Winemaker Kestutis “Gus” Vizgirda is in charge at sister wineries Maurice Car’rie and Van Roekel. Since 1994 Van Roekel, the smaller of the two, has specialized in drier wines for more sophisticated palates – though there’s some sweet stuff here too, including White Zinfandel and some fruit-flavored sparklers. Vizgirda uses about 80% estate grapes and sources the rest from Temecula Valley vineyards. The tasting room staff is knowledgeable and fun to talk with, and the prices are quite reasonable for Temecula. We bought a 2010 Merlot.
Picnic tables dot the winery’s grounds. From our spot we were vaguely aware of traffic on Rancho California Road, but we couldn’t see it. If one is in need of picnic supplies, the tasting room sells baked brie, assorted crackers, water, and even sorbet.
Van Roekel offers three wine club options: all reds, all whites, and the “Wine Maker’s Club” (mixed). The club offers three-bottle shipments every other month at a 20% discount, and free tastings at the winery.
The tasting room is open daily 10:00-5:00. 951.699.6961