Callaway…you know the name, Big Bertha is their claim to fame. Well before all that Ely Callaway was in textiles. After a successful career where he was a VP for Burlington Industries he retired in 1973 and headed west. He purchased 140 acres in Temecula and started a vineyard establishing Callaway Winery and Vineyards. This was the first winery to open in Temecula and at the time very few thought of this as possible wine country. The story goes that his Riesling was served to Queen Elizabeth II at a luncheon in New York and that she asked for two glasses and to meet with the vintner.
In 1981 he sold the winery and vineyard to Hiram Walker and Sons, walking away with a hefty profit. Retired again he was playing golf and ended up purchasing half ownership in Hickory Stick a golf club company. Eventually this became Callaway Golf when he purchased the entire company. They went on to create the Big Bertha Driver.
The winery with his name has been working for over 40 years. The vineyard and winery are now privately owned by the Lin Family of San Diego. These wines are only available at the winery, so if you like them, buy them while you are there.
In addition to the wine it’s well worth stopping here for a meal at their restaurant “Meritage”. They have an extensive tapas menu so order a bunch and enjoy the amazing view with some Callaway wines. On the weekends there is typically music on the patio beginning at 1 pm. They are open for lunch daily from 11-4 and dinner from 5-9. Dining is al fresco so call ahead if there is severe weather.
Our first visit to Meritage was on a slightly windy and damp day. A portable heater kept us warm. We ordered lunch and wine to pair with it and enjoyed great food and a beautiful view. On a typical beautiful California day we might never have left!
Our last trip to Callaway was again in the winter but the new tasting room is now open. They added a second level for club members that is open on the weekends. While tasting we chatted with the couple next to us and enjoyed the sunset.
They do have a very extensive list here so you have to really look it over to choose how you want to use your tasting tickets. They do have tours with tastings daily at 11, 1 and 3, Saturday’s at 11, 12 & 1 and Sunday’s at 11, 12, 1 and 2, as well at special $30 Cellar Tours and Tastings each Saturday at 2 pm. We will return to do a tour (and lunch again at Meritage)
The grounds and view here are stunning…enjoy the Video!
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