Van Roekel Winery Review
Address: 34567 Rancho California Rd. Temecula,California 92591.
Phone Number: 951-699-6961
Region: South Coast and S. California, Temecula Valley AVA, California
Reviewer: Tara Torres
Review Date: 7/27/2012
Reviewer: Tara Torres
Van Roekel is the sister winery of its more famous sibling, Maurice Carrie Winery, and while it is not as well-known as Maurice Carrie it is still worth the stop. The winery is named for Bud Van Roekel, who founded Maurice Carrie Winery and Van Roekel Winery along with his wife, Maurice Van Roekel.
The Place:  Housed on a large plot of land, the tasting room is within walking distance to the Art Gallery and the Plaza, where events can be held. The barn inspired tasting room has high ceilings and open space providing plenty of elbow room. Similar to the Maurice Carrie tasting room, the wines are stacked by type throughout the tasting room, along with plenty of wine crafts. In the back there is a small eating area and a line of refrigerators where you can buy chilled white wines.
The Experience:  We were immediately greeted when we walked in, as we were the only ones there. While at Maurice Carrie we did have some problems with getting our servers attention, but at Van Roekel we had the opposite experience. Our server was genuinely enthusiastic about the winery and her job. She chatted about how she lives in the area and used to ride her horse to the winery and tie it up outside, while she went wine tasting. She also informed us that the winery prides itself on arranging a casual atmosphere by being dog and kid friendly, and that it allows guests to bring their own food. Occasionally, we had to cut her off to ask for our next taste. As with Maurice Carrie they were more concerned that we had the full winery experience then they were with the exact number of tastes we received. When I stated I hadnt tried the Cabernet Sauvignon, she insisted that I try it despite being out of tastes and poured a small amount in my glass. Her enthusiasm was so contagious that I almost signed up for the wine club.
The Wines: Van Roekel shares its winemaker, Guz Vizgirda, with Maurice Carrie. However, he does ensure that each winery has wines that are unique to them to make it worthwhile to visit both wineries. Both wineries offer the same popular sparkling white wines. At Van Roekel our fervent server insisted that we try the Cuvee Champagne, which did not disappoint. We also tried the Pomegranate Sparkling Wine, being enticed by the delicious pink color of it. Although I preferred some of the other sparkling wines, I could see serving the Pomegranate Sparkling Wine at bridal and baby showers for its pretty pink color. The Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon were among my favorite of the reds, and I purchased a bottle of the Merlot as a birthday gift for a friend. Overall Van Roekel and Maurice Carrie both offer great wines for a bargain price.
Insiders Tip:  Ask about the dual pass, which allows five tastes at both Maurice Carrie and Van Roekel wineries for $18. The delicious Cuvee Champagne is a bargain at just over ten dollars. For those who are looking to do a Champagne toast at a wedding or other special event should consider purchasing the Cuvee Champagne by the case for a 20% discount. The wine club is a good offer for those looking for more flexibility in their wine club, allowing members to choose their wines and pick them up when it is convenient for them.