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Wine Tour in Temecula, Califonia
via 2016 Tesla Modex X P90DL
January 2, 2019

Click here for a slideshow of the below photos.

Our 2016 Tesla Model X P90DL

I received an email from BevMo promoting a sale of the Priority Wine Pass for only $39.99 for one year instead of the usual $59.99 . According to the Priority Wine Pass website the list price is $120 but even they have it on sale for 50% off at $59.99. The BevMo sale for only $39.99 might still be available. You can see if this link still works:

The Priority Wine Pass provides complimentary, discounted, and elevated wine tastings at over 350 wineries throughout California, Oregon and Washington. It also offers many other discounts including discounts on wine purchases, wine tours, wine events, hotels, and more. Most wineries offer 2-for-1 or 50% off wine tastings to pass holders. I could see that it would only take 2 or 3 wine tastings to make up for the cost of the Priority Wine Pass. It seems like a good deal to me so I purchased it. Actually I purchased 2 of them, one for myself and one for my wife, as we usually take other people with us when we go wine tasting.

There are a lot of wine venues near where we live in Vancouver, Washington, both in Washington and in Oregon. So, we were sure we'd be able to make a lot of use of the Priority Wine Pass near our home. But at the moment we were at our Anaheim Vacation House in Orange County in Southern California. The closest wine tasting region to Anaheim is Temecula, about 50 miles and a 50 to 70 minute drive from our house. We decided to make a day of wine tasting in Temecula with some friends.

It is really a good idea to have a Designated Driver if you plan to spend the day tasting wines at 3, 4 or 5 wineries and then drive home. Since all of us wanted to do the wine tastings, that would be a problem. I thought of staying the night in Temecula but that could be an expensive hotel bill with 5 of us going. Plus, it didn't solve the problem of driving from winery to winery, though winery shuttle tours are available in Temecula. Next I thought of hiring a limousine for the wine tour but that would be pretty expensive considering we'd be touring for at least 4 hours plus another 2 hours round-trip drive from Anaheim to Temecula.

I started wonding if a service might exist where we could just hire a driver to drive our own car. Our 2016 Tesla Model X P90DL is a very fine car and just perfect for going wine tasting. The only thing we were missing was a driver to take us around who would not be partaking in the wine tasting. So I did a web search to find drivers available for hire in Orange County. A few results came up. The most credible service appeared to be one called

Looking at their website we found they could provide us with an experienced professional driver for $40 per hour. As a new customer, they would even give us the first hour for free! We planned the total outing to be 8 hours so that would be a total of $320. Subtracting our free hour the cost would only be $280. The service told us the $40 per hour was all includive. It even included the gratuity to the driver though customers would often add a bit more at their discretion. We decided to add an additional $40 tip if the day worked out well. We thought it was a great deal to have someone drive us around all day for 8 hours for a total of $320 especially considering there would not even be any cost for fuel for the Tesla.

Business Card of Shelley Morgan, our driver from

We arranged for the driver to arrive at our Anaheim house at 10:30 AM and she arrive right on time. Our driver was Shelley Morgan. She was an experienced driver and had been driving limousines for years. She had never driven a Tesla before but she had done her homework by watching a number of videos about the Tesla. As long as one does not try to use any of the advanced features of a Tesla, it really only takes about 5 minutes to explain to an experienced driver how to drive a Tesla. So, that is what I did and we were off and going!

Shelley drove the Tesla cautiously which I was pleased with. I'm not used to being a passenger in my own car. I rarely ever get to sit in the passenger seat in a Tesla, especially in a rear passenger seat. That is a bit of a shame as our other Tesla, a 2015 Tesla Model S P85DL, has the rare 2 Executive Rear Seats instead of the usual 3 person bench seat. The rear seat passengers in that car get to feel just as comfortable as the front seat passengers.

Click here for a slideshow of the below photos.

The Pinnacle Restaurant at
The Falkner Winery

It took about an hour to drive from our Anaheim house to the first winery in Temecula. One of the members of our group has difficulty walking more than short distances and has a Handicapped Pass. That was very useful in finding parking close to the front door at each winery.

The Pinnacle Restaurant and the view from the restaurant.

Out first winery stop was The Pinnacle Restaurant at The Falkner Winery. Arriving early at about 11:45 AM the restaurant was empty. We had made a reservation for 5 people and they had set aside a table for us right by the windows and the beautiful view of the vineyards. It was good that we arrived early as a number of other people started arriving at noon.

Restaurant wine list.

Originally we did not plan on drinking any wine in the restaurant since we planned right after lunch to go try their wines in their wine tasting room. However, on Wednesdays they offer half-price on bottles of wine. We didn't want to pass that up. Though a lot of grape varietals are grown in Temecula, it has an emphasas on growing Italian style wines. So, we decided to order a bottle of the Falkner Winery 2015 Amante® Super Tuscan Style wine. We all really liked the wine that we selected.

My wife, Barbara Cepinko

Left: Our friend, Linda Lopez
Right: Linda's daughter-in-law and son, Rumei & Jason Lopez

We had the 2015 Amante® Super Tuscan wine which we thought was very good.

The View From The Restaurant


Left: Hamburger & Fries; Right: Wine & Pasta Dish

All the food at the restaurant was excellent. We'd definitely consider returning to this restaurant on some future trip to Temecula.

Photo of some of the Temecula Vineyards.

The Wine Tasting Room at
The Falkner Winery

Here they offer 4 tastings for $10. That would have been $50 for the 5 of us but with the Priority Wine Pass the tastings only cost us $25. Already we've saved $25 with the pass! My wife and I each selected different red wines so that we both got to try a total of 8 different wines. We skipped trying the 2015 Amante® Super Tuscan as we already had that one in the restaurant.

Jason, Rumei and Barbara.

We tasted most of the red wines and the 2015 Syrah was our favorite.
We purchased a bottle to take home.

The Cave Tasting Room at
Oak Mountain Winery

Here they offer 6 tastings for $12 during weekdays, $15 on weekends. At most of the wineries you pay in advance and they give you tickets, one for each wine you are entitled to taste. But at this winery, for an extra $5 per person, you could go sit at a table and they would bring you all 6 wines at once on a tall wine glass holder tree. You can see these wine glass trees in some of the photos below. With 5 of us doing tastings, our table ended up looking like a forest of wine glass trees!

Normally the tastings for the 5 of us on a weekday would have cost $12 X 5 = $60. With the 2-For-1 Priority Wine Pass we only paid $30, though we had to add another $5 x 5 = $25 on top of that to get all the wines at once brought to our table. So at this winery the Priority Wine Pass saved us another $30. Total savings so far is now up to $55.

The Wine Tasting Selection at The Cave: Sweet & White

The Wine Tasting Selection at The Cave: Red and our tower of wines

Left: My wife, Barbara Cepinko; Right: Me, Steve Grande

Left: Me, Steve Grande; Right: Rumei Lopez, Barbara Cepinko and Linda Lopez

Rumei & Jason Lopez

Left: Me and Linda; Right: Rumei and Jason

View from the Oak Mountain Winery

My wife & I in front of our Tesla Model X at the Oak Mountain Winery

The Wine Tasting Room at
Wiens Family Cellars

Wiens Family Cellars offers a tasting of 6 wines for $20. It would have cost us $100 for the 5 of us but it only cost $50 with the Priority Wine Pass, a savings of $50. For the 3 wineries we have gone to so far we have saved $105. That is already enough savings to have covered the cost of the Priority Wine Passes, and it is only the second day of the year!

The Wine Tasting Room at
Hart Family Winery

The Hart Winery offers 6 tastings for $15. It would have cost us $75 for the 5 of us but only $37.50 with the Priority Wine Pass. For the five people at all four wineries we saved a total $142.50 by only paying half price for each tasting. We also got a 10% discount for the bottles that we purchased at some of the wineries because of the wine pass. It seems buying the Priority Wine Passes was definitely worth the purchase.

Click here for a slideshow of the above photos.

After The Hart Winery we headed back to our house in Anaheim. The traffic was good and we were back at the house by about 6:30 PM. The total time of the trip from the moment we left until the moment we returned was about 8 hours. The total cost was 8 hours times $40 per hour for the driver less one free hour for being a first time customer which came to $280. As we had a wonderful day and everything worked out well we did give a $40 tip to the driver which was in addition to the $6 per hour gratuity built into the $40 per hour price. We will definitely consider using again in the future and requesting Shelley for our driver.

A Related Link:

Yes, You Can Tour Santa Barbara Wineries In A Tesla. Here's How.

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