Valley News -

By Jeff Pack

Callaway and Mount Palomar celebrating 50 years in 2019


Last updated 3/14/2019 at 5:14pm

Jeff Pack photo

Mount Palomar Winery is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

Vincenzo and Audrey Cilurzo got it all started in 1967 when they purchased 40 acres of property in what would become Temecula Wine Country.

It was Ely Callaway who commercialized winemaking in Temecula when Callaway Vineyard and Winery began farming grapes in 1969 and opened the first Temecula Winery in 1974.

John H. Poole started Mount Palomar's vineyards, also in 1969, and opened the winery to the public in 1975.

Try to imagine it back then – long, dusty dirt roads leading to acres and acres of freshly planted grape vines – with all three owners wondering if this whole winemaking idea was going to work.

Fifty years later and those wineries that were born in 1969 on what used to be called Long Valley Road and is now Rancho California Road are celebrating the milestone.

"This year we are proud to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Mount Palomar Winery in Temecula, the second oldest winery in Southern California Wine Country," Kris May, director of operations at Mount Palomar Winery, said. "It's been an incredible journey that's spanned a half-century of growth and improvement in wine country, starting with John H. Poole's small plantings in 1969 and expanding up to 55 acres of vineyards today, and we're grateful to have been a part of it. We could not have gotten here without the support and appreciation of our wine club members and other wine-loving customers, and we are looking forward to a bright and successful future at Mount Palomar Winery."

Heather Davis said Mount Palomar is planning a couple of special events to celebrate this year.

"We are celebrating our 50th Anniversary with two events, one a wine club exclusive and one that is open for everyone who purchases a ticket," Davis said. "For our wine club members, we are celebrating with Sunhats & Sangria, a new event coming up this April that is complimentary for our Estate and Chateau wine club members. We will be serving a selection of housemade sangrias and other wines with food pairings, and offering library wines for our club members to purchase that day only. Invitations for this spring-themed club event will be going out in the next two weeks."

The 50th Anniversary Celebration is a ticketed event planned for June, with ticket sales available soon.

"We are offering a food and wine pairing event featuring exclusive wines, carefully chosen food pairings, and house sparkling wine," Davis said. "This anniversary cocktail party will only be open to ticket holders, with an exclusive discount for wine club members."

When Poole started the vineyards 1969, the radio electronics engineer and station owner wanted to establish a new agricultural business and enjoy life in the country.

It wasn't long until he opened a tasting room while serving as the winemaker, inviting guests to visit one of the most expansive properties in Temecula Wine Country today.

A decade later, his son, Peter Poole, took over operation of the winery and claimed at the time to be the first to introduce the Mediterranean grape varieties to the region.

Today, the winery is owned by Louidar LLC and uses two brands: Mount Palomar and Castelletto. The Castelletto name, which means Little Castle in Italian, comes from Poole's wife, Olivia de Reya Poole.

For more information about Mount Palomar and upcoming anniversary events and tickets for sale, visit

Callaway Vineyard and Winery was one of a few Temecula wineries producing and selling wine and many credit founder Ely Callaway for establishing Temecula Valley as a serious wine producing region.

Along with veteran viticulturist, John Moramarco, Callaway found what he believed to be the perfect spot to plant his vines, and the rest is history.

In 1981, the entrepreneur sold the business to Hiram Walker and settled into retirement for a short period of time before getting involved in the golf industry. Callaway is one of the leading names in the golf industry today.

Callaway has enjoyed several achievements during its 50-year history including Callaway's estate bottled 1974 White Riesling being the only wine served during a visit by Queen Elizabeth II, and his Royal Highness, The Prince Duke of Edinburgh, at a luncheon at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City.

It marked the first time in U.S. viticultural history that a dry table wine from Southern California was chosen to be served on the East Coast at an international diplomatic event, according to the winery.

The Lin family of San Diego purchased the winery in 2005 and still own it today. Callaway Vineyard & Winery wines are only available at the winery and are not available in any retail stores.

Callaway is expected to get back to the Valley News regarding any special events the winery has planned to celebrate the anniversary in the coming week.

SIP Temecula Passport continues

The Temecula Valley Winegrowers Association continues to offer a special deal that is perfect for locals looking to save a little money with their wine tasting at roughly 25 participating wineries.

Jeff Pack photo

Mount Palomar Winery is a SIP Temecula Passport participant.

The SIP Temecula Passport is an exclusive weekday discount pass for guests to taste wine at the time and place of their choosing with a standard wine tasting flight at five wineries for one fee and a savings of up to $30. Guests can take advantage of special offers only available to them as passport holders.

The passports must be purchased online in advance, can be used on multiple days, but cannot be used for groups larger than eight people.

Excluded holidays include Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

For more information, to view the list of participating wineries and to purchase tickets, visit, call (800) 801-9463 or email [email protected]

Jeff Pack can be reached by email at [email protected]


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