One of Our Own… Gone Commercial

Big Nose Winery is an offspring from one of our very own home winemakers. I am sure you know him. Roger Mattar.

He and his wife Janice have been making home wine in Orange County since 2012. It became a passion that arose from traveling around wine country. Every vacation involved wineries and wine tasting. Intrigued with the concept, they decided to try it for themselves.

From the beginning, though, they sought out experienced assistance. They discovered OCWS and encountered some great mentors along the way. For Roger, making wine was like raising children. He nurtured them during fermentation. At night, he couldn’t sleep, thinking about them. And, like well-cared-for children, the Mattars’ wines were excellent.

Deciding to enter his ‘progeny’ in the Orange County Home Wine Competition, he earned a Double Gold for his Merlot. They continued to produce award-wining wines, garnering multiple medals from various competitions.

But Roger wasn’t satisfied. He wanted to know more about winemaking. Whereupon he completed a three-year enology program at Missouri State University in 2018 (fellow winemakers take note)!

Immediately, they took the plunge. They took their winemaking skills commercial, obtaining their commercial license and creating Big Nose Winery that same year. And you gotta love their simple silhouette-like logo.

It wasn’t until 2021 that they found their new home. Janice liked the Temecula area so when a place came available, they went for it in October that year.

Today, the Mattars make Bordeaux-style wines focusing on red varietals, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Malbec. They also produce some wonderful whites such as Viognier and Pinot Grigio.

They purchase grapes as they cannot grow their own. Of course, that works in their favor. Roger is able to pick and choose the grapes he wants to use, thus getting the best from all parts of California. They acquire grapes from as far south as San Diego to up north from Sonoma. And, of course, he does get some varietals locally in Temecula.

Already, he has expanded his production to include Petit Sirah, Petit Verdot and, coming either this year or next, Tannat. They produce a rosé and a dessert wine as well.

Additionally, he and Janice are experimenting with blends. It’s a team effort that includes experience, planning and the necessary tasting trials. Big Nose Meritage is one such mastered blend, but their latest, a quite superb blend, is Sumptuous.

The wines are truly excellent. They continue to earn Double Golds and other awards at the OCWS competitions, but this time in the Commercial Competition.

Roger told me he does not have a favorite. Says Roger, “they are all my babies. I like them all. But some are easier than others.”

I think we know where he’s going with that.

When I asked Roger if he had any advice for the newbies to winemaking, he suggests, “Find a mentor. There are a lot in the Orange County Wine Society.”

As we finished our tasting experience, I asked him what his family thought about his new career path. He said they were a family-oriented group and he was fully supported. He added that food is family. “We share the same passion,” he told me. As concerns the Big Nose wines, his closing remark, “Aroma comes first.”

As it turns out, this is where the Big Nose Winery name derives from: “the name was chosen with the wines’ aroma in mind taking special note of your senses while indulging in your wine tasting experience.”

Having visited Big Nose Winery a few times now, we are starting to encounter repeat customers, a true sign of producing a successful product. One such return customer told me that the wines from Big Nose Winery are some of the best in the Temecula Valley. I’d say that’s a great endorsement.

Go see Roger and Janice and try the wines. You will find their quaint, rustic and charming tasting room in The Hotel Temecula. It is part of a structure dating back to 1883, in Old Town Temecula on Main Street. They’re open Thursday through Sunday. Check out their website – – for more complete information.

By W. Scott Harral