Thursday, June 4, 2009

The fabulous Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association’s 2009 Vintners’ Festival starts this weekend. This event occurs over the following two weekends. June 6 and 7 feature the wineries from the Western (Santa Cruz) side of the mountains, and June 13 and 14 feature wineries from the Eastern (San Jose) side of the mountains. This is an excellent opportunity to not only visit many wineries not normally open to the public, but also partake of regional delicacies, barrel tastings, meeting the winemakers and enjoying live music and vineyard tours.

The winemakers of this world-class winegrowing region go all out to host this event and promise the visitors an exciting time. Prices are only $30 in advance or $35 at the door. This cost covers both weekends so you really get twice the value over normal passport adventures. And you walk away with a commemorative glass to remember your weekend! If you are planning to participate on the first weekend you can still purchase tickets in advance and pick up your ticket at the first winery you visit. For ticket information check the Santa Cruz Mountains website

June 6th and 7th – Western side (Santa Cruz County side of the mountains)

Thirty six wineries at 30 locations in Santa Cruz County will be serving premium wines with special attractions including winery tours, barrel tastings, local chefs and more. Check out this list of first weekend participants and start making your plans to visit some of these wineries on the cool side of the appellation.

June 13th and 14th – Eastern side (Santa Clara and San Mateo counties)

Wineries from the summit and Los Gatos and from Gilroy to San Carlos will be participating this weekend, inviting wine lovers to join them in celebration of Santa Cruz Mountains wines. Check this list of second week participants to see which wineries are participating the second weekend.

Several restaurants will also be part of the Vintners’ Festival, many of them hosting various wineries that do not have tasting rooms. The restaurants will close at 4:00 p.m. The wineries are open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. all four days.

The Santa Cruz Mountains winegrowing region, or appellation, has over 70 small family-owned and operated wineries. It is famous for its Burgundian style grapes, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay on the cooler western side but the warmer lower elevation wineries on the eastern side are known for Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

For more info: Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association 2009 Vintners' Festival

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