Thornton winery is one of the first wineries that greet you as you drive into Temecula Wine Country. A Champagne house this French style château sits on a hill on the South Side of Rancho California Road. Opening in 1988 they create premium wines as well as Sparkling wines done in the Methode Champenois.
As you walk in through the entrance at the side of the complex you pass the herb gardens that will awake your senses with all the aromas and prepare you to find all those fragrances in the wines. Past the herb garden it opens out into the Fountain Terrace where outdoor events and concerts are held. The fountain dominates the center of the courtyard providing a soothing sound. A large tree shades the terrace providing a quiet and relaxing atmosphere. If there is not an event, stroll over to the stage area on the far side of the terrace and enjoy the view. You can also enjoy the view from Café Champagne which rims most of the terrace. Café Champagne is the perfect place for lunch or dinner or brunch on Sunday. The menu includes pairing suggestions for each dish, and flights are available. And check out their entertainment schedule! World renowned Contemporary Jazz artists perform here on weekends throughout the summer.
The Champagne Lounge allows you to sit at a table and enjoy a flight of 4 wines or champagnes. They have several suggested flights or you can create your own. They also offer a Bistro menu with suggested wine pairings.
The winemaker here is David Vergari. A native of Sonoma County who studied at UC Davis, he began his career in wine at Sonoma-Cutrer and The Hess Collection in Napa then traveled to work at Coldstream Hills in Austrailia and Covisa in Spain. He did further work as a research enologist at Joseph Phelps vineyard and then moved to Rutz Cellars in the Russian River Valley as winemaker before joining Thornton.
We have enjoyed both lunch and dinner here at Café Champagne and were never disappointed. When we are back I look forward to enjoying a flight and a bite at the Champagne Lounge and perhaps coming on a weekend in the summer to enjoy one of the amazing Jazz concerts.