As the sun rose on a slightly soggy Temecula Wine Country on Saturday, hundreds of visitors strolled the region’s lush vineyards as part of the 21st Annual Harvest Celebration Barrel Tasting Weekend.
With some 1,400 guests expected to roam their choice of wineries throughout the area, Europa Village Winery’s Denis Ferguson admitted that he was a little nervous.
“This is our first time. We’re expecting anywhere from 600 to 800 guests. We’re hoping that people will want to stay and linger awhile,” said Ferguson.
Open for a mere six months, Europa Village Winery has already garnered the attention of residents and wine aficionados looking to broaden their cultural and culinary horizons.
Featuring a dynamic trio of wines to evoke the tastes and ambiance of Spain, Italy and France, Europa Village seeks to bring Old World charm to Temecula Wine Country.
“We want Europa Village to be a place where our guests exhale. When we were conceiving the project, we thought, ‘wouldn’t it be nice to bring that sense of (relaxation) that you see in the European wine regions to our culture?’” Ferguson said, adding that his extensive travels abroad have informed his plans for the winery.
“Really, what you see here is a Prelude to Europa Village,” Ferguson said, noting the architecturally-defined structures on site that represent each culture.
Ferguson said that plans to grow Europa Village are on-going with ambitions to expand the winery with amenities to include a luxury inn, outdoor amphitheater and, eventually, resort living.
Ferguson said that he and a guild of investors that includes local entrepreneur Don Stevenson, understand that the plans for expansion will follow a local economy that is slowly plodding along with private financing and patience.
“This is about slowing down the pace of life and taking (people) back to a time when life was easier,” Ferguson said.
Hosted by the Temecula Valley Winegrowers Association, the two-day Harvest Celebration event offers an all-access passport to Temecula Wine Country where they can visit and sample wines from all 34 wineries, enjoy appetizing food pairings, and relax and mingle among the autumn vineyards.