More than 50 years ago, Vince and Audrey Cilurzo drove through Temecula, and encountered a gentleman who told him he believed the area would be ideal for growing wine grapes. They did their homework and were intrigued enough to buy some land and plant a vineyard. One afternoon, a gentleman drove up, introduced himself as Eli Callaway, and said he needed them to tell him everything he needed to know to open a winery. The Cilurzos planted Temecula’s first vineyard, but Callaway Winery was the first to open its doors.
In 2004, a Hungarian couple, Imre and GizellaCziraki, purchased the property in 2004 and named it Bella Vista Winery. Imre started making wine before he turned 10 years old, and has had a passion for the grape ever since.
Walking into Bella Vista’s tasting room is taking a step into the past. Imre and ‘Gizy’ are very hands on, and when you visit you’ll likely be greeted by one or both of them. The tasting room is massive, with a long double-sided bar. Murals of hot air balloons grace the back wall. Their wine list is extensive and several of their wines have won multiple awards which you will notice on the walls.
Have you ever tasted Rozmaring? It’s a white Hungarian grape, slightly sweet. Imre claims no other winery in the US grows this grape or produces its wine. Whatever your tastes in wine might be, you’re certain to find something to suit your palate. From Sauvignon Blanc to Petite Sirah, sparkling Peacock Dance and late harvest wine, Bella Vista offers it all.
At the top of the property is an enormous picnic area and a pond with three fountains, and a population of ducks and geese. It’s not uncommon to see an egret there. There’s a sweeping, panoramic view of the valley.
Bella Vista offers live music every Saturday from 1 – 4:30. Make a point of visiting. Located at 41220 Calle Contento, Bella Vista is open 10 – 5 daily.