Temecula Grapevine

Your source for Temecula, CA and Southwest Riverside County lifestyle, events, & area information

Follow the tracks to Cougar Vineyards and Winery on the De Portola Wine Trail


Cougar Vineyard and Winery in Temecula’s De Portola Wine Trail —  2010 Montepulciano (c) Crispin Courtenay

Cougar Vineyard and Winery is a world away on the De Portola Wine Trail in Temecula, California. This gem sits high atop the De Portola hills, with the grand, Tuscan style wine tasting room focused to the South providing a picture perfect view of Mount Palomar through the many bay windows.


Out on the patio, adairondack chairs coupled together for the display of “purple mountain majesty” across Mount Palomar on the De Portola Wine Trail in Temecula, CA  (c) Crispin Courtenay

Upon entry, this lofty space is graced by gorgeous rich wood bars, hand carved by one of Temecula’s favorite jack-of-all-trades, Larry Coco of The Winemaker Tours. The loving attention to detail, providing spacious tables for guests to linger, enjoy their picnic from Sangio’s Deli, or to curl up in the comfy chairs, fireside, with a glass of delectable Montepulciano.

Italian Wine Country, varietals planted and harvested by Cougar Vineyard and Winery in Temecula, CA

Italian Wine Country, varietals planted and harvested by Cougar Vineyard and Winery in Temecula, CA

The differences in Cougar Vineyard and Winery to others on the De Portola Wine Trail, as well as Temecula Wine Country proper, are in the Italian only varietals they grow here. Owners Rick and Jennifer Buffington know what works best for Temecula Valley, and grow and harvest their estate-grown Italian varietals including several incredibly unique varietals in the United States. At Cougar, you’ll find: Lambrusca di Alessandria, Brachetto, Prosecco, Falangini and Nero Amaro. Cougar also grows more common varietals, such as: Sangiovese, Aglianico, Primitivo, Montepulciano, Vermentino, Pinot Grigio and Arneis.


Tasting Room Manager, Chris Baptiste, educates as he pours, making him one of the more favored assets of the Cougar Vineyard and Winery team in Temecula, Ca. (c) Crispin Courtenay

Each varietal is chosen based upon Temecula’s unique geographical and weather conditions, very similar to much of Italy, and the well-versed winery staff thrives on educating mid-week winery visitors, and weekend guests on the lesser known varietals grown, harvested, and crushed here at Cougar Vineyard.


Phenomenal deli, the perfect place for a mid-week picnic at Cougar Deli.. Grab a turkey club, or roast beef panini and then grab a seat on the patio to enjoy the view… (c) Crispin Courtenay

Temecula Grapevine enjoyed the Ron’s Roast Beef sandwich — a ridiculously, eye-rolling affair perfectly paired with my new favorite varietal, Montepulciano. The sandwich boasts succulent Boar’s Head Roast Beef, Monterey Jack Cheese with Jalapeno, Red Leaf Lettuce, Tomato, Red Onion, Bacon and Pepperhouse Gourmaise Dressing. Do NOT make the mistake of sharing this sandwich. This is one to savor, nibble through a few glasses, all while taking in that stellar view through the pane-glass windows.


Surrounded by olive trees, Cougar Vineyard and Winery continues its old world feel for this home of Italian varietals. (c) Crispin Courtenay

You’ll notice the multitude of olive trees, heavy laden with ripening fruit, begging to be pressed, furthering the Italian landscape feel of Cougar.


Overcast or with the sun shining bright, Cougar draws you in with its amazing selection of Italian Varietals, then keeps you around to enjoy the spectacular view of the De Portola Wine Trail in Temecula, CA. (c) Crispin Courtenay

Cougar Vineyards has become the winery that local Temecula recognizes as a mid-week destination, gathering afternoons to enjoy excellent wine, food, and conversation. The room buzzes with laughter, light, and the hum of blissful wine tasting for those who wish to sample a bit of Italy in Southern California.


Wine club members of Cougar Vineyard and Winery, Rick West, and fiance Kelli both agree, “Cougar is amazing. We’ve waited so long for the new tasting room, and it is incredibly inviting. Warm, with a great view, and wonderful atmosphere.”
Kelli adds, “And the turkey club is to die for!” (c) Crispin Courtenay

Cougar offers its wine club members many exclusive benefits, from typical quarterly wines, discounts, and complimentary tastings for members, and “members only” exclusive and sponsored events, to the more unique membership that offers a a three-year commitment, increased case offerings, and culminates with the member keeping their own signature Cougar barrel. Don’t forget to ask about that one!

For more information on Cougar Vineyard and Winery, visit them online: http://www.cougarvineyards.com/
Address: 39870 De Portola Rd, Temecula, CA
Phone:(951) 491-0825

About Ashley Ludwig

Ashley Ludwig is an Editor for Patch News, Orange County and Los Angeles. She is also an inspirational romantic suspense author.

4 comments on “Follow the tracks to Cougar Vineyards and Winery on the De Portola Wine Trail

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