Southern California does wine too — and you're going to want to try it.
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Los Angeles and San Diego have a lot to offer visitors, but there's a lesser-known wine-country gem between them begging to be explored. California's Temecula Valley belongs on any wine-lover's itinerary, and wine writer and content creator Noël Burgess explores it all in this episode of Walk With T+L.

Located 16 miles from the ocean, Akash Winery receives a warm sea breeze that translates deliciously into the varieties of wine they make, from cabernets to zinfandels. Burgess sits down with owner Akash Patel to discuss the winery's origins and what to expect from this spot's sips.

As tasty as the wine is, sampling various vintages isn't the only way to enjoy wineries in Temecula. Walkable wine trails are great, but have you ever motored up and down the rolling hills of a vineyard in a motorcycle sidecar?

Hillside vineyards near Temecula in Riverside County
Credit: Elvira Laskowski/Getty Images

"We transformed a standard motorcycle to fit two people, so we became the world's first and only tandem sidecar tours in the world," says Jaydy Gonzalez, co-owner of So-Cal Sidecar Tours. "We wanted to create a unique experience for people to go wine tasting." The company offers a VIP sidecar tour to three different wineries, with unforgettable views and the wind in your hair along the way.

Burgess's next stop is the 45-acre Bottaia Winery, where all steps — from growing the vines in decomposed granite soil to bottling, labeling, and letting the wine rest before it makes its debut in guests' glasses — are completed on the property. But seeing it all up close isn't the only reason visitors will want to allot extra time here.

"We're the only winery in Southern California that has a unique oasis of relaxation attached to it," Sharlee Martin, winery manager, said. "So not only can you enjoy our estate wines in multiple areas in our tasting rooms, you can enjoy them poolside, lounging all day long."

Beyond the pool, the wine-blending lab is another draw — Bottaia Winery offers the opportunity to be a winemaker for a day. Whether you prefer a pour heavy on spice, sweetness, acidity, or body, the choice is yours. When you're satisfied with your blend, your wine will be bottled, corked, capped, and labeled for you to take home and age. 

Still, a hand-blended bottle of wine shouldn't be your only souvenir from Temecula Valley. Bottles of liquid gold await at Temecula Olive Oil Company, where Burgess chats with the owner, Thom Curry. "We're celebrating our twentieth harvest this year," shares Curry. "My wife had this crazy idea of opening an olive oil tasting bar — the first one in the country — and it's just exploded from there. It's been a fantastic trip."

Because California is the only state in the country that can consistently produce olive oil, most Americans don't get to taste fresh-squeezed olive oil, but you can do exactly that at Temecula Olive Oil Company.

If you're ready to taste it for yourself, book a trip to Temecula Valley here.