Whisk yourself away to a Mediterranean oasis in the heart of Temecula Wine Country. The Ponte Vineyard Inn is one of the region’s newest boutique hotels with first class service delivered in a charming small town fashion.
To capture the essence of the Inn and the surrounding Temecula wine region, visit mid-week. Locals in the Valley have known for years that the secret to touring the vineyards is to go when the crowds are small and intimate.
The drive to Ponte Vineyard Inn, on the main stretch of road, is reminiscent of an Italian countryside. Located an hour’s drive north of San Diego and south of Los Angeles the region is a veritable paradise encompassing more than 35,000 acres of rolling hills and vineyards. Your pining for a spot of wine is met upon arrival to the 60-room Mission-inspired inn. Before the bags are checked you can be sipping a glass of Moscato or maybe a Beverino tantalizing your palate while unwinding from the travel. As the bellhop accompanies you to a room, the views are breathtaking. The Ponte estates have been growing grapes and making wine for close to 30 years. The 300-acres of vineyards are lush and established, practically surrounding the Inn.
If you prefer a front-porch vineyard view, request a ground floor room. The wooden French doors swing open to a private balcony just steps away from the vineyards. If you stay at the Inn during harvest season, the grapes on the vines maybe seen from the porch.
The Inn was designed with sustainability in mind. To help minimize sun exposure to the rooms, deciduous trees shelter the west wing and generous overhangs protect the corridors. The lobby structure shelters the central garden from wind and sun and gives the Inn a comfortable cool feel all year long. The rooms are quiet too, with state-of-the-art air conditioning with room occupancy sensors.
Gourmet dining can be enjoyed at Bouquet, a restaurant exclusive for guests of the Inn and Wine Club Members with indoor and outdoor dining options. The outside dining area has a romantic ambiance, offering peaceful dining under the stars with a view of the pond, vineyards and fountain. The servers at Bouquet are trained, welcoming, and so well-versed on the menu that they even know which local farm harvested the vegetables, meat, and seafood for your meal. Chef Roberto Carboni from Italy trains his staff on the menu and will accommodate a variety of special dietary needs.
Next door to the Inn is The Restaurant at Ponte, listed as a top-50 restaurant for outdoor dining in the US by Open Table and serving a wide selection of farmers’ market salads, grape-wood fired pizzas, fresh pasta dishes, natural beef, sustainable seafood, homemade desserts, and a full-selection of Ponte wines. Don’t be surprised to find yourself dining next to the owners of the Ponte Estate. Claudio Ponte is a hands-on vintner who truly cares about his guests, and staff. He wants to create a homey family feel at the Inn with first class treatment that is friendly and attentive.
After dinner unwind at one of Mr. Ponte’s favorite places at the Inn, the Cellar Lounge. The Cellar Lounge is the only cell phone free area in the hotel, which was intentional so guests can enjoy their wine and company. The lounge boasts a full bar and a complete cellar of all Ponte Wines in addition to a carefully selected list of other locally produced vintage.
Ponte Vineyard Inn is steps away from a few other wineries making it a great location to explore wine country on foot strolling through the vineyards from one winery to the next. Another benefit of visiting the Temecula Wine Country mid-week is wine tasting at local wineries. Wine taste testing is priced much lower and the pourers have plenty of time teach you about the wine and its history.
Guests who would like to swim in wine country can meander through the vineyards to The Grapeseed Spa. The spa treats mid-week guests to one-day pass specials Monday – Thursday. The Ponte Vineyard Inn also offers in-room services for those looking for a relaxing spa experience. The mid-week get aways are not just for the price conscience but for those seeking an attentive, intimate, overall experience.
Story and photos by Michelle Mears-Gerst, a freelance writer in Southern California. She thanks the staff of Ponte Winery for their hospitality, especially Claudio Ponte and David Romer for welcoming her to their dinner table and the brief tour to see the grapes harvested for their white wines. “You haven’t tasted a real grape until you tried one picked directly from the vines.”