Temecula Puts the Focus on Quality

    This harvest season, a handful of Temecula Valley grapegrowers and winemakers are adhering to a set of guidelines that they’ve agreed upon as members of the Temecula Valley Quality Wine Alliance (TVQWA).

     The group was created to draw attention to Temecula Valley wines and to continue perfecting the varietals and blends coming out of members’ wineries.

     “At our next meeting, we’re going to start doing some internal tastings of our own wines, and we’ll be looking at some benchmark comparisons to get a feeling of how we compare,” Joe Hart, owner and winemaker at Hart Winery and one of the founding members of the newly formed alliance, told Wines & Vines.

     “Since it’s a small group, we can be more honest about each other’s wines and make helpful suggestions on how to improve them. When you get in a larger group, that is much more difficult,” Hart said.

     A trained viticulturist, consultant Peter Poole, also is part of the fledgling alliance, bolstering members’ attempts to reach three goals:

*** Better Grapes

*** Better Wines

*** Better Sales

     Temecula-based Keyways Vineyard & Winery and Thornton Winery also are members of TVQWA, which is a separate entity from the Temecula Valley Winegrowers Association (TVWA), in which TVQWA members also are involved.

     “Our association is being pulled in a lot of different directions,” Hart said of the TVWA. A number of that older and larger group’s wineries have restaurants and overnight facilities, Hart said, leading some to focus more on the valley as a destination. “That is important for all of us, because most of our sales are direct sales.”

     “The valley has suffered  — rightly or wrongly — from a somewhat negative quality image in the past,” Hart said. “I don’t think that’s justified, but (TVQWA) wants to make a big push to focus on quality.”

     Don Reha, executive winemaker at Thornton Winery, said that spreading the word about the quality wines coming out of the Temecula Valley is one of the group’s major goals. He added that members already have given interviews and hosted press tastings to familiarize the public with regional wine quality.

Posted in Wine Region Profiles
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