Thornton Winery brings back its Champagne Concert Series for 2021

Thornton Winery in Temecula Valley Wine Country plans to bring back a popular long-running concert series in August after many coronavirus restrictions are expected to ease.

The winery will kick off its Champagne Concert Series with jazz artists Peter White and Euge Groove on Saturday, Aug. 28. That will be the first of six shows for this year’s season.

The Champagne Concert Series started in the late ’80s at the winery. It typically runs from April or May through October and there are usually around 21 shows, according to General Manager Tonya Wake. In recent years, the shows have drawn in audiences of more than 800 people.

Last year, the winery wasn’t able to do to the concert series as California prohibited gatherings such as concerts during the pandemic, but now as restrictions ease and officials look to June 15 as a date when the color coded tiers and some mask restrictions go away, the winery wanted to use the tail end of the summer to bring back the series.

In addition to White and Groove, there will be lots of longtime series favorites, including Dave Koz & Friends, Chris Botti and Boney James.

“All of those artists have been with us for 20 years,” Wake said.

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Wake said the artists were booked a year in advance.

“We assumed, just as the artists were assuming, that once it got to the end of this year, we would be OK,” she said.

How will the concerts be set up? Wake said the winery plans to observe state requirements, but is anticipating a return to normal, meaning no masks and no capacity restrictions— the concerts would be just the way they were prior to the pandemic.

Wake is also expecting a lot of the same faces from previous years and she said she’s excited to see visitors she hasn’t seen for a year.

“Our phones have been ringing off the hook,” she said. “They’re so excited it’s coming back.”

General admission to shows in the series ranges from $95-$105 and gourmet supper packages with food prepared by the winery’s executive chef range from $185-$195. Tickets can be purchased by visiting thorntonwine.com.

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