The Hidden Winery with a Magical History

Surrounded by lush landscaping, the front garden is a favorite place to relax with a glass of red or white.

Row after row of orderly grapevines contour the rolling hills of the secluded Temecula Valley Wine Country. Nestled on a hill and guarded by high hedges rests Briar Rose Winery. It is unique among the other nearby notable wineries, as it owes its architectural heritage to the creative vision of one of Disneyland’s original Imagineers.

With harvest season just around the corner, the grapevines are heavy laden with fruit. “At this time of year there is an energy,” says owner Les Linkogle. “You can feel that they’re getting ready to be gathered in the last few weeks while they mature.”

Labor of Love

Inspired by his wife’s fondness for the Snow White fairytale, Fantasyland architect Beldon Fields constructed the cottage and its surrounding structures five decades ago as a gift to her—a country retreat away from the hustle of city life. With the estate’s deceptively ingenious cement “thatch” roofing and lush landscaping, entering the front garden through the high hedges is like stepping into the illustrated pages of a story by the Brothers Grimm.

When Les and Dorian Linkogle purchased the property in the 1980s, the couple promised Fields that they would preserve the cottage’s charm for years to come. Since then, Briar Rose has evolved from a family home into a boutique winery that welcomes local wine lovers—among whom the winery has achieved a cult status following—and international guests alike to savor award-winning wines and the charming atmosphere.

Building Dreams out of Dirt

Entering the wine business was almost an afterthought for the Linkogles. They planted grapes to offset the cost of watering their son’s dirt motocross track and sold the produce to the nearby wineries until a friend convinced them it would be more rewarding and “easy” enough for them to produce their own wine. “It absolutely was not easy!” Dorian laughs. But she and Les have loved every minute of it, from the research process in the beginning to finally uncorking a fresh bottle for their visitors.

“So much effort and enjoyment goes into the making of fine wine,” Dorian explains. “It’s art in a bottle. When your name is on the label, it can’t be anything but the very best.” The owners’ dedication to an excellent product and intimate hospitality carries over to the winery’s staff, who are ready and willing to discuss each award winning wine with those who come by for a tasting.

Enchanting Ambience

Guests have the option of enjoying their beverages in the cottage’s tasting room or taking their glasses outside to the weathered wood benches which are shaded by an ancient olive tree. Just as lovely as the garden are the views which overlook the vineyards.

Dotting the landscape, vintage farming and winemaking equipment add to the nostalgic and evocative feeling in the serene setting. “When we were thinking of what we should call this place, we knew it had to keep the fairytale element,” Dorian explains. “It’s such a sleepy little beauty hidden away up here that Les suggested we name our winery Briar Rose—after the princess—and I just love the way it fits.” At Briar Rose Winery, Dorian and Les are living the dream they worked so hard to achieve and are eager to share it with their guests.

Kris Christensen

Published by
Kris Christensen

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