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In Greek mythology, Bacchus (aka Dionysus), the god of wine, is said to inspire artists, musicians and poets and bring an end to care and worry. Dionysus discovered the culture of the vine and how to extract the juice and turn it into wine. But the goddess Hera struck him with madness, and he set off to wander the earth. I’m not suggesting that anyone go mad drinking a glass or two of wine – but a leisurely afternoon drive along the wine trails can do a body good.

Consider the wine we sip from our glass. Wine has the power to let us forget the everyday and slip into the realm of the gods. Wine might inspire us to let down our hair and dance, paint a masterpiece, do something we’ve never done before, or simply have a quiet moment of relaxation and reflection. Aristotle left us with this thought, “All things in moderation.” Our American counterpart Mark Twain puts a little twist on Aristotle's quotation: “All things in moderation, including moderation.”

A visit to the nearby wineries of Temecula and Escondido offers all these experiences and more to the wine lover. In Temecula, Mount Palomar Winery offers a variety of food, wine tasting and entertainment on a pleasant outdoor patio. La Cereza features exotic dishes, music, dancing, wine and cigars. Vera at the mom-n-pop Ferrara Winery in Escondido will pour you endless glasses of her choice wines, at no charge. What? You don’t drink? Vera makes a delicious grape juice! For the big, fat Italian winery, try Bernardo Winery, Escondido, not unlike a village of its own, with a great restaurant, shops and, of course, wine tasting.

So go ahead, indulge. Eat, drink, dance and be merry, just don’t forget your designated driver! For maps of Escondido and Temecula wineries, go to: wine.signonsandiego.com or myunderthesun.com.

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