At a time when the economy has had all the juice squeezed out of it, Temecula’s wine country profits are headed up and to the right. Drawing in tourists from around the world, visitors are passing on the simple daytime visit and opting instead for extended hotel stays.
One of the hottest new destinations in the Valley is Europa Village. I recently spent two nights at the INN@Europa, which was filled to capacity. Half of the guests were from Europe and Australia, while the remainder were mostly from Southern California.
Europa Village is THE piece of real estate to watch in Temecula Valley. Having just celebrated its first birthday, the planned holdings promise to make a major statement in the valley, a notable destination in the hospitality industry, and a stunning visual impact in the hills above Rancho California Road.
Plans include the completion of an impressive trinity compound within the next three years, each with a dedicated winery, tasting room and inn. The essence of the expansion is emphatically Mediterranean, a full Old World emersion into Italy, France, and Spain, all harmoniously cinched together and cascading across the hills.
Appropriately named, the Prelude Tasting Room at Europa Village is the first chapter of the soon to be developed property and a good place to get a feel for what to expect there in the near future. While you sip wine you can watch a looped video that fully describes the future of C’est La Vie, Vienza, and Bolero, the principals of Europa Village. The concept is clearly a resurrection of old time traditions that emphasize a more relaxed lifestyle, drawing in friends and family for the celebration of life’s special events.
Some say winemaking is an art. Some say it is a science. According to Stefano Butto, Europa’s sommelier, “Making wine is a lot like making music. The harvested berries delivered to the winemaking facility are like thousands of musical notes on a staff that enter the recording studio; the winemaker is the sound engineer.” While the berries harvested from this estate soil were only planted in 2006, they have been handcrafted in an Old World European tradition and will no doubt produce sweet music indeed.
What’s Open At Europa
The Inn At Europa
In 2011 the Inn on the existing Europa property was claimed and renovated to what is now a charming and inviting bed and breakfast. A narrow, one-lane winding road leads to the Inn set high on a hill away from the main traffic.
The Inn is perched atop five picturesque acres of rolling hills, revealing views in every direction. The environment is quiet and serene with afternoon breezes that invite an outdoor nap in a wicker chair.
The spacious "Sangria" room with a private entrance.
Seven balcony rooms allow you to take advantage of the generous views in this ten-room Inn. If you can’t reserve a balcony room, don’t fret, you won’t miss out. The huge fireplaced patio with breathtaking vistas is open to guests and acts as a central spot for sipping wine and socializing with your “neighbors”. Breakfasts are served inside or outside in the panoramic setting.
There couldn’t be a more perfect place to view the July 4th fireworks in Temecula Valley. Perched out on the edge of the patio, a large hot tub offers another relaxing spot for taking in the valley views. Indoors, you can still enjoy the sights via the large windows that follow the perimeter of the downstairs public areas, of the dining room, kitchen, and living room.
The breakfast portion of this bed and breakfast is quite different than most because of the influence of the personable chef/innkeeper, Dean Thomas and his wife Nicole. Morning fare is nothing short of divine with dishes that incorporate sliced fruits and sauces gleaned from fresh organic offerings grown on the property. Like the structures soon to share his territory, chef Dean’s dishes are expertly influenced by the foods of Italy, France, and Spain. Each morning brings a deliciously different surprise.
An award winning Certified Chef, Dean Thomas has been acclaimed for overseeing enormous culinary staffs at resorts throughout the country. But at Eruopa he deals in smaller numbers and his own masterful hand creates sumptuous recipes and breakfast dishes like this.
Poached Egg, Saucisson "Crisps", Olive Cured Olives, Wild Arugula, Organic Baby Heirloom Tomatoes & Zucchini Hash Brown, Banana Bread French Toast, Cider-Syrah Molasses Reduction, Ricotta Cheese & Toasted Almonds
At the Inn, special dinners for groups are available upon request and guests are encouraged to ban together for one of the chef’s famous feasts.
The patio at the inn includes the Thomas’ delightful version of a wishing well where guests are invited to deposit a cork under the main tree.
Prelude Wine Tasting Room
A full assortment of wines is available for tasting. Pre-releases are available to members of Societe Europa, a group that enjoys unpublished wine offerings and invitations to special events.
Surrounded by vineyards and spectacular landscaping, La Veranda is an open affair and the perfect spot for a memorable wedding or other special celebration. A 6,300 square-foot expanse of lawn plus gazebo make a picturesque setting. Accompanied by a large covered space, the location is versatile for indoor and outdoor events and can be reserved by private groups and tour companies alike. Various entertainment, live bands, and ballroom dance lessons fill the calendar of events at Eruopa in addition to charity events and the Shakespeare In The Vines series.
Ideal for functions, like the monthly musical wine dinners, which feature music, cuisine, and wine of Spain, France or Italy. Ask about the series of Sommelier workshops. Topics include Introduction to Wine Tasting, Improving Tasting Skills, Old World Wine Geography, New World Wine Geography, and Food & Wine Pairing Taste & Flavor.
Located only an hour or more from many southern California cities, Europa Village will transport you to another world and time, giving you a chance to reboot, relax and rejoice.
Although the wines are young and the estate is growing, the best time to experience Europa may be before it is fully developed and reservations are impossible to get. Procrastinate too long and you could miss your chance to take in the rich influence of the C’est la Vie Wine Chateau; to sip the black grape, full-bodied flavor of a Spanish Tempranillo; or to passionately dive into a feverish affair with a fine Italian wine from Vienza.
In vino veritas!
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