Visiting Our Vineyards
Vitagliano Winery: New Winery Welcomes Guests with Ambiance and Great Wine
By Susan J. Montgomery It’s hard to imagine a more idyllic setting than Vitagliano Vineyards and Winery,
which recently opened its tasting room in the Temecula Valley Wine Country. Just imagine . . . a serene lake with meandering geese and beautiful fountains, the sooth- ing sounds of tumbling waterfalls over rocks, and inviting bonfires that are perfect for cozying up with good friends while sipping a glass of superb wine. Without question, this is one of the most enchanting and romantic settings in the wine country. Located on ten acres of rolling hills, the site has been the home for the past ten
years of Lake Oak Meadows, a picturesque, secluded event venue in the heart of the wine country. Lake Oak Meadows and Vitagliano Winery are owned by the Aglios. When Frank first purchased the property about 24 years ago, it was a horse boarding and training ranch, but eventually they realized what a perfect place it would be for couples wanting a private setting for wine country weddings and for other special gatherings. Fortunately, the Aglios were able to bring their extensive experience in planning weddings to their new venture.
Anthony, Lisa and Frank Aglio
Through word-of-mouth, the popularity of their venue grew and the wedding and event business flourished. It only seemed logical, since Lake Oak Meadows was located in the heart of wine
country, that they would also plant grapes. So about two years after creating their event venue, their wine production venture was also launched and it has grown to produce about 4000 cases annually. Until recently, the winery primarily sold its wine to wedding guests, but plans are in place for expanded production to accommodate its new wine club. It isn’t just the setting that is outstanding at Vitagliano. The wines are also excep-
tional with an emphasis on Super Tuscans. The winemaker, Erick Erno, has been at Vitagliano for the past five years. He brings extensive experience and expertise to the table, resulting in the production of exceptional wines that are earning rave reviews. Their cabernets recently won silver medals in the 2016 Inland Empire Magazine com- petition. Right now Vitagliano is producing eight varietals, including Dolcetto, Cabernet
Sauvignon, Riesling, Primitivo, Cinsault, Merlot and Muscat Canelli. Most grapes are sourced locally from the winery’s own vineyards and from other Temecula area vine- yards. Because of the many eucalyptus trees on the property, Vitagliano’s estate wines have hints of this delectable fragrance and flavor. Wine production, including fermentation and pressing, takes place right on the
property and a bottling truck comes in when needed. Owner Frank Aglio says, “We are 100 percent committed to producing high quality
wine here. Our goal is to make the best wine possible and pro- vide an exceptional tasting ex- perience for our guests.”
Visiting Our Vineyards
View of the Lake and Tasting Room
Enter the Tasting Room Through this Beautiful Courtyard.
Vitagliano’s approach is unique in the
wine country since the winery is open to wine club members on select days and for special occasions. While the tasting room does not have regular hours, it will have many wonderful events for members. In order to introduce prospective members to Vitagliano, in January the winery was open to the public every Friday night, and most Saturdays and Sundays, for tastings, live music and food. On Tuesdays, it was open for tastings, featuring a Taco Tuesday menu. A new calendar will be posted on- line each month with a listing of events for members who can also bring guests who may be interested in joining the wine club. Wine shipments or pick-ups are quarterly with three bottles selected by the winemaker. The charming Tuscan-styled tasting room where events are centered is sur-
rounded by comfortable outdoor seating and has a rooftop with breath-taking views of the valley. Anthony Aglio, Frank’s personable son and the property’s manager, says, “We
love how each of our guests enjoy the intimate setting without the disturbance of large tasting groups or the general public. We want to preserve a serene atmosphere in which people can relax, enjoy tastings and learn about our wines.” The wine club is already attracting enthusiastic members as a result of opening
events held in December and January. We were at one of these events and heard many glowing compliments about the wonderful wine, beautiful setting and attentive staff. I can personally attest to the delicious elegance of the wines we tasted. Vitagliano Winery and Lake Oak Meadows are both family ventures with involve-
ment from all five of the owners’ children. In addition to Anthony, Lisa and Frank’s other children have different roles in both the wedding and winery businesses. And they have five grandchildren who may someday step into the businesses too. Frank points out that with their winery the family is carrying on a tradition origi-
nating from their roots in Italy. The winery is named after Frank’s grandfather, Guy Vitagliano, who was passionate about growing grapes in the tiny coastal town of Santa Maria, on the Italian island of Salina near Sicily, and who had a dream of bringing Ital- ian wines to America. He and his family immigrated to America via Ellis Island, first settling on the east coast. Eventually several family members, including Frank’s family, moved to the wine mecca of California. An award-winning Super Tuscan blend, Benedetto, is a favorite Vitagliano wine that honors the family’s winemaking traditions. The winery’s slogan — Vitale Di Vita, meaning “Vital to Life” in Italian, captures
the spirit and passion of this wonderful addition to the Temecula Valley Wine Country. Check the winery’s website for events coming up in February and March, includ-
ing a gala Valentine’s night dinner party. You can learn more about Vitagliano by at- tending one of the tasting room openings coming up soon and listed on the website—http://www.vitaglianowines.com/
. You can join the Wine Club via the winery’s website or by emailing
. At some point, this private wine club may reach ca- pacity, but it is now still accepting new members.
Photos with this article taken by Todd Montgomery.