rutherford, CA 94573



Lemon Scones

Lemon scones on a plate

The very first time I tried a scone, I was living in England.  I was staying at a bed & breakfast, I ended up staying so long the owners used me as their live in babysitter from time to time.  Their home is also the first place I ever encountered a ghost (I will have to tell you about that at another time).

Back to the lemon scones…

 On the weekends, when most of their guests stayed (other than the British football team that was living there, as well (again, a story for another time) the lady of the house would make fresh baked scones for all her guests to enjoy.  The scones were a bit more cake-like than the other scones I have ever tasted since. After a few weeks, I also started helping her in the kitchen.  I had my own motive, I wanted that recipe.  She was happy to pass it along to me In exchange for my help in the kitchen.

Sadly, I never did get that recipe, and I have searched for a more cake-like scone, to no avail.

Here is what I have come up with…

Lemon Scones flour and butterCombine dry ingredients with the cold butter until the mixture resembles small crumbs.

Lemon Scones making batterAdd in the buttermilk.

Lemon Scones pre-oven Form dough into a disk and cut wedges about 3/4 of the way down the dough.

Lemon Scones bakedBake until golden brown.

Lemon Scones 1 piece Top with glaze.

Lemon Scones
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup refined sugar
  • 1 stick cold butter cut up into cubes
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon corse salt
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • raw sugar for sprinkling
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Place a silpat or parchment paper on a baking sheet.
  3. In a bowl combine, flour, sugar, baking power, salt and butter. Use a pastry cutter until the mixture looks like small crumbs.
  4. Add buttermilk, vanilla, slightly beaten egg, and lemon zest. Mix until just combined. Do not over mix.
  5. Turn mixture onto a floured surface and shape dough into a 6 inch flat disc. Transfer to the baking sheet.
  6. Cut wedges into the dough, making sure not to cut all the way through the dough.
  7. Sprinkle the top with the raw sugar.
  8. Bake for 35 minutes until the tops are golden brown and a tooth pick poked in the center comes out clean.
  9. Cool completely on a wire rack.
  10. FOR GLAZE:
  11. Combine powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk until smooth.
  12. Drizzle over scones.