In early March, Temecula Valley’s Maurice Car’rie Winery won several awards from the New World International Wine Competition.
The winery won best of varietal, class gold with its 2016 Riesling and 2016 Gewurztraminer. The Maurice Car’rie label also won bronze for its 2016 White Cabernet Sauvignon. The winery’s Van Roekel Vineyard label also won awards in the competition, with silver awards going to the 2015 Chardonnay and 2015 Sauvignon Blanc Temecula. In addition, the Van Roekel Estate won bronze awards for its 2013 Cabernet Franc and 2014 Tempranillo.
According to Gary Van Roekel, general manager for Maurice Car’rie Winery, entering the winery’s wines into competitions is a report card for its wine’s quality.
“It has a lot of value for us,” said Van Roekel. “On an everyday basis, we have instant response from guests in the tasting room, but this is an opportunity for us to put our wines in front of very knowledgeable experts.”
Van Roekel enjoys putting his wines in blind tastings because it allows for Maurice Car’rie to put its wines against wines from around the world.
“A small winery can compete against a larger winery. It’s an even playing field,” he said. “It’s important for us to do our best so our customers know that we are one of the best wineries out there. Our employees and staff can influence customers, and when they know they are pouring award-winning wines, they pour with pride.”
By putting wines into competitions, wineries can help bring more popularity and notoriety to the valley.
“It helps the whole region,” said Van Roekel. “Historically, wine came from [Southern California]. Napa Valley tends to look down on us because Temecula Valley is a newcomer to wine, but that isn’t the case.”
As a way to select wines to enter into competition, Maurice Car’rie winemaker Renato Sais carefully watches every aspect of the winemaking process, from growing the grapes to bottling.
“There are a lot of aspects to orchestrate,” said Sais. “The fruit needs to be the perfect shape, at the perfect stage, and the temperature and nature of the grapes are all major factors needed to have grapes produce wine.”
Sais explained that there is a protocol in place to insure quality wines, and by carefully following it, the wine grapes can create the best possible wine.
“The grapes are able to express themselves fully at the wine stage,” said Sais. “We just guide the juice into the expression. We don’t decide what the wine will smell like or express; that comes from the grape and varietal. It all goes along with the process of making wine.”
“We send three to four of each winery brand to competitions, and know that 80 percent is going to receive some type of award,” said Van Roekel.
“It’s nice to receive an award for all the hard work,” said Sais. “We work with the intention of being rewarded and appreciated. We want to create quality, and expand our wines.”
According to Van Roekel, the 17 varietals at Maurice Car’rie have won 46 awards, with some of the wines receiving awards before entering the tasting room.
Guests at Maurice Car’rie can tell which of the wines have won medals by stickers located at the racks in the tasting room. In order to enjoy the award winning wine before it is sold to the public, individuals can sign up for the wine club, and receive a newsletter with information about the latest awards won by the winery.
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 www.mauricecarriewinery.com.