Harvest Hosts (February 29th–March 3rd)

9 Mar

When Robert picked up an RV magazine to pass the time while waiting for laundry an advert caught his eye which he checked out on the internet then followed up with a phone call. The advert was for ‘Harvest Hosts’ a group to introduce RV travellers to hosts in various locations not just in the US but across Canada too. The ‘hosts’ tend to be farms or wineries with an available area of land where RV travellers can park overnight and enjoy the farm and its produce. An annual fee is required to join the group but no charge is made for overnight stops.

The fact that there seemed to be several wineries located along our intended course of travel over the next few months swayed us slightly….. we joined up.

After staying at Riverside we had thought we might visit Malibu Beach but chilly weather was coming in so, consulting the Harvest Host directory we found two hosts slightly south of us, gave them a call and arranged to stop over on Wednesday night at Falkner Winery near Temecula then Bernardo Winery north east of San Diego.

We had not known quite how big a wine growing area there was around Temecula, the hillsides lined with wineries and vines which have yet to break leaf. We found Falkner fairly easily, it is perched upon a  hill top of which there are lots here as the ground is extremely undulating. We were welcomed in the tasting room by Terri who directed us to a spot at the back of the parking area to set up then invited us back for a wine tasting. We had vines and views all around us and the whole area to ourselves.

P1250062

Terri and her fellow host made us very welcome and chatted with us about the various wines we were tasting, which were very good. I particularly liked their Syrah, my kind P1250066of wine, deep and fruity mmmmm! We purchased a bottle of Falkner Port made with Zinfandel  and Syrah grape varieties, aged for 5 years it accompanied a little cheese for desert nicely.

 

 

 

We slept very well Wednesday night! At breakfast Thursday morning it was a cold cloudy start to the day but cheered by the sight of a hot air balloon on the horizon.

P1250077

What a great place for a flight – wish it was us!

We said our good byes and thanked our hosts before we set off to take a more minor route to our next destination. We are now in almost the most south westerly part of California but at around 4 thousand feet there is snow on the mountains. Luckily we were driving at around 3 thousand feet, even with the sun out it was chilly.

P1250090

As we neared the outskirts of San Diego the traffic became quite busy again, we were driving through a recently developed area with very smart houses lining the road. The directions we had to Bernardo Winery  seemed to be leading us deeper into the residential area, we began to wonder if we had come to the correct location. Then, on our left we spotted the entrance to the winery and boutique complex. The winery has been here since the late 1800’s and is one of the oldest in Southern California, the housing estate has grown up around it in the last 40 years.

After settling in our parking spot we ventured out to explore the old buildings of the winery and browse the small stores before enjoying another tasting session.

P1250084

Despite the sunshine it was a very chilly wind, we did sit outside on the veranda briefly but opted for a slightly warmer environment indoors to sample the wine.

P1250089P1250092

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Each Friday a farmers market is held at Bernardo’s Winery which was another very good reason for us to choose this location. We are always on the look out for fresh local produce. From haRVey we watched as the vendors arrived from early morning to set up P1250096their stalls  then just before 9am the visitors began to fill the car park. Walking along to where the traders were lining the walk ways we were surprised how much warmer it was than the previous afternoon. The outdoor seating at the cafe was being well used as people drank coffee and ate the lovely pastries supplied there. Another sampling had to be made, only so I could relate how good they were of course!

We had a final wander around the quaint buildings before we left for a night at Dos Pecos County Park, close enough for us to pop back on Saturday to take a tour of the winery.

 

P1250094

On the tour we discovered more about the history of the winery which has been in Rizzo family since 1927 , now run by third generation family it continues to produce small amounts of wine (1400 cases) to sell at the boutique winery. The little buildings that the stores are in had once been bunk houses for the workers who came to pick the many acres of vines before the larger proportion of land was sold around 40 years ago for development. The barns and outbuildings were all dating from the time of the original ranch, today the wine is made in a modern facility further up the hillside.

Just next to the coffee shop door was another door way – the most wonderful fruity, wine smell seeped out tempting you to step into the darkness beyond the door. I was delighted that this was included in the tour (it was open but marked – authorised personnel only) .

P1250115

Once our eyes adjusted to the darkness we could see maybe 20 huge old redwood barrels now mainly filled with water they once had been regularly used for the wine production. Despite the fact that only two or maybe three contained what we were told was ‘old,bad wine’ this is where my smell was seeping from. Years of being soaked with wine had imparted an everlasting aroma. Wonder if I smell as sweet – more wine required!

The smaller barrel is an example of the oak barrels the winery now uses for storage, the wine being made in stainless steel with oak chips added for the flavour.

Our first dip into the Harvest Host Directory had proved very enjoyable and we are hoping for more visits as we head north in California, Oregon and Washington this spring.

Advertisements

2 Responses to “Harvest Hosts (February 29th–March 3rd)”

  1. Katy & Mike March 9, 2012 at 5:34 pm #

    Another lovely post. It’s great that you’re having such a good time!

  2. Aggie.Knoblock March 9, 2012 at 10:52 pm #

    Ok you are making us sooo jealous!!! So how do we meet up, with no PLA….N. George needs to make a trip to Temeculah in the next couple weeks, but you will be gone by then. We have to be here weekend of April 15 and off to Dallas weekend of April 21. May 5, Cinco de Mayo, I am biking in Mexico. So where will you be around May 19 or May 26?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: