Must-visit vintners of the 650: Your guide to the Peninsula’s wineries | News


A single a lot more motive to adore dwelling on the Peninsula is the remoteness however accessibility of the Santa Cruz Mountains AVA (American Viticultural Space) wine location. And, in contrast to other wine locations in which winery visits can experience like gimmicky shuttle stops, Peninsula wineries are pressured to exist in the rugged landscape, not the other way all-around.

While most of the 70-additionally wineries are within a one particular-hour travel involving San Francisco and San Jose, they really feel a globe absent. Keikilani McKay, executive director of Wines of the Santa Cruz Mountains, points out that “Not like other wine AVAs, it is really not an straightforward stroll to stop by these wineries, but their remoteness is what would make them so particular. This is an inventor’s area, a spot for discovery, and they draw in like-minded people today who are willing to generate as a result of ridges and redwoods to discover that good wine.”

The Santa Cruz Mountain AVA is the only a single in California that is described by geography, not geopolitical traces, in accordance to McKay. Three counties — San Mateo, Santa Clara, and Santa Cruz — reside in the AVA. And with these kinds of drastic elevation shifts — from 400 toes to 2,600 feet — the awesome local climate can’t assist but determine the wine and affect the vines. “When the AVA was proven in 1981, they took into account the fog line and how that maritime layer influences the grapes,” she states.

Without substantial swaths of land to plant, the area’s wineries have a tendency to be stewards of their acreage, focusing on creating the most of vineyards that reside in generally difficult topography.

“The Santa Cruz Mountains have many point out parks, so winemakers who settle below realize the problems of farming amongst outdated-growth redwoods, for instance,” McKay suggests. Browsing the wineries in this AVA and obtaining to know the individuals who make some of the very best cabs and pinots in the place is one way to aid preserve the spot.

McKay’s business breaks the area down into 6 subregions: Midpeninsula Skyline and Woodside Cupertino, Saratoga and Los Gatos Summit and Freeway 35 Santa Cruz, Soquel, Bonny Doon and San Lorenzo Valley and Aptos, Corralitos and Gilroy. Our tasting manual only addresses San Mateo, Santa Clara and the eastern element of Santa Cruz County (Los Gatos). This is in no way a entire record, but a starting off stage for your own discovery. All of these wineries provide on-web page visits, possibly by reservation or drop-in.

The rolling hills west of I-280 are dwelling to some legendary vines and wineries. The roads to Saratoga wineries weave by means of pockets of estates and farms. Montebello Road reaches almost 2,000 toes in elevation pretty speedily. It truly is received some hairpin turns proper following Picchetti and turns into a single-lane highway at this issue, so view for oncoming website traffic and cyclists.

Garrod Farms

A visit to Garrod Farms could involve wine and horseback riding, but Cory Bosworth, Cooper-Garrod’s tasting space manager and granddaughter of Vicky Bosworth (Garrod), suggests driving ahead of consuming. With a new manufacturer modify and internet site, Garrod Farms encompasses the Cooper-Garrod fruit-increasing and winemaking legacy and its horse and agriculture footprint in these rural Saratoga hills. “This is a farming local community 1st,” Bosworth claims of the area’s agriculture historical past. “We are pleased to be element of this tasting local community. We are an eclectic bunch of wineries, each individual with unique tasting experiences.”

The land the place the vineyard and stables reside have been in the spouse and children for five generations, 1st developing fruit and then grapes. All the wine is estate-developed, sourced from 28 acres of qualified natural and organic and qualified sustainable grapes. The family grows 5 pink and two white varietals tasting flights are themed and start out at $22. You will find a massive coated patio and a great deal of room to roam with your glass. Compact bites are served. Open weekdays from noon to 5 p.m. weekends from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Reserve on-line or quit by.

Mount Eden Vineyards

Paul Masson, Martin Ray, Ridge, and Mount Eden — four legendary wineries that relied on every single other for lessons, cuttings, and talent. Mount Eden’s cabs, pinots, and chardonnays have a cult-like following, and their tasting area is as stylish and understated as their wines. Take into account environment aside some time to take a look at. Acquire your time tasting via the wines.

Director of Hospitality Sophie Patterson Sharabi suggests, “As we are one of the primary boutique wineries in the Santa Cruz Mountains, we really like to share our lovely watch and extensive heritage with our visitors. Our veranda where we host our tasting encounters overlooks our estate chardonnay and pinot noir vines with panoramic views of the Santa Clara Valley at our 2,000 toes elevation.” Reserve through Tock for weekday tastings ($35) commencing at 10:30 a.m., with the previous seating at 2:30 p.m. No meals.

R & W Vineyards

Retired researchers Bill Wood and Nöel Relyea have a tendency to a fifty percent-acre of cabernet sauvignon grapes significant above the valley on Montebello Street. In addition to their estate-grown wine, they also make cabernet sauvignon from grapes sourced nearby in the similar Santa Cruz Mountains AVA. They regular about 300 circumstances, which are distributed between profits from site visitors, their web page (and wine club), and a few local Peninsula suppliers like Roberts Industry in Woodside and Bianchini’s in San Carlos. Related terroir to legendary Ridge Vineyard, but making use of younger vines. Tastings ($10 for 4 preferences) are by reservation only occasions range.


It’s been 6 many years since Dave Bennion, Hew Crane, Charlie Rosen and Howard Ziedler obtained the Torre Ranch portion of the famed Monte Bello web page and commenced dabbling in winemaking. What was the moment a four-relatives endeavor for these Stanford engineers turned into a after-in-a-lifetime wine legacy for the region. The wine-building services at the Monte Bello website still generate award-successful cabernet sauvignon and Bordeaux blends, and its historic tasting area is a will have to-check out knowledge for the Cupertino cabernet — curious. Open up 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. 7 times a 7 days, by appointment only. You may spot retired winemaker Paul Draper going for walks the grounds. Estate ($25) and Personal Library ($75) tastings are out there.


In 1872, the Picchetti brothers acquired 160 acres of land on a ridge in the Santa Cruz Mountain array and named the residence montebello (stunning mountain). They planted zinfandel, carignane, and petite sirah and farmed the land for 72 yrs. Currently, the homeowners of Picchetti lease the land from the Midpeninsula Open Space District and develop about 10,000 instances. Open up 7 days a 7 days, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tastings include things like 4 pours for $20. Unbelievable grounds, so pack a picnic and your climbing footwear.


Regarded as just one of the founding family members of land growth in the South Bay, the Vidovichs make a smaller quantity of wine at the former property and winery of the family’s patriarch, Stephen Vidovich. They develop cabernet sauvignon grapes there on Montebello Street, in addition to a compact plot in Los Altos Hills. The wine is perfectly-regarded and has the legs to stand up from any Napa taxi. In all probability the finest perspective of the valley. Open Saturdays noon to 4 p.m. by reservation only. Style 4 of their cabernets for $20.

Summit Street and Loma Prieta Avenue are household to many wineries clustered together, earning it probable to check out a handful of about the system of an afternoon. These roadways, compared with Bear Creek, are somewhat straightforward to navigate. Check out equally David Bruce and Byington on the exact trip, if possible, so that you can examine their pinots and stay clear of the twists and turns of Bear Creek Highway additional than once.

Silver Mountain Vineyards

For 40 yrs, Jerold O’Brien has been producing high quality wine at inexpensive selling prices. His summit (2,100 ft) winery and tasting space might be humble, but be geared up to be impressed with his neat-climate syrah (2014) that won him a “Ideal of Course” at the 2022 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Levels of competition. If he doesn’t farm his organic and natural grapes himself on his assets, he resources from close by vineyards. However they have a new Santa Cruz tasting place, you can however visit the winery and delight in a tasting ($15) of 4 wines. Outside the house meals is welcome. No reservations Saturday and Sunday midday to 5 p.m.

Wrights Station

At 1,800 toes, this summit vineyard and tasting space are housed in a vintage California farmhouse-fashion compound with outside decks and tremendous sights. It is a historic place relationship back to the Gold Rush period. Operator and winemaker Dan Lokteff pours his estate chardonnay and pinot noir, in addition to merlot and cabernet sauvignon that he makes from nearby-sourced grapes. Tastings ($20) are Friday, Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m., stroll-in or by reservation. Bocce ball court docket open to people. Little ones and dogs welcome. Verify their web page for specific gatherings held at the winery through the yr.


Muns has the distinctive privilege to be the best-elevation vineyard (2,600 feet) in the Santa Cruz Mountains AVA. Their vineyard on Loma Prieta Avenue is intimate, with Ed and Mary Muns tackling most of the winery tending and vineyard small business. Tastings ($15) of their exceptional pinots and syrahs choose spot on a deck with astounding sights. Count on a own expertise occur with thoughts as this is their existence and passion. For the reason that Ed and Mary guide tastings, there are slotted Saturdays and Sundays through the summer months. Examine their site to assessment and reserve. Periods change.

Even though Portola Vineyards and Mindego Ridge reside on or close to Alpine Road, they are a planet away from every other thanks to the open-room preserves that dominate the topography in these sections. Improved to program other outings close to just about every of these 3 wineries: A hike via Arastradero Preserve ahead of heading to Portola Vineyards a side trip to 50 percent Moon Bay right before or following Thomas Fogarty Winery and a push to Pescadero Condition Seashore soon after a halt at Mindego Ridge. Of system, there’s plenty to delight in at each vineyard if you select to make that your only cease for the working day.

Portola Vineyards

Just lately, Len Lehmann turned one of only a handful of certified kosher winemakers in the area, earning a quit at this winery in the foothills of Portola Valley a should for anyone seeking for neighborhood kosher wine. Lehmann creates about 1,000 scenarios of estate wine each and every 12 months from his natural and organic and dry-farmed 2-acre home. His method to winemaking is neighborhood-driven, so turning into a wine club member has sure pros. Associates assistance decide grapes throughout harvest season, together with the possibilities throughout the year. That perception of neighborhood extends to tastings, which happen on Sundays from April through October. Reserve a time and style ($20) though Lehmann’s wines although he gives you a tour of the vines.

Thomas Fogarty Winery

Thomas Fogarty would make a great deal of very acclaimed wine from quite a few vineyards in the Santa Cruz Mountains AVA, which means a tasting at this picturesque winery on Highway 35 is a good introduction to the area’s assorted terroir. The terraced grounds are beautiful and offer you astounding sights of the valley. Readers have a likelihood to flavor 5 wines ($35) outside or indoors. There is also a facility and winery tour with tasting ($55). By appointment only. Open up every day 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Mindego Ridge

David and Stacey Gollnick are likely to 10 acres of pinot noir and chardonnay grapes on a south-experiencing sloped hillside a several miles from the Pacific Ocean in La Honda. About 15 a long time ago, both equally determined to go away the health-related tech field and increase grapes. The wines are 100% estate and dry-farmed. “I regulate all the vine-to-vine handwork,” David Gollnick claims. “We’re privileged to have accessibility to Rhys Vineyard’s crew from time to time for harvesting, etc.” With these types of a tiny production, they are also fortunate to have obtain to one particular of the top cool-weather winemakers in California, Ehren Jordan, who has his have label (Failla). “We choose our fruit to his facility and head home,” David Gollnick says about the partnership. “Now he is paying for some fruit from us.” Tasting chances for non-allocation members ($40) happen on choose Saturdays and Sundays, booked on line. David states that “5 pours give attendees an thought of what our wines are about. When men and women arrive out listed here, it can be intentional.” Tastings materialize on the deck and are led by David and Stacey, who present insight into their journey and the land.


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