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Temecula Wine Country (Images of America)

Vineyards flourish in Temecula because of the ideal climate. The name Temecula is taken from Luiseno words that mean "where the sun and earth were created." At an altitude of 1,500 feet, the filtered sunlight and an ocean breeze that drifts through a gap in the mountains coax the decomposed granite soil of Temecula Valley to produce high-quality grapes for premium wines today just as they did over a century ago. From the time the Spanish padres entered the valley and made sacramental wines and French and Italian immigrants brought vines from the Old World, its grape harvests were unknown to the rest of the world. In 1967, Vincenzo and Audrey Cilurzo came from Hollywood to plant the first commercial vineyard, followed by Ely Callaway, who built the first commercial winery in 1974, and soon the Temecula Wine Country was home to 14 wineries. The annual Temecula Valley Balloon and Wine Festival, started in 1983, draws as many as 50,000 attendees.

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