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Thornton Winery – 30th Annual Champagne Summer Series

When this year’s Champagne Summer Concert Series gets underway at Thornton Winery, it will mark a milestone. 30 years of great music at Temecula’s landmark winery. The full schedule was recently released, and you can find it in this month’s entertainment section. Director of Operations, Tonya Wake, told me most artists have already been confirmed. Jeffrey Osborne, Dave Koz, Kenny G, Michael McDonald, Chris Botti, Brian Culbertson and Chris Isaak will all be returning to the Thornton Champagne stage. “Most of the best ones will be here along with a few new people.”

Formerly known as the Champagne Jazz series, Wake felt it was important to recognize it’s not just jazz, noting artists including Boz Scaggs, Melissa Etheridge and America have all performed at Thornton. Winery Chairman, John Thornton, says he’s delighted to reach the 30-year mark, but pledges “31 will be even better!” Thornton also offers Friday night concerts, with a tribute band scheduled the last Friday of the month through the end of October.

Executive Chef, Ceasar Solarzano, will continue the popular Gourmet Supper Package, but he “wants to change them up a bit.” After having lunch with both John and Steve Thornton and Tonya at Café Champagne, I can attest diners will be in for a real treat.

The venue has a capacity of about 650 people who come not just from the Temecula Valley, but from far and wide, too. Guests regularly visit from both Nevada and Arizona and many come year after year. The intimate setting allows concertgoers to feel like they’re part of something extraordinary.

Winemaker, David Vergari, has been racking up awards left and right. Thornton’s sparkling wines have recently received six gold medals. The Brut Reserve picked up platinum. “We’re winning just one after another,” John Thornton said. “Compared to the others in the competitions, they’re just the best.” You can enjoy these award-winning wines while attending any of the concerts this summer.

Thornton Winery is located at 32575 Rancho California Road in Temecula. You can check out this year’s lineup at


Written by Tom Plant

Why not experience Temecula Wine Country with a guide who knows the area perhaps as well or better than anyone else. You can reach Tom Plant at (951) 907-9701 or via email at

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