Here’s a Toast to a Cheap Day Trip in Southern California! Try Discount Wine Tasting in Temecula
Temecula’s wine country is a great day trip from San Diego, Orange County, Palm Springs and Los Angeles. When I first went to Temecula back in the mid-1990s there were about 15 wineries offering tastings for about $5 and sometimes even free. Times have changed! Now there are more than 40 wineries and tasting prices are usually $15-20 for 4-6 tastes. But you know me! I found discount wine tasting coupons! I went with a friend last Saturday and I was armed and ready with 2-for-1 tastings and other discount coupons I found on the internet. (The sources are listed below.)
Weekends at the wineries are a little crowded (but they are fun crowds!) and many of the most popular wineries exclude weekends from the coupon deals. However, my friend and I had run a 10K in Temecula that morning (I won 2nd place in my age group!), and we were in the celebratory mood and wanted to make a day of it–a little mini vacation. Even though most tasting deals are limited to weekdays, I had five discount wine tastings valid on a Saturday which is more than enough for one day of fun.
Upon Arrival Stop at Barons Market
Before you actually get to the vineyards, which are about 10 minutes from the 15 freeway, stop at Barons Market for picnic supplies and to make a list of their wines from local wineries. I’ve found that Barons’ prices are quite a bit less than the same bottles at the wineries. While you are tasting at the wineries, you can cross check your list from Barons and buy the bottles at Barons on your way out of town. RiteAid also sells local wines but my experience is their prices aren’t lower than Barons and I don’t think they are stored as well.
Discount Coupon Websites
Here are some websites that offer discount wine tasting in Temecula as well as discounts for food and lodging:
Wine Club Memberships
Most wineries offer special discounts for their wine club members. If you really like the wines from a particular winery, it might be worth it to join their club. Actually, it’s usually free to join but you have to agree to shipments of their wines several times a year. The prices are typically discounted and they offer other perks like free tastings when you visit the winery, free events with food and entertainment throughout the year and discounts at any other amenities they offer like a restaurant or spa. The friend I went to Temecula with on Saturday is a member of South Coast Winery so we enjoyed tastings there for free and we purchased a few bottles using her discount. (Barons didn’t carry that particular wine.)
Temecula is the kind of place where you can go for a quick day trip or even for several days. I’ve been to every wine region in California and Temecula ranks right up there with Napa, Sonoma, Paso Robles and Santa Barbara for good wine and good food. And don’t forget downtown Temecula with it’s Old Town shops and restaurants; they are a great way to top off the day before you hit the freeways.