Cougar Vineyard & Winery
In 2005, Rick and Jennifer Buffington purchased the property upon which rests Cougar Vineyard & Winery. The winery publicly opened following the 2006 crush and featured Italian varietals, a particular favorite of the Buffingtons. The winery produces approximately 5,000 cases per year from its vineyards. These Italian varietals include Cortese, Pinot Grigio, Sangiovese, Aglianico, Vermentino, Primitivo and Brunello Sangiovese.
The Buffingtons enjoy Italian wines and feel the Temecula climate is well suited to these grapes. Several of the Cougar varietals are produced nowhere else in the United States. Some of these rare vines are the Montepulicano, Malvasia Bianca, Sagrantino, Nebbiolo, NegroAmaro, Arneis and Branchetto d’Acqui. Visitors to the tasting room can enjoy a taste of these unique wines. For further education on these Italian varietals, the winery also has a winery facility tour. Mr. and Mrs. Buffington fully revel in the process of winemaking and wish to highlight the production process. The winery production tour features the facility, equipment, vineyard management and wine tasting with cheese and berry pairings. This tour is by reservation.
In addition to the tasting room and the facilities tour, Cougar Vineyard & Winery has a gift shop, a gourmet deli, a picnic area and wine club. Visitors to the winery also may enjoy live music on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Wine enthusiasts can plan a visit while touring other wineries on the De Portola Wine Trail. In the spirit of joy and welcome, the winery also hosts what it terms “Hawaiian Shirt Thursdays”. Hawaiian shirt-wearing patrons can receive a discount on a bottle of wine.