Santa Cruz Mountains Wine


The Santa Cruz Mountains AVA is a vast region within San Francisco Bay in California’s Central Coast. Most of it is within Santa Cruz county, but also flows into Santa Clara and San Mateo. Just minutes away from the bustling city are wineries grown high into the hills and tops of ridges, some of the highest elevated vineyards in the state. The Pacific Ocean, Monterey Bay and San Francisco Bay all contribute to a predominately maritime climate in the region. But there are many soil types and microclimates, with warmer temperatures inland and cooler temperatures reaching the coast and ridges. For this reason a variety of grapes are grown from cool-climate Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Riesling to Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Merlot and Syrah. 
Wine-making can be traced back to the very early 1800s with missionary plantings for ceremonial wines. Like many California wine regions, a successful wine industry took shape from the mid to late 1800s, then fell apart between Phylloxera Read more »

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Popular wines made in Santa Cruz Mountains under $20

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Varietals Produced in Santa Cruz Mountains View all

  • Cabernet Sauvignon

    “King of the Red Wine Grapes.” The colonizer of the vineyards, pushing native wine grapes into its shadows. The Caber...

  • Syrah

    The irony here is that Syrah’s origins could give Carmen Sandiego a run for her international wallet. Syrah’s deepest...

  • Merlot

    The Occitanian word “merlot” translates to “young blackbird.” An accurate description for this popular, early-budding...

  • Zinfandel

    Parentage of the grape: Crljenak to Austria to America. In the 1970s, claims surfaced that the Italian Primitivo is l...

  • Pinot Noir

    “With so voluptuous a perfume, so sweet an edge, they make the blood run hot,” Joel Fleischman, wine columnist at Van...

  • Chardonnay

    British wine writer and critic, Jancis Robinson, once noted that throughout the 80’s and 90’s in the United States, C...

Popular Wineries in Santa Cruz Mountains View all

  • Mount Eden Vineyards

    The genesis of Mount Eden Vineyards was the arrival of Burgundian winemaker Paul Masson to San...

  • Byington Winery

    Just minutes from the commotion of Silicon Valley, Byington Winery is your rejuvenating destinati...

  • Silver Mountain Vineyards

    Silver Mountain produces handcrafted premium wines from its mountaintop winery in the Santa Cruz ...

  • Perrucci Family Vineyard

    Since settling here in California more than a century ago, the Perrucci family has never ventured...

  • Soquel Vineyards

    Twins Peter and Paul Bargetto, along with friend Jon Morgan, began the winery in 1987 after leavi...

  • Ridge Vineyards

    The history of Ridge Vineyards begins in 1885, when Osea Perrone (third person on bench wearin...

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Santa Cruz Mountains on Snooth

  • Pinot Paradise, a celebration of the Pinot Noirs of the Santa Cruz Mountains, is March 27-28. On Saturday: the wineries are open for Pinot Pathways, with special barrel tastings and new releases. On Sunday: the Grand Cruz Tasting at Villa Ragusa in Campbell in the afternoon. And that morning is the Technical Session: this year focusing on the in...

    Comment by 100512SMV 100512 SMV

  • Yes, the Monte Bello was 2012.  2007 was a great vintage, and well worth a ... into the best product.  Santa Cruz Mountains (and hence Monte Bello) was spared the worst heat spikes. so it will be great as well. I am a big advocate for Clay's wines, but it's pretty hard to fault them, and the wine is what started the relationship.  As he says, 9... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Good deeds, good wine, good...

  • Rhys Horseshoe Vineyard Chardonnay 2012


    I see that I commented on this wine, last spring. My notes, this time, are almost like a rerun. Very attractive pale yellow color. Lots of tropical fruit on the nose. Tropical fruit and citrus dominate on the tip of the tongue. As the wine passes mid-palate chalky earthiness pops up. Nicely light on the oak. Good acid freshness. Read More

    Wine review by EMark

  • Martin Ray Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon 2007


    No written review

    Wine review by Dave Mooty

  • I love it when I'm right!My gift is a 2013 Windy Oaks Estate Pinot Noir from the Santa Cruz Mountains which I am convinced came from my friend Napagirl. Thank you my dear. I'll save this one for Spring or early Summer if I can. :-)    Read More

    Forum post in the topic Secret Santa 2015

  • Well, reveal day is upon us. Why don't I mosey on over to the cellar and ... ... vintage Pinot Noir from Santa Cruz Mountains or Northern Marin County. I sure hope I'm correc Read More

    Forum post in the topic Secret Santa 2015

  • Rhys Syrah Santa Cruz Mountains Skyline Vineyard 2011


    Nose of red fruit. Same on introduction to the tongue/palatesome cherry, some red plum. As the wine moves back there are some earthy or graphite hints. A fairly light-bodied Syrah. Also, very light on tannin. Excellent acid tartness. Read More

    Wine review by EMark

  • Rhys Chardonnay Santa Cruz Mountains Alpine Vineyard 2012


    Lively and spritely on the tongue and under the palate. Deft use of oak and M-L provide a touch of vanilla and butter, but it does not dominate. Good fruit flavor of tart stone fruitpeach, apricot--and, maybe,a hint of melon. Very refreshing. Read More

    Wine review by EMark

  • Kathryn Kennedy Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2012


    No written review

    Wine review by 453542Mr Dolce 453542 Mr Dolce

  • Kathryn Kennedy Winery Cuvee Twenty-Seven 2004


    No written review

    Wine review by 453542Mr Dolce 453542 Mr Dolce

  • Picchetti Winery Reserve Angelica Santa Cruz Mts. White Port 2011


    No written review

    Wine review by 453542Mr Dolce 453542 Mr Dolce

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