Wine Tasting On A Budget

Wine Tasting

Summer is coming to an end and that means Mrs. Out of State Investor (OSI) will need to head back into the classroom to begin her new school year. Before that happens, we wanted to take a quick trip somewhere that wouldn’t break the bank.

We thought about Disneyland, but tickets run about $100 each and the thought of being there in August with the summer crowds was far from relaxing. We wanted to go on an overnight getaway, ideally 2 nights, and stay within as small of a budget as possible.

Mrs. OSI and I both love to drink wine and seriously, what’s more relaxing than wine tasting?  We’re not wine snobs by any stretch. We couldn’t tell you about tannins, jammies, or much about wine legs. Still, we can tell you if we like a certain wine and most importantly, we have fun finding out!

With weather comparable to Napa Valley, Temecula is a popular destination for Southern Californians seeking a quick getaway. Located only 85 miles southeast of Los Angeles, you can drive there in just under 2 hours as long as it’s not rush hour.

So a little getaway to Temecula was in order. We visited a few wineries, ate some delicious food, and out of curiosity, I even checked out some real estate as well (future post).

In this post, I’ll detail what our little getaway cost from our hotel stay, the wine tastings, the food, and entertainment.



Fortunately, I’ve accumulated enough Hilton points from work travel that my 2 nights (Thursday and Friday) stay at the Hampton Inn was completely free. I also usually stay at hotels where hot breakfasts are served. This way, we get our day started off right with a balanced and hot breakfast.  I’ll also usually pack an extra banana, muffin, and water too before heading out of the hotel. The breakfast and the snacks really helps to cut down on food costs while traveling.

Lodging Cost: FREE

Wine Tasting

Wine tasting in Temecula is much cheaper than wineries that you find in Napa Valley up in Northern California. Plus there are many discount tickets available on Groupon as well as 2 for 1 coupons online that really allows one to save. The only catch is that these deals are usually only valid on weekdays, which is why we went tasting on a Thursday and Friday.

We visited 3 wineries in all. The first winery, Mount Palomar, had a Groupon deal going on for 2 tasting tickets for the price of one. At $16, we both had 6 tastings from their wine menu.

TemeculaThe 2nd winery we went to was Oak Mountain. They’re known for having southern California’s first wine cave where hundreds of oak wine barrels are stored at a comfortable 60 degrees. We decided to get a tour of the cave cellar along with 2 tasting tickets (6 tastes each).  This was another Groupon deal that also came with a food pairing platter of assorted cheeses, meats, and crackers. The total cost? $49!

The last winery is one of my favorites. Leoness Cellars.  My sister happens to be a wine club member here and asked me if I could do her the favor of picking up her wine shipment since I was in town. Along with the box of wine, it’s customary for wineries to include free tasting tickets to members. Even though I wasn’t a member and was only there to pick up someone else’s shipment, they still gave us 2 free wine tasting tickets. Each ticket included 6 tastings. Score!

Wine tastings at 3 wineries plus a guided tour cost: $65


Day 1

1909 – Our first night of dinner before heading out to a standup comedy show was in this casual gastro pub called 1909. Nothing fancy here. We were actually pressed for time after returning from our first winery and didn’t want to miss the standup comedy show.  My wife and I split an appetizer as well as a large chicken sandwich with fries and each had waters. Total cost with tip came out to $23.

Day 2

Lunch was nothing special. Luckily we had a big breakfast and we knew our Cave Winery tour came with food. So this was a light pizza snack that ran us $15 total.

Gourmet Italia – This place was amazing! If you ever find yourself in Temecula, please stop by this authentic Italian restaurant. It’s run by Alex, a Sicilian who runs his restaurant with such passion and love for Italian food. Unfortunately, the food was so good that I didn’t even think to take pictures of it to include in this post. Not to mention, I’m not the type who takes a photo of what they eat anyways. So all you creative readers, just imagine a large burrata filled with fresh mozarella and ricotta that is heavenly, a pesto flavored potato gnocchi, and a rich spaghetti carbonara. Oh I love carbs! We finished the meal with a free cannoli because we checked in on Yelp. Okay, so what’s the damage. Dinner with tip came out to $67.

Food cost: $105


Our first evening, we went out to a comedy club in Old town Temecula. They had a special event going on which only cost $5 per person. We had some additional drinks and shared a lot of laughs. Compared to LA, the drinks here were pretty cheap. Total cost of the comedy club tickets and drinks came out to $35.

The 2nd night, well call us a boring couple. We were so exhausted from the full day of wine tasting in the scorching heat that after dinner we just went back to our hotel, watched some Olympics, and called it a night.

Entertainment cost: $35

Total Wine Tasting Getaway = $205

Let’s recap our costs.Temecula

Lodging: 0
Food: $105
Entertainment: $35
Wine tasting: $65
Total: $205

So in total, we received 6 wine tasting tickets (equivalent to about 36 tastings or so…. oh I can’t keep track of the exact amount) at 3 different wineries, a cave cellar guided wine tour, 2 nights lodging, a night of standup comedy, and all of our meals for a grand total of $205!

Theme of our trip:

You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy wine and that’s kind of the same thing.

That pretty much concluded our little Getaway to Temecula. Drank lots of wine and enjoyed every minute of it with Mrs. OSI.

I confess, I also did a little research on the Temecula real estate market while I was there. In the next post, I’ll go into detail about what I learned about Temecula’s real estate market. To be continued …

What mini getaways do you like to take that doesn’t break the bank? Leave a comment below.

4 thoughts on “Wine Tasting On A Budget

  1. I took a trip out there too years back for some wine tasting and also checked out the comedy club. Thanks for this reminder. Will need to do it again but may only do one night!

    • Hey Mas! Yeah, 1 night is more than enough. I’ve even done a couple day trips in the past for occasions like Mother’s Day which are always fun too.

  2. What a fun trip! I love heading out to Temecula for wine tasting. My favorite place is Wilson Creek and their almond champagne. Though between the hubby and me, we’d easily blow through $200 lol. Besides Groupon, you mentioned online 2 for 1 coupons, but can you share where?

    Certainly not a getaway that does NOT break the bank, but the hubs and I love going to San Diego’s Gaslamp quarter for a night or two. Lots of good restaurants and nightlife. I suppose if you didn’t plan to go out for too many drinks or to a fancy dinner and planned to Airbnb instead of a posh hotel, a reasonable budget couple probably be met. There’s Legoland for the kids and SD Zoo so plenty to do for families.

    • Hi Julie! Check out for coupons. They change every so often, but always worth taking a look before heading out there. We’ve been out to SD’s Gaslamp quarter and have fun out there too! Haven’t been there in a few years, but you’re right that it’s not necessarily a place that is easy to stay within budget.

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