Ranch & Coast Magazine

March 2024

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e Renzoni family history of winemaking dates back to rural Italy in 1886. e Robert Renzoni Vineyards chapter began in Temecula in 2004. He's built a wine estate piece by piece which now includes a delightful pizza restaurant that also serves wings reminiscent of his Buffalo, New York, hometown. Olivia Bue is Renzoni's sharp, young winemaker, who catches my attention talking about Vermentino, a white summer wine that bridges the palate between chardonnay and sauvignon blanc. Renzoni himself wows me twice. First, by showing off his estate's "secret" poker room decorated with Frank Sinatra and Rat Pack photos. en, by making the vintage bell atop his restaurant's arched tower ring by activating it through an app on his phone. Temecula Valley is more than just wine country. A Grape Escape Hot Air Balloon Adventure lifts off at 6:30am. We soar 4,200 feet above the quiet idyll of farmland. e one-hour morning trip is less frigid than you'd think for three reasons: One, propelled at wind speed, you don't experience wind chill. Two, there are constant propane-fueled fire blasts directly above your head. ree, your heart is warmed by visions below of unspoiled wine country terroir. Back on terra firma, there's an Old Town storefront that sells Temecula Olive Oil Company's primary product. You can have a great experience there, or a transcendent one at owners om and Nancy Curry's verdant, ranch-style farm in nearby Aguanga. ey've got thousands of trees. We watch olives being laboriously whisked from branches. My wife and I sample oils that prompt our taste buds to sing arias. And we witness full- circle joy in Nancy's two-decade-old photos of their daughter helping plant seedlings, and recent shots of her in a white gown, getting married under the shade of the now-mature trees she'd help plant. We also find time to horse around. Galway Downs Equestrian Center is an impressive, professional, multi-use facility. Spread out on 240 acres are 400 permanent horse stalls, a one-mile race track, ⅝-mile training track, polo field, 14 arenas for training and competition, 15 miles of trails, and a staff bonded by its love of all things equine. Venue manager Robert Kellerhouse is passionate about Galway Downs, and expects equestrian competitions in the 2024 Paris Olympics to ignite interest and visits to this corner of Temecula. My wife and I go horseback riding at California Ranch Company. ere are eight of us on the trail (if you count the horses): CRC owner Bob Brown on Azul, rancher Maria Kurtzweil on Blaze, my wife, Jules, riding Silver ("Hi-ho!"), and I'm saddled upon Guinness, a chestnut paint whose frame is stout (in a nod to the ale) and whose hair is the color of beer foam. We tour California Ranch Company, passing covered arenas, livestock holds, a cottage, ranch house, and bunkhouse, and we march right through a vineyard. Along the way we're stalked by a harmless, curious coyote. Brown proves to be an astutely grounded cowboy philosophizer. After the ride, he pours us glasses of champagne mixed with orange juice to toast our shared, simple pleasure. "I don't know what everybody else did today," he says, smiling, mimosa pointed upward at the blue sky, "but we rode horses through a vineyard." detour destinations << ranchandcoast.com 86 MARCH 2024 RANCH & COAST MAGAZINE Thom and Nancy Curry of Temecula Olive Oil Company California Ranch Company Bob Brown and author horsing around

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