New Wines and Summer Concerts Uncorked in Temecula


The sun shines brightly in Temecula this time of year.My emails are full of good news from the 35 + wineries, offeringbig names, big bites and big vintage wines. It’s the new world version of the sound of music in the vines.

JazzNobody does it better than Thornton Winery producing 20 Champagne Jazz concerts (see photo) from Saturday May 4 through Sunday October 20. It’s Thornton’s 25th season of presenting leading Jazz headliners that draw from all over to enjoy the brightest stars, like:Peter White, Michael McDonald, Dave Koz, Mindi Abair, Kenny G, George Benson and many more.One thing always stands out with Thornton concerts.These events are well attended by concert-goers who love the music and appreciate that these musician who could be playing in large arenas commanding many more dollars, choose to return to Temecula year after year.I have spoken to many who love playing this venue.The sound system is flawless, Chairs for general seating are set up so that every seat is a good seat, and those who buy dinner tables have an intimate club atmosphere as they enjoy the music, sip their wine and savor a full menu of gourmet food.

For artist dates, times and Champagne Jazz tickets, go to

Proving that there is always room for another great Jazz concert series for another great winery, Leonesse Cellars, in the DePortola Trail district of Temecula Wine Country, introduces its “Friends andDianne Wine” lineup from May though August, hosted by Jazz and R& B great Ronnie Laws.Kickoff concert on Mothers Day, May 12, is the “First Lady of Jazz,”two time Grammy winner , Diane Schuur (see photo) with a performance at 4:30pm.

The series of three concerts will benefit Our Nicholas Foundation, supporting music therapy for students with autism, and placement of musical instruments in local Temecula Valley schools.

Following the opening concert, Joe Sample, pioneer of contemporary Jazz piano and a Platinum selling recording artist, will play on Sunday, June 9th

at 4:30pm.Ronnie Laws, formerly with Earth, Wind and Fire, will play Saturday July 20th at 7pm.The top tier VIP concert tickets include a winery tour, a meet and greet the artist, wine reception and prime seating.

Concert producer Joel Reese is encouraging guests to bring a musical instrument of any kind to donate to the Our Nicholas Foundation.

Leoness Cellars concerts are outdoors on the vineyard lawn.It has an outdoor restaurant for food service.For concert pricing and other information, call 951-302-7601, extension 150 or access

Most Temecula Wine country wineries are making a concerted effort to offer Jazz and other types of music on the weekend as a free accompaniment in the tasting rooms and outdoor lawn areas, so as you cruise around, enjoy the sound of wine.It’s music for the palate.

Wine Bytes

  • The Junior League of San Diego has a Food and Wine Festival at La Jolla Cove in La Jolla, Sat. May 4 from 2 to 6pm.Over 50 restaurants and beverage companies will participate. Cost is $75. with VIP perks for $125.Ticket info at 858-869-5771.
  • A Night at the Mission Wine Tasting is happening at Mission San Luis Rey in Oceanside, Fri. May 10 from 6 to 9pm.Sample international wine selections from Schlossadler, hors d’oeuvres and a silent auction.

Tickets $30. in advance, $35. at the door.Call 760-213-5622.

  • Firefly Grill and Wine Bar in Encinitas is offering a Justin Wine Dinner Thurs. May 9 from 6:30 to 9pm.Justin is a top wine selection from Paso Robles. Cost is $65.Make an RSVP at 760-635-1066.
  • Speaking of Paso Robles, this wine country is presenting its annual Wine Festival, with 60+ wineries planning to pour in the downtown city park on Fri. May 17 thru Sun. May 19. Times and prices vary, so check out the web site at

Frank Mangio is a renowned San Diego wine connoisseur certified by Wine Spectator.He is one of the leading wine commentators on the web.View and link up with his columns at Reach him at [email protected].