A beautiful image of Avensole Winery at sunset.

The Storied History of Avensole Winery

In the land where the ground is sandy, the mornings are crisp, lies the Lytton Family estate. With sunshine hugging every corner of the vineyard, the sea of vines produces some of Temecula Valley’s finest fruit. 

Nestled in the heart of Temecula Valley, our estate grown varieties Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon have been carefully nurtured for over three decades. This adventure began when Temecula Pioneers, Vince and Audrey Cilurzo, a Hollywood couple with careers in the film industry, purchased 100 acres of land now known as Rancho California Road. Taking a leap of faith in a world of wine, they planted the first commercial vineyard, dedicating their time to grape growing and winemaking. This new venture eventually led to our estate’s first plantings of Zinfandel! The Cilurzo family successfully established a reputation of producing exceptional red wines in Temecula Valley, an achievement the wine industry did not expect from this emerging new wine region. Their dedication to quality wine was evident in every bottle and in return became a shining example of the region’s commitment to excellence. 

Temecula Valley’s wine community flourished the following years, resulting in more families committing to the art of wine. In 1984, it was declared an American Viticultural Area (AVA), signifying its progress and growth in the industry. With the regions newfound recognition, that same year Bud and Maurice Van Roekel embraced the spirit of the valley and purchased 50 acres of land from the Cilurzo’s. While building their family winery, they planted our estates old-world varieties of Cabernet Sauvignon and Gewurztraminer. Building a legacy of their own, their commitment to the vineyard to the cellar led to the production of award-winning wines recognized throughout California! 

Fast forward to the early 2010s, where our story begins. Adventurous siblings Sheldon Lytton and Maribeth Levine, were on a quest to find the perfect California vineyard to embark on their dream of owning a family winery. Traveling all across Southern California, it was one afternoon they took a break in their search, and travel to Van Roekel Winery & Vineyards to enjoyed a summer concert among the vines. There they were immersed back into the rolling hills from their many summers in Austria. Sipping on their mother’s favorite varietal, Gewurztraminer, it was then they knew this was the estate they were destined to build their family dream of producing premium wines, and cultivating a space to share many of life’s special moments.

A historical photo of the estate where Avensole Winery was established.

The Van Roekels passed the baton to the Lytton family the summer of 2014, and so the race began! Working tirelessly day in and day out, the family renovated every corner with intention. The Lytton family aimed to honor the rich history of the land while creating a welcoming atmosphere for wine lovers, keeping in mind the Temecula spirit. They carefully cultivated the space with hospitality at the forefront, ensuring the land’s legacy persisted for future generations. Susan was out on the grounds beautifying our landscape planting roses. Shel was in the vineyard, planting our new addition, Heritage Zinfandel. Maribeth meticulously memorizing the layout of each building and thoughtfully strategizing the decor for every new area, from the member lounge all the way to the restaurant. In the mist of the renovation, harvest was around the corner. The Lytton Family wanted to encapsulate this moment of their dreams coming true with the creation of their first wine! This dynamic team, hand harvest fruit from the legendary Zinfandel vines planted by Temecula Valley’s first family, the Cilurzo family. From this fruit, they crush, pressed and fortified it with brandy to create the first estate wine, Primitivo Port. You can come in today and savor the excitement of the legacy that is our beginning!

A beautiful image of Avensole Winery at sunset.

Aging like fine wine, opening a family winery does not happen overnight. Wines needing to be produced to stock the tasting room, thus 2015 was the first vintage the Lytton family could work from bud to bottle. Sheldon was excited to get his hands dirty to make his first wine collection with well-known winemaker, Tim Kramer. Together, they tended the vines from dormant season to harvest, and began the wine production to produced diverse selection of wines, a wine for every palate. From sweet balanced whites to crisp dry roses, and let’s not forget the bold, oaky reds. With our wine collection growing it was ready just in time for our grand opening during the summer of 2016. 

This dynamic team had a desire to transport guests to the old world in the modern era. They curate each space with the wine enthusiast in mind, creating a unique experience that combines contemporary elegance with classical charm. The result is a destination that captures the essence of wine-making, pairing it with the finer things in life to create a truly unforgettable experience. Now what will they call this newfound destination. Avensole, a term which originated from the family, embodies the very essence of an exceptional journey, encapsulating the final step of their discovery of this unexplored paradise.

A beautiful image of a hot air balloon overlooking a vineyard in Temecula Valley.

Now you can say the rest is history but this is just our beginning. Living in the present and ready to continue to share our story and embrace yours! We hope you can pay a visit to our family estate and explore the vines, along with the delicious estate wine selection through the years. Whether you’re a wine enthusiast or simply looking to escape to another time, we hope Avensole Winery is the perfect retreat for you.

To learn more about our piece of paradise and the wonders of Temecula, book a winery tour with us

At Avensole Winery we offer a “Cork & Fork Wine Tour” which you can learn more about and book by clicking here. We also offer a very unique “Wine & Chocolate Experience” which you can read about and book the experience with this link.

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