Wedding Venue Review
37338 De Portola Road
Temecula, CA 92592
The wineries in Temecula have been around longer than you may imagine. Directly across from Ontario International Airport is a tiny town called Guasti. Secundo Guasti came from Italy back in 1883, at one point it Gausti had the world largest Vineyard with 5000 acres of land. In the 1960's a company known as Brookside Vineyard Company occupied the small portion of left over land. They were the second large winery to harvest in Temecula starting in 1968. 1974 was a big year for Temecula, it was the year of the very first Temecula Winery. Callaway Vineyards opened its doors that year in Temecula, though they had been harvesting the land since 1969. if the name rings a bell, it should, the owner went on to start a little company know as Callaway Golf. As in Top Flite.
California makes some of the best wines in the world. A great movie to show our rise to dominance over the French is Bottle Shock. It speaks volumes about Napa Valley based vineyards. To this day, when you say to someone that you are considering getting married at a winery they often think of Napa Valley first. Unless you're a total wine snob that has such refined tastes that only a few vineyards in Napa Valley will do you are bound to find something you like at a Temecula winery.
Temecula based wineries are smaller, and less well known as than the famous Napa Valley and Santa Ynez Valley wineries. But, they just the same Temecula wineries are very serious about what they do. One of the problems that Temecula has is that they did a great job master planning the community of Temecula. Word got out that it's a great place to live and thus within the last ten years the population of the town exploded.
Keyways (the name is plural) is a new winery that had to be located beyond the large housing communities that blossomed east of the I-15. Though it was originally established back in 1989 it is recently under new ownership and a new location. Today it boasts the distinction of being the only female owned and managed winery in Southern California. Hey, that's wonderful. The problem is, it has a lot of competition located closer to the 15 such as Ponte Winery and Callaway Winery. The wine industry is overrun by too many wineries, and not enough distribution. If Keyways expects brides to drive past strong wineries such as Ponte to see them, they have to be better. Do they past the test?
What Type Of Bridal Couple Would Like This Place?
Of course with so many wineries so close to each other the most obvious thing to do is compare to each other. Keyways would being the furthest out may the last one seen, and it's a small winery, off the main road (you have to take a few roads to get to Keyways). When you arrive you feel like you are in the middle of nowhere. Ironically, this is the look and feel that many of the wineries in Napa have going for them, the off the beaten path look.
Keyways is painted with a spirit of goodwill and positive regard for their clients. They are excited about what they do. If you look at the winery for what it is, the place is marvelous! People who care, and go the extra mile for their weddings.
What type of bride would like this place? The type of bride that realizes that she is going to hand over some obscene amount of money to some venue, and aside from wanting a lovely place, the one core value the venue must have is that she, her fiancé, their friends and family matter. She doesn't want some low paid over worked banquet manager with an attitude. She has worked hard for her day in the sun and Keyway is their, ready, willing and able to deliver.
My experience with weddings at wineries is very much different than the slick sales pitches some offer. Aside from the pretty photos of weddings past on their property and the initial good impression, how would you judge them? I've been to one in particular on a few occasions and they make it quite clear that they are anxious for you to pay them, and equally anxious for you to leave as quickly as possible. They may think they treat their clients ethically and professionally, but I am a firm believer that attitude affects actions. It's a pretty place to have a wedding reception, but not a friendly place to have a wedding reception. And when all is said and done, you would feel a lot better about your wedding day if you held it at Keyways.
First thing about this place that I love, the ceremony site isn't a gazebo next to a golf course. Wine country weddings have a different look and feel about them. Though your first inclination may be to have a wedding overlooking the ocean, a winery wedding is really something to behold. There is a large wine vineyard, and ceremony site is to die for. As far as the overall size of the place is concerned, it's a smaller winery. This isn't a bad thing, it's easier to navigate yourself around the grounds.
Now, I'm going to flip things around on you just a bit. For the people who have figured out that Keyway is smaller and further out than other wineries, good job, you are correct. But here's the way I look at things.
Reception Site- It's a tent! Let's see, Pala Resort offers a tent, and Ponte Winery has ,( wait for it), a tent! So, forget the grounds at most of these places, all your reception images will be in a tent. A tent is a tent is a tent. They all look the same. Some may be a little larger, who cares?
Vineyard- I was able to get some great shots in the vineyard, which were a lot closer than at other wineries in the area. The reception tent is next to the vineyards. This makes it easy to duck out for a few romantic images at the right time. The vineyard looks like other vineyards in the area. Nice green leafs in beautiful rows. There are some rustic hills in the background. People may mistake your wedding pictures for Napa. Makes for nice pictures!
Ceremony site-This site just freakin rocks! It probably is one of the nicer ceremony sites in the Temecula Valley. It photographs so nicely, to a degree that the larger wineries can't measure up to. The ceremony entrance has a long isle that reminds me of the Rose Garden at the Disneyland Hotel. The funny thing is, brides line up to hand the Disneyland Hotel money, if only brides knew how beautiful this place is, they would be lining up to hand Keyway money also!
Possible Distractions/ Work Around
Two large work arounds are telephone polls and parking lots. If you are of the opinion that anybody with a good camera can photograph your wedding then you should mind that some of your images have a white 1984 Buick Regal in the background next to a red Mazda Miyata. An experienced wedding photographer will know how to work around this stuff and remove the occasional telephone wires out of key images. It's also far away from the freeway and it does get warm in the Temecula Valley over the summer.
The overall evaluation is that Keyway passes the test with flying colors. It measures up to and exceeds expectations. Jacqueline Rojas was one of the first weddings this new winery booked. She actually changed her wedding date to the weekend before so that I could do her wedding. She came with us to two bridal shows. The thing that is interesting about Jacqueline is that she at times plays up the dingy blond/ fashion model side of her. It's all an act. She has a super sharp mind along with a master's degree. The other thing that is kinda neat about her is that she is super picky and can't lie. She picks up on everything to a degree that most people don't. Her expectations of her wedding day went through the roof. I really don't think that most venues can meet the needs of someone like Jacqueline. She came to a couple bridal shows with us and told the story of her wedding at least 100 times. Jacqueline had a great time at Keyways and really liked this place. One thing about Jacqueline, if she picked up on the slightest amount of disinterest and contempt from anybody at Keyway, she would have told everybody. The photos came out wonderful, check them out here. But it was the winning attitude that made the difference, good job ladies, I'm impressed!
We want to go back to Keyways Winery!
We felt that the Rojas wedding featured above was a good start. There were so many great images to select from to make an album. However, we want to go back. We still have more ideas that we are dying to try out. One of the largest problems we had on the Rojas wedding day was the videographer managed to walk into a fair number of our shots. Though we had enough good images to make a nice album, we still feel we could do an ever better job displaying the ceremony site during a ceremony.
We're hoping that some nice bridal couple who has a lovely wedding planned at Keyways will take us on as their wedding photographer so that we can update this site with newer images. Please take some time to look around our website and view our gallery, packages, raves, and 10 reasons why Lifetime Images is a great choice for wedding photography. Please feel free to drop us a note to see if we have your date available or call us at (877) 789-1655. Thanks you!