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Mar 13, 2011 05:35 PM

Santa Cruz Moutains Wineries

Some friends and I will be checking out wineries in the Santa Cruz Mountains soon, and I was hoping to get some guidance, since I am not able to find many reviews. Thanks!

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  1. Unlike Napa or Sonoma, the Santa Cruz mountain wineries are spread out over *many* miles. So you don't do extra driving around and doubling back, you need to do some homework and pre-planning. Maybe this site will help.

    1. Here's a few more links to add to Gail's. There is a concentration of tasting rooms on the west side of SC and a few others just off Hwy 1 to the east, so you don't really have to do a lot of travelling.

      Santa Cruz Mountains wineries and maps


      Pinot Noir map

      4 Replies
      1. re: PolarBear

        Hi PB,
        I'm married to Mr. Wine Guy, so we taste only at the wineries where we get the full impact of vineyards surrounding us and perhaps meeting the wine maker and the vineyard dogs. So I guess that is why it becomes a traveling experience for us. Tasting room in town or elsewhere just doesn't feel the same.

        1. re: Gail

          I prefer to do that as well, Gail. But last time in the area it seems like I spent a half day just getting up to Bonny Doon's place in the mountains for tastings and then grabbing some lunch down on Hwy 9, after which I felt like I needed a nap. ; >P

          1. re: PolarBear

            Sure been there!! I notice we have slowed to a crawl. Used to be we'd have out noses pressed up against the glass waiting for the door to open at 10am and stop for lunch then mush on until 4pm in Napa and/or Sonoma. Now...not so much.

            1. re: PolarBear

              I too thought of Bonny Doon (some ezcellent dessert wines). maybe half the day was spent figuring out how the heck to find PCH #1 from Santa Cruz (I swear one Sunday it felt like a Twilight Zone episode - I just want to go home to SF via Pacifica!) but it's a nice stretch of coast near there for a ptcnic

        2. Check out the Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers website at www.scwma.com. They have lots of info, maps and descriptions of dozens of wineries in the area and also sponsor a number of reasonably priced wine tasting events in the area. For example, there's an upcoming self-guided tour of Pinot Noir producing wineries at the end of March and one of the quarterly Passport days in April, which features lots of local wineries with unlimited tastings for one price.

          1. Two of the SC wineries with interesting stories behind them are Ridge
            and Thomas Forgarty. Ridge was founded by Paul Draper who was a
            philosophy student at Stanford, Its flagship wine is the Monte Bello cab,
            which was part of the wines which received recognition at the Judgement of Paris
            competition in 1976. Definitively one of the most distinguished wineries in CA
            [they have also an extension in Dry Creek Valley in Sonoma which focuses on zins].

            Thomas Forgarty is interesting because its founder is a distinguished heart
            surgeon at Stanford,. If you go to his web page, you will see he makes a
            compelling case for viewing wine as a "health food."