My first experience at Wilson Creek Winery was on my birthday. So you can imagine that my expectations were pretty high.
As you can probably imagine, I LOVE to celebrate my birthday. I do mean LOVE. It’s the absolute perfect reason to POP the bubbly and celebrate. And I typically do it big every year.
Now it was my birthday, but when I visit any winery, I am expecting an experience. I can walk in anywhere and taste some wine, but when I visit a winery, I am truly expecting to be WOW’d. My first trip to Wilson Creek Winery in Temecula, CA did not disappoint.
PS. If you haven’t already check out our Making the Grade post to see all the criteria on which The Bubbly Side of Life grades wineries.
First Impression at Wilson Creek Winery
Walking in from the parking lot, there is an outdoor welcome area where you are immediately greeted and they help direct you to the proper place. Looking straight ahead there is a GIANT bottle of bubbly just calling me for a photo opp. I’m already in love.
After several minutes of photos, I’m ready to go in and explore their bubbly. Now, keep in mind, when I go on vacation, I rarely do any research on the area….and since this was technically my birthday vacation, I didn’t do too much research. Just enough to know that they had a selection of bubbly.
And by selection, I mean a huge selection. Walking into the tasting room, there’s an entire wall of bubbly….so many varieties, I can not wait to dive in.
We are greeting at the tasting room counter by the sweetest young lady. When she discovers it’s my birthday, she gifts me with my very own champagne cork necklace. Oh my gosh…my day is made!
She goes on to tell me that the 80+ year old owner, Rosie Wilson, makes these herself because she wants to be sure celebrations are made special and are recognized at the Wilson Creek Winery. Shortly after that her husband Gerry came walking in the tasting room, saw my necklace and wish me a “Happy Birthday!”
Seriously, this is the type of experience you should have on your special day.
The wine tasting was also quite the experience. The Wilson Creek Winery wine tasting includes: 6 tastings, a logo wine glass, and a $5 coupon toward wine bottle purchase of $30 or more…that was certainly not hard to spend!
I, of course, was tasting only sparkling wine and there were 12 to choose from! 12! How was I going to just pick 6?
Of course, I had to try their award winning almond sparkling wine.
This gold-medal winning sparkling wine is also referred to as the “OH MY GOSH”® sparkling wine.
The Wilson Creek Winery Almond Sparkling is actually a blend of apricot and peach pits! And I was afraid it would be too sweet because of previous almond sparkling wines I have tried, but it was not too sweet with the perfect flavor.
Some of my favorites are:
1. Tahitian Vanilla Sparkling Wine – If I had to pick a favorite, this would be it. Oh my gosh….it’s so smooth, so delicious with the perfect amount of vanilla flavor.
2. Rosé Sparkling Wine – If you like a rosé, you’ll love it sparkling. We can drink bottles of these on a lovely summer day.
3. Sangria Sparkling Wine – having lived and studied in Spain, I’m a bit of a sangria snob and skeptic. This flavor of this did not disappoint except it was a bit too sweet for me, so I added some brut to tone it down a bit.
4. White Cabernet Sauvignon Sparkling Wine – This is delicious. It’s actually their most popular white wine with bubbles. So good all on its own for any occasion.
5. Brut – now I like their Brut on its own, but I also like to use it to make new creations. Using it to create blends of sparkling wines for the perfect custom flavor.
Now here’s what’s really great about the experience at Wilson Creek Winery….your tasting room pourer will actually help you to create these blends so that you’re not wasting your wine at home trying it yourself.
Some other flavors that those around me loved, but I didn’t care for were:
- Peach Bellini Sparkling Wine-why do all the work of making a Bellini, when it’s already bottled up for you…definitely very peachy!
- Coconut Nui Sparkling Wine-they call this the perfect beach bubbly.
However, I don’t like these particular flavors in general so most of my dislike was due to this.
To conclude the wine tasting experience, they brought out a chocolate shot glass and filled it with their Wilson Creek Winery Decadencia® Chocolate ‘Old Vine Zinfandel’, a dessert wine. We first drank that then they refilled with 1/2 Decadencia® and topped it with their Almond Sparkling. Oh. My. Goodness. Such a great dessert!
And because we were curious, we asked for one more pour of Decadencia® topped with Tahitian Vanilla Sparkling. Oh my…just as good. You can not conclude your tasting any other way.
Now I am a sucker for a good wine club. I love everything about wine clubs…the parties, the wine, the people. So, I of course had to inquire.
They had the perfect wine club for this girl who does not live anywhere near Temecula…let alone California. It’s simply 12 bottles of your choice of wine twice a year. What a great excuse to have to come and visit.
They also offer several other options including bi-monthly releases selected by the Wilson Creek Winery winemaker, 6 and 12 month gift memberships, and their “online wine club” that delivers 12 subscription bottles every May and November.
You also get complimentary wine tasting for yourself and up to 3 guests each time you visit Wilson Creek along with so many other perks including a tasting room exclusively for members of the wine club.
Needless to say, there is never a shortage of Wilson Creek Sparkling at my place!
Also, they have monthly specials for wine club members that are insanely good. That alone is worth joining, in my opinion.
Once we finished our tasting and I joined the wine club, we grabbed a glass to go and explore the grounds.
Walking out of the tasting room, I immediately hear all sorts of “Happy Birthday!” greetings because, I, of course, am still wearing my awesome cork necklace. One of them is from Rosie herself. Oh my…I want to be just like Rosie one day. She was absolutely the most amazing person. She truly loves everything about what she does. Rosie was an instant dose of inspiration, especially since my dream has always been to create a Bubbly Side of Life Tasting Room.
The grounds are beautiful and massive. So many places to hang out and enjoy a glass or bottle. You can roam through the vines, pull of a chair in the shade (or in my case soaking up as much Vitamin D as possible) and there are certainly lots of opportunities for the perfect photo.
The bottomless bubbly brunch was absolutely delicious. And what I loved most about it (besides the true bottomless bubbly) was that the menu wasn’t typical. The variety was great, the desserts were incredible.
There was something about their waffles (and I am not typically a waffle person) that made them irresistible. So fluffy and delicious. Yes, I had multiple.
They also have omelet, seafood, and carving stations in addition to their waffle and dessert stations. There is definitely something for everyone.
As we were sitting there, I was watching plate after plate walk by with fried chicken so, I of course, had to try that. Suddenly it was all clear why so many people were piling it on their plates. Fried chicken and sparkling wine is like a small slice of heaven. It’s one of those things you just have to try to believe.
My dessert plate also was overflowing with everything including all the fixings for chocolate fondue!
The only downfall is there is a two hour time limit and I could have easily sat there all day, continued to graze and enjoyed all the bubbly.
The Wine Tour
And of course, I wanted to learn as much as I could, so on to the 1 hour wine tour we went. They kick off the tour with a glass of bubbly and learning the story of the family. Now I am starting to wonder if I like this place so much because Rosie is from Iowa and Gerry is from Minnesota originally….good midwesterners as this Chicago girl knows!
You then wander through the 49 year old vines and learn all about the types of grapes, how they care for them, why there’s a rose bush at the end of every line.
We then got to wander back to the tanks to learn all about that stage of winemaking, including sparkling wine of course, and finished up in the barrel room. Even the tanks look bubbly!
And if you’re lucky enough, you too might get Mike, the tour guide who sings Frank Sinatra.
The Report Card
It’s probably not too hard to guess what the grade will be here.
I have visited multiple times to experience everything they have to offer and every time I am in Temecula, Wilson Creek is on my list of must stop by. You truly feel like family when you’re there.
Because of that, they earned an A+!
There is nothing better than walking away from a winery feeling like a million bucks. That is exactly the feeling you get when you leave Wilson Creek Winery. They treat you like family with Midwestern charm, fill you up with bubbly, and send you home feeling lighter than air.
Thank you to all the staff at Wilson Creek who truly make the wine tasting and experience!
Also, to the Wine Club staff and customer service who consistently go above and beyond with each and every request…you’re so appreciated!
Planning your next bubbly trip? Don’t forget to pin this review for later!
Review of the Wilson Creek Winery