3535 N. Main St, Soquel, CA
Santa Cruz’s oldest winery turned 75 in 2008, and to celebrate it released its latest vintage of La Vita, a specialty blend of estate-grown northern Italian varietals. Locally known for its robust estate-grown merlots, Bargetto has also made a name with its zinfandels, pinot noirs and dolcettos. The Chaucer line offers fun dessert wines, including the rarely-encountered mead, a honey-based spirit.
10 Pine Flat Rd, Bonny Don, CA
For 60 years, wineries have been lining up to buy Beauregard-grown grapes from the Santa Cruz Mountains. In 1999 Jim Beauregard decided to give winemaking a try, and the result is a fine selection of locally grown pinots, chardonnays, syrahs and zinfandels.
Bonny Doon Vineyard
328 Ingalls St, Santa Cruz, CA
Bonny Doon’s Randall Grahm is a mad genius, a shameless prankster and above all a fearless winemaker. The man who brought clever marketing to the wine world (“Cardinal Zin,” “Critique of Pure Riesling”) and presided over the development of the hugely successful Big House Red label chucked 90 percent of his business overboard in 2005 to focus on a few picky, exquisite, biodynamically grown varietals that are rapidly putting this Santa Cruz citizen on a different kind of wine map.
Hunter Hill Vineyard & Winery
7099 Glen Haven Rd, Soquel, CA
Estate grown in the sunny, fragrant hills above Soquel, then barreled in French oak for a year, Hunter Hill’s pinots are making a name for this boutique winery; the 2006 vintage took second place in the prestigious San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition in the $35 and over category. Estate syrahs and award-winning merlots as well.
303 Potrero St # 35, Santa Cruz, CA
Distinctive Santa Cruz Mountain chardonnays, old-vine zinfandels, petit syrahs and pinot noirs have won Scott Storrs and Pamela Bianchini-Storrs something of a cult following among Santa Cruz wine lovers. These days Storrophiles are impatiently waiting to see what the newly planted organic estate vineyard in nearby Corralitos will bring.