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wine tasting in santa cruz mountains?

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lauriec Aug 7, 2009 04:51 PM

Friend and I are going to be in Los Gatos for a weekend in September, and were thinking about doing some wine tasting. There are many small wineries in the area, but I'm not familiar with most of them. What do you recommend? Thanks!!

  1. a
    adamshoe Aug 7, 2009 04:53 PM

    Bonny Doon (if they're still there...) Felton Empire, shoot, I'll have to dig out my old tasting notes... adam

    1 Reply
    1. re: adamshoe
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      Leadbelly Aug 9, 2009 06:46 PM

      Bonny Doon moved their tasting room to Santa Cruz, westside, in a neat little complex not far from the Saturday farmers market. They now have a restaurant as well. There are a couple other wineries in the immediate neighborhood or in the same complex, along with a brew-pub. Might make for a nice trip--you could start there and head straight up highway 9 into the mountains working your way back towards Los Gatos, or vice versa.

    2. Robert Lauriston Aug 7, 2009 04:59 PM

      Thomas Fogarty on Skyline north of Woodside: good Gewurtztraminer, other wines kind of boring, great view out over Redwood City.

      Ahlgren in Boulder Creek: some of the best Semillon in America, interesting reds. Last I heard they're only open Saturdays from 12-4.

      1. Paul H Aug 7, 2009 08:58 PM

        Make an appointment at Mount Eden, the oldest (by far) and best (by far) winery in the Santa Cruz Mountains. (See "Vineyards in the Sky" for background info).

        1. Melanie Wong Aug 7, 2009 10:11 PM

          Ridge in the hills above Cupertino.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Melanie Wong
            maria lorraine Aug 7, 2009 10:26 PM

            Yes, Ridge. Bonny Doon has a new tasting room with interesting nibbles.

          2. b
            BN1 Aug 7, 2009 10:20 PM

            You may or may not have found this site that may be of interest.
            http://thesantacruzexperience.com/sce...

            I noted on their site that Mount Eden offers tours one day a week but no tasting, which includes the tour.

            9 Replies
            1. re: BN1
              Robert Lauriston Aug 8, 2009 10:15 AM

              I'm not sure what you mean by "tours one day a week but no tasting, which includes the tour."

              1. re: Robert Lauriston
                wolfe Aug 8, 2009 12:06 PM

                MOUNT EDEN VINEYARDS
                22020 Mt. Eden Rd.
                Saratoga, CA 95070
                (408) 867-5832
                Tours by appointment only; no tasting room

                1. re: Robert Lauriston
                  b
                  BN1 Aug 8, 2009 02:32 PM

                  Sorry, I completely blew that. This is directly from their website:

                  Currently Mount Eden offers one public tour each weekday afternoon, by reservation only. You may have up to six in your party. The tour of the winery lasts about 20-30 minutes. Your tour guide will give you a history of the winery and walk you through the original wine cellar. No tasting is offered with a tour.
                  For tour reservations call: (408) 867-5832 ext: 10

                  1. re: BN1
                    maria lorraine Aug 8, 2009 06:08 PM

                    No tasting? What's the friggin' point, then? Seeing the grounds?

                    Seems like an "unclear on the concept" to me.

                    1. re: maria lorraine
                      Robert Lauriston Aug 8, 2009 06:26 PM

                      Mount Eden Vineyards' tasting room is at the Press Club in SF.

                      -----
                      Press Club SF
                      20 Yerba Buena lane, San Francisco, CA

                      1. re: Robert Lauriston
                        maria lorraine Aug 8, 2009 11:02 PM

                        Thanks for that. I certainly understand having a satellite tasting room,
                        but no tasting -- even a small one -- while you're on the property?
                        That's weird.

                        Such a disconnect between seeing the land and the vines,
                        and then not tasting the result of that terrain, those grapes.
                        Better to not have a tour at all if there is no juice from the land
                        to bring it all home, as it were.

                      2. re: maria lorraine
                        Melanie Wong Aug 9, 2009 12:37 AM

                        Mount eden's history stretches back to Martin Ray and Paul Masson. It is a rare privilege to touch the soil! There's no charge for the tour. Accommodating a max of 6 visitors a day, I imagine for tasting to break even it would involve a charge of $50 or more per person. Most of the wines are not from the estate, so there's not a direct connection to be made. The estate wines are quite backward (even for Santa Cruz Mtns), and can be difficult for the novice to assess.

                        1. re: Melanie Wong
                          maria lorraine Aug 9, 2009 03:24 PM

                          That is an unusual variation on the normal winery visit.

                          Is the view the draw, then?

                          1. re: maria lorraine
                            Paul H Aug 9, 2009 04:31 PM

                            The view, and the history I suppose. They have the oldest continually producing Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vineyards in California in a spectacular setting.

                2. e
                  ernie in berkeley Aug 8, 2009 11:02 AM

                  The Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association has a great website at

                  http://www.scmwa.com/

                  Aside from the big names like Ridge, Thomas Fogerty, etc, it's worthwhile to choose smaller wineries for potential serendipity and because the scenery up there is so spectacular that just being there will be a thrill.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: ernie in berkeley
                    maria lorraine Aug 8, 2009 01:08 PM

                    nice post.

                  2. baron45 Aug 8, 2009 03:30 PM

                    I went winetasting in the SC Mtns recently and really liked the wines at Silver Mountain and Burrell School. They are close to each other. Nice views at both places:

                    http://www.silvermtn.com/visit.shtml

                    http://www.burrellschool.com/location...

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