While some wineries sprawl over hundreds of acres, Palumbo Family Vineyards grows its artisanal varietals on just 13, producing 2,500 cases a year. As owner Nick Palumbo says, “I know what goes into every grape, crush the wine myself, and pour my soul into every sip.” Nick, his wife Cindy, their four kids, and the dogs/mascots live on the vineyard, so when they invite you to walk among the vines and try to identify their signature reds, it’s very much, “Mi casa es su casa.” See if you can tell the cabernet sauvignon from the cabernet franc or the merlot from the viognier (hint: the green grape and floral-scented viognier is the only white wine Palumbo produces.) As Saturday afternoons slide into evening, other Temecula wineries can get overcrowded and rowdy, but Palumbo will be the calm within the storm. Sample five different wines for $10, and the glass is yours to keep. Just pay attention to where you’re walking during your visit: with the hilltop view and Temecula Valley laid out before you, you might stumble over one of the Palumbos’ grazing cows or sheep. (Note: Cow tipping will not earn you a generous pour.)
TIP: Chris Murray Combo is playing Palumbo Family Vineyards annual outdoor concert June 25.
From the I-15, take the Rancho California Rd. exit and head east. After 7 miles, turn right onto Monte De Oro Rd. Take the second right onto Barksdale Cir. Follow the well-marked signs to Palumbo Family Vineyards and park in the gravel lot. Tasting room hours are 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Friday through Monday, and by appointment on all other days. (951-676-7900). Dog-friendly (if your dog is friendly).