With a country-charming tasting room featuring both Bordeaux and Rhone style wines, a dog-friendly patio with live music on the weekends and sweeping views of the De Portola Valley, Oak Mountain Winery is a popular gathering spot for Temecula Valley locals and visitors alike.
“We are proud to offer award-winning wine in a casual atmosphere,” said owner Valerie Andrews. “Steve (winemaker and Valerie’s husband) and I want our guests to feel at home.”
Oak Mountain’s charming tasting room offers samples and bottles of wine from Temecula Hills Winery as well as Oak Mountain Winery.
“We are the only winery in Temecula that has two wineries under one roof,” Andrews said. “The Temecula Hills label specializes in Rhone style wines — think Tempranillo, Mourvedre, and Grenache — and the Oak Mountain label features classic Bordeaux varietals – Cabernet Sauvignon, Estate Merlot and Malbec.”
Besides these familiar reds, Oak Mountain is known for offering the more obscure Pinotage and Counois varietals as well as a selection of whites and sparklers.
To keep up with production, the Andrews need all the help they can get. Fortunately, by fate or design, most of the family has joined the operation.
“Three out of four of our kids are involved at the winery,” said Andrews. “We are truly family owned and operated and we love it.”
Along with wine, the Andrews produce their own avocado oils and balsamic vinegars.
“Avocado oil has a wonderful flavor and a much higher smoke point than olive oil,” commented Andrews. “It has become a very popular item with some of the local chefs as well as home cooks looking to try something new. Our newest flavor — chipotle — will be available by September.”
Whether due to the lovely views, casual atmosphere or live music on the weekends, the patio at Oak Mountain is frequently full with groups of all kinds — family gatherings, bridal showers, and, oh yes, dog lovers.
“We are truly dog-friendly at Oak Mountain,” said Andrews. “We have water bowls, baggies for owners to use if needed and sell iDog Bakery all natural doggie treats. We love our pets and know others do too, so we welcome them on our property.”
Pets are something of a passion for the Andrews, so much so that they founded Cause Fur Paws, a nonprofit that donates funds to veterinarians and animal hospitals that directly benefit dogs with diabetes.
“One in five dogs suffers from diabetes,” Andrews said. “We try to make a difference where we can.”
Oak Mountain is situated on the West side of the De Portola Trail about 1450 above the Temecula Valley, providing lush views for miles in almost every direction.
Every inch of the property is needed for vineyards, so as the Andrews made plans for expansion, they had to get creative.
“We needed a better solution for barrel storage,” said Andrews. “The heat kills wine and the air conditioning is almost as bad as it dries out the barrels. We lose quite a bit of wine each year.”
Caves dug into the side of their hill seemed to be the perfect solution to the problem and Oak Mountain plans to break ground in October or November 2012.
“The coolness of the caves, along with the moisture in the air, will be just perfect for barrel storage,” Andrews commented. “In addition, we will have an exclusive tasting area for our wine club members as well as a gorgeous banquet room.”
The additional storage will come right on time as Oak Mountain needs to increase their wine production.
“We keep running out of wine,” laughed Andrews, admitting that it is a good problem to have. “We are increasing our production by 25 percent this year to meet the demand and we could not be more pleased.”
Oak Mountain Winery is located at 36522 Vía Verde in Temecula.
For hours of operation, location and more, please visit: www.oakmountianwinery.com.
Corie Maue is a local writer and regular contributor to SWRNN.