Bordered by San Francisco Bay on the north, Monterey on the south, the Pacific to the west and the Pinnacles mountains to the east, Santa Cruz and Santa Clara counties have not received as much attention from the public for their vineyards and wines as some of their Northern California neighbors. But the eyes of the wine world have been on this area for a while. After all, it was Ridge Vineyards that made the Cab that stunned the wine world at the 1976 tasting in Paris. Even after that though, without a lot of wineries, and with the wineries mostly requiring drives on steep and twisting mountain roads, this area was still waiting for the attention.
Wait no longer. More wineries, better roads, better wines from all the producers and proximity to Silicon Valley have made this area an attractive wine destination. The older producers like Ridge and David Bruce are still putting out great product, and they’ve been joined by the next generation or two of winemakers. Like Randall Graham, the eccentric icon of Bonny Doon, forcing the industry to look at the way they do business, from eco-friendly grape growing, to screw caps, to marketing their wines, and see if old ways can benefit from new thinking.
While you’re there, drinking world class wines, go see if you can still hang 10 surfing in Santa Cruz, or if you’re still game for the wooden roller coasters of the Boardwalk. Or go to the Childrens’ Museum in San Jose, founded by Steve Wozniak (co-founder of Apple Computer). Or go buy everything garlic in Gilroy, world capital of garlic. Go walk, shop and eat in the quaint beach town of Capitola. Or go try another winery. You won’t run out of things to do, for you or the family.
Santa Cruz map
Santa Cruz events
Santa Clara map
Santa Clara events