Sugarplum Zoo & Chocolates

Sipping, Hopping .. and so much more in Temecula!

Author: Ronnie Greenberg

Photos by: Joe Hilbers

Ronnie Greenberg

5310 Dubois Ave

Woodland Hills, CA 91367

(818) 347-7437


Sipping, Hopping .. and so much more in Temecula!

By: Ronnie Greenberg

Photos: Joe Hilbers

Temecula, one of the most historic communities in Southern California is shaking things up from its tumultuous past that’s peppered with vestiges of the old west. It went from Indian village to mission outpost, from Mexican rancho to crossroad settlements and railroad town.

Throughout the 1960s there was a transformation to the development of homes, light industry and agriculture including citrus, avocados and grapes. Incorporated in 1989, the city of Temecula has moved on to become the notable and respected city it is today, and a great place to indulge yourself. It just keeps getting better and better.


The Wineries

Robert Renzoni Vineyards & Winery invites you to join them in their new Tuscan Villa Tasting Room to try their award-winning wines. If you are lucky Philip the General Manager, will be delighted to do the pour, and tell you all about the Renzoni family history. If you get hungry, Mama Rosa’s Trattoria is open from 12 to 5 p.m. serving authentic brick oven pizza, sandwiches and salads, or enjoy a bottle of their favorite wine while picnicking among the olive trees. Located at 37350 De Portolo Road (951 )302-8466.

Somerset Winery continues a 30 year tradition of growing sustainably farmed grape varietals in Temecula. They take pride in producing hand crafted wines with varietals originating from the South of France and select regions of Spain. They feature an elegant Tasting Room and garden like grounds. Located at 37338 De Portola Road (951) 365-54522.

Avensole Winery is perfect for tasting fine wines and enjoying a delicious lunch in their gorgeous resort style vineyard estate featuring one of the oldest vineyards in Temecula. Their menu includes such delights as a cheese & fruit flight for starters; Avensole Caesar salad; flat breads with either chicken peso; or avocado toast; Avensole burgers or herb crusted pork tenderloin; ribeye; and surf & turf. Located at 34567 Rancho California Road (951) 294-7969


Refuge BreweryThe Breweries

Refuge Brewery started in the late 80s when Curt Kucera an engineer and now President of Refuge began brewing in his yard. When his wife Diane joined him, their goal was “to take the ideas and concepts of Old World Belgian Breweries and blend them with the modern techniques and styles.” The result is a brewery full of inspiring beers, without traditional rules, and often using fresh season local ingredients. The Tasting Room matches their name, a perfect refuge to relax and enjoy. They have 18-22 beers on tap and are also known for their IPAs and Barrel Aged beers that they produce. Tasting Room hours are Monday-Thursday 3-9 p.m.; Friday 12-9; Happy Hour 3-5:30 p.m.-Saturday 12-9 p.m. and Sunday 12-7 p.m. Tours are available. Located at 43040 Rancho Way (951) 506- 0609



Out and About

Old Town lets you take a step back in time viewing the rustic buildings, and store fronts reminiscent of the historic old west. At the north and south entrances of the historic district two 3,000 pound arches with intricate steel and stone cutouts, depicts themes from Temecula in the 1880s.

Temecula Valley Museum set in Sam Hick’s Park chronicles life in the area through time and different cultures. On view are artifacts preserved from Western civilizations, including historic handcrafted cultural items, and ranch and farm equipment. There is a replica of the office of the town’s beloved son, Erle Stanley Gardner, author of the Perry Mason novels. Guided Old Town tours are offered.

Rose Haven Heritage GardenRose Haven Heritage Garden began in 1991, and is home to approximately 2000 roses, hybrid teas, floribundas, climbers and mini roses. In addition, there are many succulents. The 3.4 acre garden is an oasis that was originally formed to swap ideas with rose growers. There is a children’s garden, a reflection pond, a gazebo and an urban forest. Most fascinating of all is that the city does not own it, and it is run by volunteers with membership today a little over 70. It is kept going by donations. First blooms are enjoyed during April and May then June through August. The cooling in Autumn brings another flush of bloom. Visitors are always welcome and the garden is open every day of the year from sunrise to sunset. Heritage Garden is a member of the American Public Gardens organization and also a certified wildlife sanctuary recognized by the National Wildlife Federation in 2011. Located at 30592 Jedediah Smith Road at the corner of Cabrillo Avenue. Parking is plentiful and there is no charge for admission.

Sugarplum Zoo & Chocolates is indeed a unique place to visit. Here Lani and her husband combined their love of animals and chocolates to create this fascinating place for visitors to enjoy. Some of the animals include Zeus the camel; Perseus the trumpeter hornbill; Eros the capybaras from South America; Noel & Pluto the alpacas; Ophellia the water buffalo; and Aurora the zebra. Stop in to their gift shop to sample and purchase their delicious variety of homemade chocolates. Located at 39695 Berenda Road (951) 239-8694.


Arrive hungry at:

Toast Cafe which is by all stretches of the imagination a one-of-a kind delicious brunch and lunch venue.Their menu includes such specialties as Tiramisu, apple pie or creme brulee French toast; crab cake Benedict; shrimp and grits and a beer & bacon flight. You will not go away hungry! Located at 31093 Temecula Parkway (951) 252-2500


Stay and Play

After a full day of touring, kick back and send your cares packing at the landmark Pechanga Resort & Casino, California’s first AAA Four Diamond Resort with its new North Tower. Comfort and luxury is offered in every one of its 522 rooms, spa suites, one bedroom suites and executive suites. Amenities include a 4.5 acre tropical pool complex The Cove, with private cabanas and Coveside Grill. There’s a fully equipped Health Club complete with Flex Fitness Systems weight machines, cardio machines and free weights. To ease away the strain and stress head over to the Spa for a variety of relaxing massages and body treatments,. For a fabulous fine-dining experience or a quick bite you’ll find it at one of the resort’s restaurants: The Lobby Bar & Grill; Umi Sushi & Oysters Bar; Blazing Noodles; Buffet; Journey’s End; Bamboo; Pechanga Cafe; and Temptation; Food Walk or Kelsey’s Blend. Paisano’s Italian Ristorante has great food and a romantic atmosphere.

Try your luck in the unending casino with more than 4500 of the hottest slots and table games, or enjoy golfing on the challenging course.

Located at 45000 Pechanga Parkway. For information and reservations phone 888-PECHANGA, 888-732-4264 or



For additional information contact the Temecula Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau: Phone (888) 363-2852 or

No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.