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

  • Zinfandel

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

  • Chardonnay

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

  • Merlot

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

  • Syrah

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

  • Cabernet Sauvignon

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

  • Pinot Noir

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

Popular Wineries in Santa Cruz Mountains View all

  • Alfaro Family Vineyard & Winery

    We invite you to come and experience a taste of Corralitos, the best-kept secret of the Santa Cru...

  • Ridge Vineyards

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

  • Bargetto Winery

    Bargetto Winery is dedicated to enriching the quality of life through the enjoyment of wine as it...

  • Mount Eden Vineyards

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

  • Varner

    Bob Varner and Jim Varner are happy to announce the release of the of the Varner 2007 Chardonnay ...

  • Kathryn Kennedy Winery

    The Kathryn Kennedy estate vineyard is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. The vines cover gentle slopes in ...

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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

  • Rhys Syrah Santa Cruz Mountains Skyline Vineyard 2011


    Some dark fruit, but, mostly, this wine is savory. Some "meatiness." Some earthiness. Something fungal. Medium bodied. Very sedate tannin, but, still, nice acid tartness. Read More

    Wine review by EMark

  • Rhys Horseshoe Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Syrah 2014


    Very attractive dark plum color in the glass. Just the slightest hit of fruit--plum, blackberry--on entry. A restrained Syrah--medium bodied, very sedate tannin, and even, light acid. An OK wine--not offensive, but, really, nothing memorable. Read More

    Wine review by EMark

  • Rhys Pinot Noir Santa Cruz Mountains Alpine Vineyard 2012


    Very murky in the glass. Kind of a forest floor nose. On the tongue life is good. Tart red fruit--cherry, mostly, but with some stone fruit. The fruit, I have to add, is not over the top--not syrupy, at all, probably due to the acid. I do get some hints of spice. It could be cinnamon or it could be clove, but "hint" is the operative word. ... Read More

    Wine review by EMark

  • Model Farm Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay 2016


    Pretty straw color. Nose of tropical fruits. On the tongue a very obvious lemon. Oak is restrained, although, there is a suggestion of caramel. Bitter sensation on the side of the tongue makes me think of lemon pith. Read More

    Wine review by EMark

  • Vidovich Vineyards Lake Vineyards Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon 2012


    No written review

    Wine review by 453542Mr Dolce 453542 Mr Dolce

  • Vidovich Vineyards Montebello Road Estate Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon 2007


    No written review

    Wine review by 453542Mr Dolce 453542 Mr Dolce

  • Liking that Liquid Farm Roger. I picked up a Golden Slope at Bottle Barn a ... ... a ... San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains (8/6/2017)Second bottle of this in the past couple weeks and 5th in the last year. There has been some varition in the past two. The last one had a very oxidative nose. Last night had the fruit and zippy acidity tha... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Whatcha drinking tonight?

  • Round 4 - and now for all of my Snooth US colleagues - the US setFirstly - if I ... price pointMount Eden CS [Santa Cruz Mountains] 2012CS 78 M 10 cf 10 PV 2Definitely my favourite, seriously good wine great depth no hole in the middle feels like it will age well, around AUD100 here but I certainly thought it outperformed the first 2 on both ab... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Aussie Wine in the US

  • MY FIRST VISIT TO BERN'S STEAKHOUSE - Tampa (4/8/2017)Like any true ... true ... San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz MountainsThis wine was the surprise treat of the evening. My somm Rachel pulled this one out of her hat and nailed it. Color was medium dark red with a slight brickish tinge. The nose featured red berry and light baking spice along w... Read More

    Forum post in the topic The wine geeks holy grail, I...

  • Here's an offer from another vendor on that list. Lots of mouthwatering ... ... Eden Cabernet Sauvignon Santa Cruz Mountains -- 1994 750mL  (1)  $125.00  Pahlmeyer Proprietary Red -- 1995 750mL  (11)WA96scl  $135.00  Ridge Monte Bello -- 1989 750mL  (6)WS92   $229.00  Ridge Monte Bello -- 1989 750mL  (2)WS92bn  $229.00          Please let us ... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Learning more about US wine

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