The Santa Clara Valley and the Santa Cruz Mountains are two of the oldest, continuously producing wine regions in California. Many of the wineries offer tours, picnic grounds, tastings and on-site purchases.
Tranquil Beauty in America's Premier Mountain Appellation
21850 Bear Creek Rd, Los Gatos CA; Tel. 408.354.1111
Byington Vineyard & Winery, nestled in the Santa Cruz Mountain, with sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean, provides the perfect setting for sipping wines or celebrating special occasions. The manicured grounds of the Byington estate combined with its Italianate stone winery chateau create a striking backdrop for any occasion. The Byingtons specialize in chardonnay and red Bordeaux-style wines. Open daily, 11-5.
A Big Red Schoolhouse filled with Textbook Wines
24060 Summit Road, Los Gatos CA; Tel. 408.353.6290
Featuring estate vines with spectacular views of the canyons and ridges of the Santa Cruz Mountains, the Burrell School Winery is open for tasting on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
20320 Hwy 9, Boulder Creek CA; Tel. 831.338.6071
The Ahlgren Vineyard is a small-scale, family-run winery that employs traditional wine making equipment to pour care and dedication into each glass they produce. Based in the cellar of their rustic home in the Santa Cruz Mountains, the winery uses premium grapes from select vineyards to produce a limited supply of fine wines. Weekly wine tastings and tours are held every Saturday from noon to 4 pm and are a convenient way to sample and purchase the Ahlgren’s select wines.
3535 N. Main St, Soquel CA; Tel. 831.475.2258
The Bargettos are famed for red wines, classic coastal chardonnays and their popular line of Chaucer fruit wines. Operating since 1933, the winery has a long history and reputation, specializing in estate grown varietals from their vineyard in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The creekside tasting room is open daily from noon to 5 pm, where visitors can enjoy complimentary wines as well as a gallery showcasing of local artists. Tours of the winery are available by appointment.
Bonny Doon Vineyard
10 Pine Flat Road, Santa Cruz CA; Tel. 831.425.4518
Located in the Bonny Doon hamlet just north of Santa Cruz, the Bonny Doon Vineyard offers wine tastings from 11 am to 5 pm daily. Natural beauty and ambiance are at the forefront of this California winery, where the tasting room and accompanying picnic area nestle together in a lovely redwood grove next to Mill Creek. The vineyard charges a $5 cover for tasting, but the fee is a small price to pay for the seven to eight wines Bonny Doon serves up.
Casa De Fruta
6680 Pacheco Pass, Hollister CA; Tel. 831.637.7775
The Zanger brothers, the sons of an Italian immigrant family, run a large roadside travelers' stop that includes a fruit stand, a playground, a restaurant, an RV park and a vineyard. The Casa de Fruta winery produces traditional grape varietal wines and fruit wines.
Clos LaChance Winery
1 Hummingbird Ln, San Martin; 408.686.1050
Clos LaChance, which specializes in chardonnay, pinot noir, cabernet sauvignon, merlot and zinfandel, began as a mere backyard operation in 1987. The winery's name is taken from both "clos," the French term for a small, fenced-in area, and co-owner Brenda Murphy's maiden name. Open 11-4 weekdays; 11-5 weekends.
1690 Hecker Pass Hwy, Gilroy; 408.842.3053
Wine lovers hoping to try a taste of the Conrotto Winery should call ahead to check appropriate dates and times. This scenic Gilroy winery is also available for weddings, receptions and corporate occasions and offers catering service for groups looking to book an event.
22600 Mount Eden Rd. Saratoga, CA 95070; Tel. 408.867.7116; Monday-Friday, 12-5, Weekends, 11-5
The family-owned Cooper-Garrod specializes in chardonnay, cabernet franc and cabernet sauvignon varietals. The 21-acre estate vineyard is in the Saratoga hills, and the Cooper-Garrod tasting room is open Monday-Friday, 12-5, Weekends, 11-5, and by appointment.
David Bruce Winery
21439 Bear Creek Road, Los Gatos CA; Tel. 800.397.9972
Opened nearly four decades ago, the David Bruce Winery in Los Gatos has earned an international reputation and high praise for its esteemed pinot noir. Winemaking at David Bruce is a team process, and the passionate members are so committed to producing fine wine they used to carry on the European tradition of crushing grapes by foot. Today, David Bruce uses state-of-the-art technology to match the effects of foot crushing, but while the methods have changed, the winery’s dedication to high quality has remained the same.
Fellom Ranch Vineyards
17075 Montebellord, Cupertino CA; Tel. 408.779.2145
Family owned since 1928, the Fellom Ranch Vineyards’s terraced crops grow high in the Santa Cruz Mountains on Montebello Ridge overlooking the Silicon Valley. The vineyard began with the vision of Roy Fellom, a 1920s California state senator who began planting Zinfandel high up in the hills. Fellom Ranch is open for tastings and tours by appointment, and open houses for the general public occur every third Saturday of January, April, July and November.
4525 Hecker Pass Hwy, Gilroy CA; Tel. 408.842.3305
Fortino Winery began in 1970 and continues today as a family owned and operated business. This Gilroy winery offers a calendar of events, from Girls Night Out to Music In The Vineyard, that showcase Fortino’s wines along with food and entertainment. Visitors can also partake in a selection of private wine tastings booked in advance.
1480 E Main Ave, Morgan Hill, CA; Tel. 408.779.2145
One of the oldest wineries in Santa Clara Valley, Guglielmo Winery is a beautiful destination that’s been offering award-winning wines since 1925. This Tuscan-style winery in San Jose’s South County Area features a wonderful tasting room and gift shop, both of which are open daily from 10am to 5pm.
Hecker Pass Winery
4605 Hecker Pass Hwy, Gilroy CA; Tel. 408.842.8755
Hecker Pass Winery in Gilroy has a wine philosophy that starts from the ground up: All grapes stem from rootstocks brought over from Italy, and the winery employs traditional practices and methods like dry-farming and head-pruning to craft their wines. The Hecker Pass tasting room is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm for visitors to sample and purchase both dessert and table wines.
11550 Watsonville Rd, Gilroy CA; Tel. 408.847.8827
Founded in 1916, Kirigin Cellars offers visitors today a variety of services to make a trip to this Gilroy winery worthwhile. Since the winery sells direct, they offer wholesale discounts for purchases of six bottles or more. Visitors enjoy complimentary tasting and can also order custom labels for events like weddings and other special occasions. Open daily from 10 am to 5 pm, Kirigin Cellars boasts a dog- and family-friendly atmosphere, with a large sports field perfect for summer picnics and a view of a weekend cricket match.
Thomas Kruse Winery
3200 Dryden Ave, Gilroy CA; Tel. 408.842.7016
Tucked in the foothills of Gilroy on a bumpy country road, Thomas Kruse Winery encourages visitors to come share the natural beauty of the vineyards and learn about winemaking in the process. Owner and operator Tom Kruse himself leads the tours, explaining each step of the process from planting to harvesting. Wine lovers should look out for special BYOB (Bring Your Own Bottle) events, where the winery offers discounted prices and lets visitors take a turn at filling their own bottle of wine.
J. Lohr Winery
1000 Lenzen Ave, San Jose CA; Tel. 408.288.5057
J. Lohr Winery owns all 3,000 acres of grape-growing soil for its California wines, giving the winery full control over every step in the process of winemaking. With vineyards in the Arroyo Seco, Paso Robles and Napa Valley regions, the winery produces a variety of wines. Complimentary tastings at the San Jose Wine Center are available daily without appointment from 10 am to 5 pm, and the center is also available for small corporate events.
3000 Aborn Rd, San Jose CA; Tel. 408.274.4000
The Mirassou family has been crafting and bottling wines since 1854, giving them a 150 year history in the winemaking business. Through six generations of vintners, the Mirassou’s have made a name for themselves within the host of California winemakers, and they have helped lead the way with industry innovations like vineyard irrigation and field pressing. Today, the Mirassou Vineyard encourages wine drinkers to educate themselves, offering tips and advice ranging from the four S’s of wine tasting to the “Make Your Dreams Come True with Mirassou” contest for female entrepreneurs.
1645 San Pedro Winery, Morgan Hill CA; Tel. 408.779.7389
Pedrizzetti Winery offers free wine tasting every Tuesday through Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm. With scenic views of the foothills, this Morgan Hill winery promises visitors an afternoon of peaceful solitude and an ambiance of natural beauty. Monthly events featuring live music, food, and (of course) wine are available by reservation, and the winery is expertly designed for wedding events, with facilities like a fragrant garden patio, a brides dressing room, and the Black and White Ballroom for reception dinner and dancing.
Montebello Rd, Cupertino CA; Tel. 408.741.1310
Based on a historic ranch and flanked by hiking trails, the Picchetti Winery is tied to the land, listed on both the National Registry of Historical Places and the Santa Clara County Heritage Resource Inventory. Today the winery operates as a complex and under a lease from Midpeninsula Regional Open Space, offering a public picnic area open 11 am to 5 pm daily. The winery complex is open for tasting during the same hours, and visitors who stop by can even catch a glimpse of one of the colorful peacocks living on the grounds.
4350 S. Monterey Hwy, Gilroy CA; Tel. 408.842.5649
Just off Highway 101, the Rapazzini Winery has been open since 1962. With daily wine tastings from 9 am to 5 pm in the winter and 9 am to 6 pm in the summer, this Gilroy winery welcomes individuals and groups alike, offering tours of the grounds daily. The Rapazzini Winery is close to Gilroy’s famous Garlic Shoppes and the Gilroy Outlets, so visitors to the area can easily plan to make a day of it.
23600 Congress Springs Rd, Saratoga CA; Tel. 408.741.2932
Savannah-Chanelle Vineyards has a picnic area in an old-growth redwood grove and offers scenic valley and mountain views from its plateau estate grounds high in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The vineyard specializes in Pinot Noir, with over 80 percent of its production dedicated to the delicate wine. Daily tastings are available every day from 11 am to 5 pm, and tours for groups of ten or more can be booked 72 hours in advance.
4005 Hecker Pass Road, Gilroy CA; Tel. 408.842.4278
Nestled at the foot of Mount Madonna along a windy mountain pass, Sarah’s Vineyard boasts beautiful surroundings as well as flavorful wines. This Gilroy vineyard’s grapes are spread out over a long sloping plot, offering visitors scenic views of the blanketed landscape. Sarah’s Vineyard is open daily from 11 am to 5pm for visitors hoping for a taste of their various wines.
3920 Hecker Pass Hwy, Gilroy CA; Tel. 888.411.6457
Set atop the historic Rancho de Soli, the Solis Winery in Gilroy boasts a long history as a part of the region’s legacy of wine growers. Like many wineries in California’s Central Coast, the Solis Winery began with the heart and passion of Italian immigrants, and the winery today remains a family-owned business. Complimentary tastings are available noon to 5 pm daily, and the estate’s acreage offers an outdoor picnic area open to visitors.
12775 Uvas Rd, Morgan Hill CA; Tel. 408.779.4738
Located directly inland from Monterey Bay, the Sycamore Creek Vineyards are flanked by the Santa Cruz Mountains and Uvas Creek. Named for the small stream bisecting the grounds, Sycamore Creek vineyards in Morgan Hill offers idyllic pastoral beauty on site. The tasting room is open Thursday, Friday and Monday from noon to 5 pm and weekends from 11 am to 5 pm.
300-A College Ave, Los Gatos CA; Tel. 408.354.6150
Owned and operated by a husband and wife duo in downtown Los Gatos, Testarossa Vineyards specializes in Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Syrah production. Testarossa Vineyards handcrafts their wines in downtown Los Gatos’s historic Novitiate Winery, originally built in 1888 and restored with Testarossa’s advent. The vineyards are open for weddings and other social events, and the tasting room welcomes visitors daily from 11 am to 5 pm.
24130 Big Basin Way, Saratoga CA; Tel. 408.866.6700
Troquato Vineyards is a small, family-owned vineyard that has operated in the Santa Clara Valley for more than two decades. It produces small lots of award-winning cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, merlot and zinfandel.