California produces nearly 90 percent of all American-made wine, and Napa and Sonoma no longer have a monopoly on the quintessential “wine country” label. Southern California’s own Temecula is one of the hottest wine regions in the state, boasting over 40 wineries and half a million cases of wine produced every year.

One of the best ways to view the sprawling vineyards and elegant estates in Temecula is all at once, from the unique vantage point of a hot air balloon. But if you’re interested in an on-the-ground tour, here are some of the best-reviewed wineries in Temecula for wine tasting:

Maurice Car’rie Vineyard & Winery

This award-winning winery boasts the oldest vineyard in Temecula with the first grapes planted back in 1968, and it’s known primarily for its delicious white wines such as Sauvignon Blanc. Wine tastings include a delectable portion of sourdough bread filled with Brie to cleanse the palate. The winery also hosts a craft fair on weekends for those looking to shop while they taste. It also happens to be the spot we meet our guests to start their hot air balloon adventure, so you can enjoy their incredible selection before or after your flight.

Palumbo Family Vineyards & Winery

Passionate about environmental sustainability, the Palumbo Family uses certified sustainable production processes to create full-bodied red wines like Cabernet and Sangiovese with a minimal carbon footprint. Tastings are available with or without a reservation, and you can even take a deep-dive tour of the winery to learn about every step of the winemaking process from dirt to bottle.

Callaway Vineyard and Winery

Another pioneer in the Temecula wine scene, Callaway’s founder opened the winery in 1969. After a series of ownership changes, the winery now produces 25,000 cases a year, making it one of the largest vineyards in Temecula. Callaway specializes in Zinfandels and Syrahs, and offers tastings, tours, and a gourmet restaurant on-site that uses hyper-local ingredients—many grown on the estate property!

Briar Rose Winery

Disney fans will marvel at the fairy tale cottages of Briar Rose Winery, which is considered a “micro-winery” with about 3,500 cases produced each year. But what the winery lacks in size, it makes up in charm and variety, offering a Viognier blend, a Talking Frog Bubbly, and even a lager beer.

Carter Estate Winery

For an upscale winery experience, Carter Estate Winery offers a Mediterranean resort atmosphere and exclusive wine and food pairings. And if you need a place to relax after a long day of tastings and tours, the estate includes bungalow suites with private patios, poolside cabanas, and in-room spa services.

Miramonte Winery

As a self-described Rhone specialist, Miramonte Winery offers notable Syrah varieties at its hilltop location, where you can enjoy the spectacular view from the patios during the day and dance to the live music offered on weekend nights. In addition to tastings and tours, the winery also boasts an array of healthy menu options at its Flower Hill Bistro.

Robert Renzoni Vineyards

Robert Renzoni might be relatively new to Temecula, but his family has been crafting delicious wines in Italy since the 1800s. Continuing the family tradition in Temecula, Robert Renzoni Vineyards boasts classic Bordeaux and Italian grape varieties, and tastings take place in an Italian villa-inspired estate that will transport you—and your taste buds—back to the old country.

Sample the best of Temecula from above and below

The only thing better than a day of the best wine tasting in Temecula is capping it with a sunset hot air balloon ride. Or, start the day with a sunrise view of Temecula from above before launching your wine tasting journey. At Compass Balloons, we offer private and group hot air balloon rides for all occasions, whether you’re on a weekend getaway, celebrating an anniversary, or popping the big question. Give us a call at (760) 704-7407 to book your flight today.