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

  • 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...

  • 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...

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...

  • Perrucci Family Vineyard

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

  • Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard

    Since 1975, Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard has been producing terroir-driven, food-oriented wines k...

  • Storrs

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

  • Byington Winery

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

  • Mount Eden Vineyards

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

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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

  • My brother and his family live in Mt. Herman over in the mountains by Santa Cruz.  His commute is nuts, but the town is a beautiful mountain village.  A mountain side creek not far from his house a trails to hike.  I like his area, but not the prices. Read More

    Forum post in the topic Wine storage tips

  • Storrs Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir 2013


    This is a great wine at a price that's a bit more accessible than many similar ... ... pinot that brings the Santa Cruz Mountains to life Read More

    Wine review by 1001679BYAHHH 1001679 BYAHHH

  • Storrs Chardonnay Santa Cruz Mountains 2014


    "This is a very intriguing, tasty and cerebral bottling from this producer, which has an urban tasting room in the heart of Santa Cruz. Aromas of Brie cheese rind, Meyer-lemon pith, light jasmine and sea-salt-crusted cashew lead into a very grippy palate laden with pomelo pith and incredibly vibrant citrus and saline flavors." - Matt Kettmann Wi... Read More

    Wine review by 1001679BYAHHH 1001679 BYAHHH

  • Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir 2013


    Delicious, affordable pinot from a local Santa Cruz Mountains producer that knows what they are doing. This full bodied pinot offers strawberry and cherry on the nose with a luscious mid palate, white pepper, and an elegant finish. Read More

    Wine review by 1001679BYAHHH 1001679 BYAHHH

  • Rhys Horseshoe Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Syrah 2011


    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


    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


    No written review

    Wine review by Donna George

  • Clos Lachance Sauvignon Blanc 2013


    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


    No written review

    Wine review by 453542Mr Dolce 453542 Mr Dolce

  • Rhys Chardonnay Santa Cruz Mountains Alpine Vineyard 2013


    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

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