It’s hard to identify the exact spark that lit the wildfire of remodels and renovations in Temecula wine country, but some locals would argue that when Miramonte Winery broke ground on its “Miramonte 2.0” project in February of 2011, it certainly fanned the flames.
“Going from one of the smallest wineries in the Temecula Valley to the size we are now was a major undertaking,” said winery owner Cane Vanderhoof. “We took a long time to even begin the project because we wanted to do it right.”
Doing it right meant that Vanderhoof’s hand was on every brick, table, seating area, and fixture on the property.
“Everything in this place has both beauty and purpose,” said Vanderhoof. “Making wine for a living inspires that approach.”
The newly renovated space is inspired indeed. The sweeping garden veranda overlooking the Temecula Valley is outfitted with ample seating designed to encourage conversation and relaxation. Misters keep the space cool while guests enjoy their wine and perhaps one of the food boards (cheese, Mediterranean or Charcuterie) being offered.
“We felt that food was an important element for us to add to the Miramonte experience,” said Vanderhoof. “Our next phase will include a killer kitchen, but the food boards fill that gap quite nicely in the meantime.”
In addition to the kitchen, Miramonte has plans to expand the indoor tasting room, add two more stand-up bars outside and convert part of the production area into a Cellar Room.
Vanderhoof is known for pushing the limits and has no intention of altering that image.
“We keep one foot in the past — traditions are very important in winemaking — but we love to try new things,” he said, noting that Miramonte will soon be offering wine on tap.
“Wine on tap is such an intelligent idea in so many ways, but it is pretty out there for some people,” said Vanderhoof. “We appreciate that our guests are comfortable with — actually really supportive of — our penchant for pushing the envelope.”
It seems that most guests, certainly the regulars, “get” Vanderhoof’s vision.
“Miramonte has been my home away from home for years now, but Cane’s vision of Miramonte 2.0 put things over the top. Every single design detail has been painstakingly thought over, and it is a brilliant, yet comfortable aesthetic,” said guest Crispin Courtenay. “It is my favorite place in wine country to sit and relax with family and friends, while enjoying some great food and listening to the some of the best bands out there.”
Miramonte’s selection of bands make it a popular live music venue on Friday, Saturday and Sunday each week.
“We keep the vibe mellow on Sundays,” said Vanderhoof. “But Friday and Saturday nights blow up with everything from soulful blues to all American rock. The place is just packed with people having fun. We love it.”
Vanderhoof knows that all of the innovation and inspiration in the world would be nothing without great wine to back it up.
“We were fortunate to bring Reinhard Schlassa on board as our winemaker several years ago,” said Vanderhoof. “His understanding of Rhone style wines is evident in every bottle.”
Ever bucking trends or setting them, Miramonte takes Rose wine as seriously as any other varietal and Vanderhoof is quick to assert the 2010 Grenache Rose is one of his favorites.
“We think Schlassa’s Grenache Rose is amazing,” said Vanderhoof. “Pair it with a little food, a little music, a little chit-chat and all is right with the world.”
Corie Maue is a local writer and regular contributor to SWRNN.