Santa Cruz Mountains wineries are spread over a large area from Half Moon Bay to Gilroy. With only 1500 acres of vineyards planted and over 70 wineries, many are small family-run operations handcrafting wines that maximize the potential for grapes grown in this area. 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. Many of these wineries are only open to visitors on the four Passport days held each year making it a great opportunity to sample these wines.
Several restaurants in Santa Cruz and Santa Clara Counties also offered special discounts for holders of the Passport, including Michael’s On Main in Soquel which offered tastings on several small wineries who could not accommodate visitors.
Many of these wineries pour special wines or barrel samples on these days. A lot of these wines are simply not available anywhere else, so if you find a wine that you like, please buy a bottle or two. Without sales, these special tastings cannot take place.
The Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers website provides you with a map of the wineries and a full list of participating wineries. Passports can be purchased at any of the participating wineries for $40.
For more info: Santa Cruz Mountains Spring Passport.