Beyond the harvest: Maurice Car’rie Winery bottles year-round for optimal flavors

Tiffany Yang photo
Tiffany Yang photo

While it is not yet time for the harvest in Temecula’s wine country, head winemaker Renato Sais and his winemaking team at Maurice Car’rie is hard at work ensuring that the future wine vintages from the winery will be the best possible.

Traditionally, wine grape harvest occurs from August to October. In November, Sais began to bottle some of the white wines. In March and April, Sais bottles the reserved whites and some of the lighter reds. In June and July, some of the bolder, more full bodied reserve reds are bottled, such as the cabernet and blends.

By bottling the whites and lighter reds first, it preserves the delicate flavors that would be lost with further time in a tank or barrel. However, just because wines are bottled does not mean that they are ready to drink, explained Sais.

“The wine matures at a much slower rate than if it were in a tank or barrel,” he said. “The flavor also does not change; instead it becomes better. That’s the beauty of having a schedule we can follow with a plan of action. We can produce wine in a timely manner. When a wine is placed in the bottle, it no longer receives additional flavors.”

This type of schedule allowed Sais to develop the sanDREWvese, which is an easygoing red blend comprised of 83 percent Sangiovese and 17 percent Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine has a distinct flavor and scent, with red ripe berries, lilac, a swirl of red licorice scent and the flavors of bright cherry and toasted vanilla fill out the palate. Maurice Van Roekel, one of the founding family members of the Maurice Car’rie winery, has made a tradition of naming wines after his grandchildren, and wanted a bold wine that could be enjoyed by everyone at a barbecue, or with a summertime pizza.

Wines that are left in the tank or barrel tend to have more robust flavors, which is why they can withstand the additional smokiness that naturally occurs with wine barrels.

Bottles are sterilized and steamed at 185 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes before wine is poured in. Nitrogen is used during the corking process to make certain that the best flavors are kept throughout the bottling process. The bottling process is also the last opportunity for Sais and his team to determine if the wine has achieved the flavors that they have worked to achieve.

“This is the time when I am nervous, because it’s the last time I can modify the wine. I enter anxiety mode,” said Sais. “But once the wine is bottled, we always look to the future to develop new wines. This is an exciting stage.”

Maurice Car’rie Winery is located at 34225 Rancho California Road in Temecula Valley Wine Country. For information about the winery, call (951) 676-1711 or go to

Tiffany Yang photo
Tiffany Yang photo

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