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...

  • Zinfandel

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

  • 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...

  • 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...

Popular Wineries in Santa Cruz Mountains View all

  • Cooper-Garrod Estate Vineyards

    The sunny days, moderate nights, and long growing season of the Santa Cruz Mountains, which are s...

  • Domenico Winery

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

  • Ahlgren Vineyard

    No hype, no fad, not a trend. AHLGREN wines have earned a reputation for consistency of quality:...

  • Muccigrosso Vineyards

    Muccigrosso Vineyards is a family-run endeavor committed to producing small quantities of hand ma...

  • Storrs

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

  • Perrucci Family Vineyard

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

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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

  • I have 4 bottles upright for tonight with vinOvinO and guests at Walter Hansel ... ... Trout Gulch Chardonnay Santa Cruz Mountains2010 Rivers-Marie Silver Eagle Pinot Noir2012 Jolie Laide Grenache-Syrah Rossi Ranch2012 Elementary Cellars Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon that I decanted this morning @ 5:30amWe'll see what they are thirsty for. Will... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Whatcha drinking tonight?

  • Just when we thought this much fun couldn’t possibly continue we had day ... ... Trout Gulch Chardonnay Santa Cruz Mountains·         2010 Rivers-Marie Silver Eagle Pinot Noir·         2012 Jolie Laide Grenache-Syrah Rossi Ranch·         2012 Elementary Cellars Oakville Cabernet SauvignonFunny thing was that we also brought a bottle of Arnot ... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Russian River and Napa...

  • DMCKER, Also to answer your previous post: o Isaac, how many ... ... Lake Counties, down in the Santa Cruz mountains and the Pinnacles, or even up in Lodi?Ha! We don't get to the Napa / Sonoma Valley's nearly enough. We do have some connections in the wine industry from winemaking, to production to marketing / sales. Mainly In Napa and some in... Read More

    Forum post in the topic HELP! Conducting a Survey for...

  • So Isaac, how many roadtrips do you guys take out of Berkeley on a weekend or ... Lake Counties, down in the Santa Cruz mountains and the Pinnacles, or even up in Lodi?Am also curious (and indicated that in my response) as to what demographics you're targeting for the crowdfunding/outside investor portion. One of OT's bullets makes it clear th... Read More

    Forum post in the topic HELP! Conducting a Survey for...

  • Ceritas Pinnacle Vineyard Chardonnay Santa Cruz Mountains 2012


    Fairly big nose that leads with melon, but also shows some vanilla/oak. Initial mouth impression is that buttery oak, but it is wiped away, quickly, by refreshing acid. Here we get stone fruit, green apple, and a touch of lemon. A pretty unusual Chardonnay in my view. Even subsequent tastes start with the butter/oak heaviness sensation, but ... Read More

    Wine review by EMark

  • Kathryn Kennedy Cabernet Sauvignon Small Lot 2011


    No written review

    Wine review by 453542Mr Dolce 453542 Mr Dolce

  • SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: our origins and future in a single glance I am going to ... include Cabernets from the Santa Cruz Mountains, Chardonnay from Napa, even Verdelho from Lodi." They suspect, for the first time in a genearation, that there are vineyards in the US the equal of those ancient vineyards they already revere, and they want to come t... Read More

    Forum post in the topic LA wines, SD vines, London...

  • Ceritas Peter Martin Ray Vineyard Chardonnay 2012


    Interesting floral aromas. My kind of Chardonnay on initial taste. Very lean with noticeable acid. Some green apple flavors and just a hint of pineapple. So, you can see the acid is put to good use. My kind of Chardonnay even after the initial taste. US$55.00 from the winery's mailing list. Read More

    Wine review by EMark


    Forum post in the topic Is it time for the Tasting of...

  • Page Mill Syrah Santa Cruz Mountains 2010


    Raw beef, bacon, and faint pepper spice greets the nose followed by rosepetals, black spice, a little oaky but well balanced by violet and blue fruit background notes. Rich, and a bit tough and grippy in the mouth with great depth to the beef blood and grilled beefy flavors. Fresh acids add brightness even though the flavors remain a bit dark a... Read More

    Wine review by 89065Gregory Dal Piaz 89065 Gregory Dal Piaz

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