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

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • Zinfandel

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

  • Merlot

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

Popular Wineries in Santa Cruz Mountains View all

  • Clos Tita Winery

    Artisinal wines made in limited quantities from the Santa Cruz Mountains, high above beautiful Mo...

  • Domenico Winery

    Dominick and Gloria Chirichillo’s choice of name for their winery is a reflection of their commit...

  • Varner

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

  • Loma Prieta Winery

    You may recognize the Loma Prieta name from the famous earthquake of 1989, but the Santa Cruz Mou...

  • Silver Mountain Vineyards

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

  • Storrs

    Welcome to Storrs Winery. For those of you joining us for the first time, we are a small winery d...

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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 Horseshoe Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Syrah 2011

    Snoothrank:

    Ive heard of people getting a meatiness from some red wines and Ive never understood that until right now. The nose on this wine is meaty, but, also, with, maybe a sensation that I would associate with tart fruits. On the tongue there is only a hint of fruit (blueberry?), but there does seem to be a taste that makes me think of raw beef. The... Read More

    Wine review by EMark


  • Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyards Pinot Noir Santa Cruz Mountains Branciforte Creek 2005

    Snoothrank:

    The Pinot Noir produced from the grapes of Dr. Jennifer Choate and Dave "Woody" Wood's vinyard has spoiled me and set a new bar height in what I'll expect from this kind of wine. Absolutely wonderful range of flavors, from first sip through last aftertaste. This is a definitely a wine of highest rank, to be enjoyed on its own or accompanied b... Read More

    Wine review by JulRenA


  • Ahlgren Cabernet Sauvignon Santa Cruz Mountains Bates Ranch 2006

    Snoothrank:

    No written review

    Wine review by Donna George


  • Clos Lachance Sauvignon Blanc 2013

    Snoothrank:

    it is bad. very flat taste, slightly melon at best . not eve worth the $8 i paid for it. poured it down the sink Read More

    Wine review by cpolk10005


  • Big Basin Vineyards Cabernet-Syrah Blend Santa Cruz Mountains Odeon 2007

    Snoothrank:

    No written review

    Wine review by 453542Mr Dolce 453542 Mr Dolce


  • Rhys Chardonnay Santa Cruz Mountains Alpine Vineyard 2013

    Snoothrank:

    Very big oaky nose of vanilla. Yes, on the tongue I get the vanilla, and, maybe caramel. Make no mistake, this is no butter bomb. Citrus fruit flavors come with concomitant hit of refreshing acid. Quite spritely on the back of the palatemy guess is that is coming from the acid. Winner, winner. Read More

    Wine review by EMark


  • 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

    Snoothrank:

    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

    Snoothrank:

    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


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