Santa Cruz Wine

Both environment and economics pose significant challenges to viticulture in Santa Cruz County, which is home to some of North America’s finest wineries. The coastal county enjoys unparalleled natural beauty and proximity to San Francisco. However, with benefits come drawbacks, as vineyard developers are forced to compete with urban aristocrats seeking the perfect plot of land for their million-dollar homes. When you combine these conditions with steep, rugged, remote vineyard sites and Pierce’s disease, you have either a winery owner’s nightmare or the stuff legends are made of. In Santa Cruz County, the latter description is more appropriate. A ‘Who’s Who’ of Central Coast winemakers call this county and its two AVAs (Santa Cruz Mountains and Ben Lomond) home. – Description from Appellation America (view original content)

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Popular wines made in Santa Cruz under $20

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Varietals Produced in Santa Cruz View all

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • 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 View all

  • Picchetti Winery

    Located on a historic ranch a short drive from the Silicon Valley, Picchetti Winery is one of the...

  • Chaine D'or Vineyards

    Chaine d’Or is a small winery in Woodside. Our founders, Anne and Jerry Anderson, planted our fi...

  • Burrell School Vineyards

    Located at the historic Burrell School, our goal is to grow the best wine grapes possible so we c...

  • Kings Mountain Vineyard

    The vineyard at Kings Mountain was planted in 1992 on a private estate that has existed in Woodsi...

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Santa Cruz on Snooth

  • There are too many people.  Feel free to insert a "colorful metaphor"--in the words of Captain Kirk--between "too" and "many."You can drive I-5 and 101 from the border at San Ysidro to the northern edge of Santa Barbara and the only time you escape urban development is Camp Pendleton between Oceanside and San Clemente and a few miles between Ven... Read More

    Forum post in the topic From Santa Cruz south through...


  • The Coastal Commission has had large chunks of power since the '80s when their rise truly commenced. Don't remember hearing much in the '70s, though research might throw clearer light on their beginnings. Imagine there's been an ebb and flow in their influence and clout. For example, did they throw it around the same during the Schwarzenegger er... Read More

    Forum post in the topic From Santa Cruz south through...


  • Interesting. Given the current water situation in CA, it may not be such a bad idea not to develop any more water-intensive businesses.Greg, the central coast has had water issues as long as I can remember...  Even in spells of good rain.  They are always conserving.  I read it has to do with their location- their source is basically runoff from... Read More

    Forum post in the topic From Santa Cruz south through...


  • Threw some salmon on the grill and automatically reached for a pinot. ... 2008 ... 2008 Neely pinot from the Santa Cruz mountains was fairly good, not great. Mostly ripe red and black cherry on the nose.  The cherries come out on the palate as well as some rhubarb.  The acidity is a bit restrained and there's a touch of baking spice on the bac... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Whatcha drinking tonight?


  • Neely "Hidden Block" Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir 2008

    Snoothrank:

    Pretty nice Santa Cruz pinot. Mostly ripe red and black cherry on the nose. The cherries come out on the palate as well as some rhubarb. The acidity is a bit restrained and there's a touch of baking spice on the backend. Tannins are fairly light and fine grained and the finish is of medium length. Read More

    Wine review by vin0vin0


  • NG, you can call me Darren, or a-hole, whichever is more applicable at the time :)I should have said I found on the internet, a real estate site that had listings for sale.  It makes sense then if you can't do anything with it that people would give up.I thought America was the land of the free!  That sounds Totalitarian to me.  Is that a local,... Read More

    Forum post in the topic From Santa Cruz south through...


  • Interesting. Given the current water situation in CA, it may not be such a bad idea not to develop any more water-intensive businesses. Read More

    Forum post in the topic From Santa Cruz south through...


  • DVogler,It's prolly cheap since it would be difficult to build on it.  Also may be a water issue.  In Cambria, CA (just south of Big Sur), land is relatively cheap because you are not allowed to build without water, and the wait for water meter on a newly purchased piece of land was 20-30 years last I checked!  Which means there are a lot of vac... Read More

    Forum post in the topic From Santa Cruz south through...


  • I found 20 acres for sale right off the highway, up the hill of course, for $850k.  Wow.  That's cheap.  Read More

    Forum post in the topic From Santa Cruz south through...


  • Dmcker,I think it is very difficult to develop any "private" land in Big sur due to the land trust and Ca Coastal commission.  While these agencies are providing protection from large developments and other entities that might harm the coastline, many believe they have gone waaayyy overboard.  As far as grapes go, you would have to pull out the ... Read More

    Forum post in the topic From Santa Cruz south through...


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