05/28/2014 08:17 am ET Updated Jul 28, 2014

Love Letters: Temecula Wine Country

Originally from Minnesota, Bill Wilson, Owner and CEO of Wilson Creek Winery, moved out to South Pasadena at the age of 7. He grew up there until his family sold their home to invest the money into building the winery. He went off to college in Utah then moved to San Diego where he met his wife. He would have never moved to Temecula had it not been for the winery that called him there. That move ended up being the best decision they ever made.

Dear Temecula,

I want to say "thank you" to you for allowing me and my family to live in such a real and authentic place. Quite simply put, Temecula, you are home to me. This is where I feel safe and at my best. I am very proud to claim you as my own, as the city I live in and as the place where I raise my family. Most destinations are not as family friendly with the wonderful quality of life that you provide. So, thank you for everything you have offered me over the years.

Your gorgeous valley with gentle rolling, vineyard-covered hills are surrounded by four snow-capped peaks in the winter. You provide us with a nice cool afternoon breeze that keeps the temperature 5-10 degrees cooler than other surrounding areas in the summer and for that we are grateful. The breeze also enables us to breathe sparkling clean air and the citrus blossoms provide a beautiful sweet smell of spring.

The first thing each morning my Golden Retrievers wake me up, and I have breakfast with my kids before they head off to school. By this time my dogs are very eager to go on their daily walk to the winery. Each day I walk the dogs through the vineyards from my house to the winery as the site of hot air balloons drift overhead. In the evening, I love to sit in my backyard and watch the sunset through the palm trees, over the vineyards, and the hills that surround us. We have 'sunset alerts' to remind each other to look out the window and thank the Lord that we live in such a beautiful place. For all of this, I thank you, Temecula.

We love to walk the streets of Temecula's Old Town enjoying the eclectic mix of restaurants and wine bars on a warm summer evening. It's hard to say what restaurant is my favorite. I enjoy the Gambling Cowboy and Palumbo's in Old Town. I enjoy Love Boat Sushi with my family, and La Cocina if I am in the mood for Mexican food. Pizza is a toss-up between Rosatti's and Spuntino's. There are some great Italian restaurants in the area all owned by Sicilian immigrants - namely Francesca's, Gourmet Italia, and a new one that just opened up, Zagara's.

What draws me to you the most is the people who live here. The people are genuine, kind and loving people. Anyone coming to visit feels immediately welcome and comfortable here. Almost everyone comes to Temecula from somewhere else - it makes for an eclectic blend of people that just somehow works.

I have purposely not mentioned all of the amazing wine you produce until now. Your land is perfect for growing some of the best wine producing grapes in the world. Temecula Valley Wine Country gives visitors a chance to savor the hundreds of award-winning wines offered by over 35 wineries while enjoying the irresistible charm of the many friendly tasting rooms. Rural in nature, sustainable in farming practices and including an agricultural preserve known as the Citrus/Vineyard zone, you are truly the 'jewel' of Riverside County. Wineries here grow and produce over 50 different varietals of wine. Along with your fabulous wines, you have incredible winery restaurants, intimate bed and breakfast inns, lush resorts, and beautiful picnic grounds. A visit to the various wineries can come in all shapes and sizes, from taking a hot air balloon ride, or a hike through the Santa Rosa Plateau to taking in a round of golf at one of your awesome area courses. And of course if gaming and nightlife is preferred, a visit to Pechanga's world class casino is not to be missed.

Temecula, you are an amazing mix of old (1800's) and new (Master Planned Community) situated adjacent to the lush rolling hills of wine country. Someone once described you to me as 'just over the hills, yet a million miles away' and I think this is true. When I come over the hill, and see the beautiful valley with the spectacular mountains as a back drop, the stress just leaves my body as I get away from the hustle bustle of big city life and I realize I am home. And again I say "thank you".