California Winery of the Year


Happy Wine Wednesday!

We didn’t know it until we got there, but while we were in Temecula, we were stayed at the California Winery of the Year.

The friend who recommend visiting Temecula Wine Country also recommended that we stay at the South Coast Winery Resort and Spa. She knew that Rob proposed to me at the vineyard where we stayed in Tuscany. She had been to Tuscany as well and said, “You guys will love it because it’s the closest thing you’ll experience to Tuscany here!”

She recommended getting a villa with a vineyard view. I told her about the of the Gulf of Naples view I somehow scored for us on our honeymoon to the Amalfi Coast thanks to the Trip Advisor reviews on Hotel Il Nido. Rob took full advantage of the balcony and sat out there long after I got chilly and retired each night.

“Oh! He’ll love this, then!” She said.

The view from our private patio

The view from our private patio at South Coast Winery.

I’ve never done a review or “impression” of a hotel on this blog. Quite frankly, hotels are often an afterthought for us. Generally, we just like to find an affordable place to sleep in a safe neighborhood. However, I did a little extra research on hotels for our honeymoon. I highly recommend Trip Advisor. While you’ll find negative reviews on every place listed, you’ll find the reasons people like or dislike a hotel or restaurant and it’ll help you decide what you want for your experience.

Because we were going to wine country and celebrating ten years together, I was willing to spend a little more money than we would on a basic hotel room. And you can’t forget the location factor! South Coast Winery is located pretty much in the epicenter of all of the other vineyards you might want to visit.

We really did enjoy our stay at South Coast and we would most definitely stay again. But I thought I’d share what we liked and disliked about our stay to give you a sense of what is important to you when you are choosing a place to stay.

I was disappointed in:

  • The front desk service – It wasn’t bad. It just wasn’t personable. We were the only ones there when we checked in. All of her questions and instructions seemed robotic, not sincere. With no one else behind us, she didn’t ask what brought us to South Coast or if we were celebrating something special. Okay, that would be superior service. But I felt more valued at The Westin in Pasadena. {A new-to-me hotel chain with which I’m quite pleased!} The same gal checked us out and I felt the same way. She did ask if I would take the time to fill out a comment card/satisfaction survey, though. But I felt like it was just procedure. I wanted to, but we had to get to the airport and didn’t have the time.
  • The decor in room – I need to get over this one. It wasn’t that bad. It just felt a bit dated. I KNOW – First World Problems. I think the website portrayed a better looking room. Or maybe I was just coming down from L.A. traffic stress and wanted to be over-the-top-wowed.049
  • We went during the off season – So, this can be a pro or con and is not the resort’s fault. There didn’t seem to be anyone else staying there! The grapes were already harvested and we saw no hot-air balloons. Hey, wait a minute… If there were very few people there, why didn’t they offer to upgrade us? Maybe if they would have asked if were celebrating something…
  • They didn’t refill the coffee – We were lucky enough to have a Keurig in our room with two K-cups of regular coffee, two decaf coffees and two teas. We used the two regulars the first morning. They never refilled it. Okay, so we could have asked…
  • The bed – I woke up with a backache every morning. Since I’m prone to back issues, take that with a grain of salt. Though I was completely content with the beds in both Pasadena and Beverly Hills earlier in the trip. Maybe I was just longing for my bed at home by this point. I was also hot. I couldn’t find the right temperature/cover ratio.

But here’s what I LOVED about South Coast Winery Resort:

  • The private patio facing the vineyards outside our door – We could literally step outside and be in vineyards, even pluck a grape. We left the patio door open the first night and heard what we thought were coyotes! So cool! {We stayed in a Deluxe Vineyard King Villa.}
  • The Keurig & fridge in our room – We made coffee the first morning with the Keurig and took it out on our private patio. They didn’t refill it though. So if we wanted something the next morning, it’d have to be tea or decaf coffee. We picked some supplies up from Baron’s Marketplace to munch on for breakfast and in the evening. It was great to have the fridge for cheese, fruit and water.
  • The location – Right in the heart of Temecula Wine Country!
  • The bottle of wine in the room – Along with the room, we received a complimentary bottle of wine. I didn’t give it much of a look and we didn’t drink it while we were there. However, we have opened it at home since we’ve been back. It was a 2005 Merlot! At first we thought that maybe they put the “drink-now-wines-that-are-about-to-turn” in the rooms. But after we opened it, we learned that wasn’t the case. It was one of the better merlots I’ve had in a long time. Kudos to South Coast for not skimping on that one!
  • The spa and underwater music in the pool – I didn’t get the opportunity to try the spa, but I have at the last two California wine resorts where I’ve stayed. And I can say that it’s really nice to have a spa on site. However, one thing Rob and I truly missed out on was the pool. When a wine rep at another winery learned that we were staying at South Coast he asked, “Have you tried the pool? There is underwater music!” Damn. We forgot our suits. TIP: Just like I keep a corkscrew in my suitcase that never comes out, Rob has now vowed to keep a swimsuit in his suitcase that stays there.
  • The restaurant – We dined at the Vineyard Rose for a late breakfast the morning after our day of tasting. Again, I was disappointed with the somewhat dated decor. But the South Coast Huevos Rancheros made me giddy with happiness because they were so flavorfulThe scrambled eggs were combined with chorizo, pepperjack cheese and pico de gallo. A flour tortilla was served on the side with borracho beans, hashbrowns and a Merlot fruit cobbler that I. Could. Eat. Everyday.
  • The specials – Just for staying at the resort, we received Passport which included a two-for-one tasting, restaurant and spa specials.
  • We went during the off season – Yes, this was on my list of disappointments. However, as we know, that can be a good thing, too. I have no idea if we’d have to wait for a table or tasting if it was a busy time of year.
  • The Tasting Room – Because we went during the off season, we walked right up to the bar with our two-for-one tasting tickets. We got personalized attention from Gregg, who let us taste wines he thought we’d like side-by-side. He also led us to a great burger in town. Oh, and did you know that South Coast has won more awards on their wines than any other winery in the entire state?!
  • The Wine Club – We joined South Coast’s Wine Club! The only other one we really considered was Danza del Sol. We took our first shipment home with us and have loved all that we’ve tried. Rob keeps saying that he’s glad that we joined this one. It’s really opened our eyes up to some interesting wines. We had a Syrah that we weren’t too sure about at first. But after it had time to open it up, it kept evolving in the glass. I can’t tell you how long it’s been since I’ve had that happen! With the wine club, we get to relive our trip every time we open a bottle.
    Check out this wine menu!

    Check out this wine menu!

    What’s the most interesting place where you’ve stayed on vacation?



5 responses »

  1. I’ve never been in a pool with underwater music, how cool is that? And I love that you had your own private patio.

    Most of my vacations have been family ones where we rent a big house on a beach in the outer banks of North Carolina, and such.

    I wish we had the money to travel – someday I hope!

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