Santa Cruz Mountains

The wineries of the Santa Cruz Mountains are scattered over a wide region. A good map, four wheel drive, and patience are required. Your GPS and cell phone may not work in several areas. Allow adequate driving time.

Recommended Wineries

Alfaro Family Vineyards & Winery
Tasting RoomOpen Saturday afternoons all year and Sundays all summer.
Production6,000 cases
WinemakerRichard Alfaro
OwnerRichard Alfaro
CommentsEstate grown and bottled Pinot Noir, Merlot, Syrah, Chardonnay and Gruner Veltliner from the unique terroir of Corralitos, at the southern end of the Santa Cruz Mountains AVA.
PoP coverageAlfaro Family Vineyards & Winery
Big Basin Vineyards
Tasting Room14598 Big Basin Way Thursday-Monday. Tastings at Estate vineyard and winery Saturday and Sunday
WinemakerBradley Brown
OwnerBradley Brown
CommentsWinery founded in 1998 on a historic site next to Big Basin Redwoods State Park. Estate grown Syrah, other Rhone reds, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Along with seven other Saratoga wineries, part of the Saratoga Wine Trail.
PoP coverageBig Basin Vineyards
Burrell School Vineyards & Winery
Tasting RoomOpen weekends
Production5,000 cases of multiple varietals
WinemakerDavid Moulton
OwnerDavid and Anne Moulton
CommentsHistoric school house on property. Deck with view of the vineyards perfect for picnics. Ask to see David's collection of old tractors. Private events and tastings available in Barrel Room, Vineyard Gazebo and Rose Garden and School House.
PoP coverageBurrell School
Clos de la Tech
Tasting RoomNot open to the public
ProductionPinot Noir
WinemakerT.J. Rodgers
OwnerT.J. Rodgers and Valeta Massey
CommentsA very ambitious Pinot Noir project with caves dug deep into the Santa Cruz Mountains and very steep estate vineyards. Founded by T.J. Rodgers, also the founder and CEO of Cypress Semiconductor Corporation.
PoP coverageClos de la Tech
Mindego Ridge Vineyard
Tasting RoomShared tasting room at 14598 Big Basin Way, Ste A, Saratoga, open Thursday-Monday and by appointment.
WinemakerEhren Jordan (Failla)
OwnerDavid and Stacy Gollnick
CommentsSingle vineyard, estate grown Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
PoP coverageMindego Ridge Vineyard
Rhys Vineyards
Tasting RoomNot open to public
WinemakerJeff Brinkman
OwnerKevin Harvey
CommentsHighly recommended Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from estate vineyards in the Santa Cruz Mountains and Anderson Valley. The winery and barrel room are completely contained underground in a 30,000-square-foot cave. The wines are highly allocated through a mailing list.
PoP coverageRhys Vineyards
Thomas Fogarty Winery & Vineyards
Tasting RoomTasting room open Wednesday-Monday. Tours available.
Production15,000 cases
WinemakerNathan Kandler
OwnerThomas Fogarty, M.D.
CommentsEstablished in 1981. Eight estate vineyards planted to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in the Northern Skyline region of the Santa Cruz Mountains overlooking the Santa Clara Valley.
PoP coverageThomas Fogarty Winery
Windy Oaks Estate Vineyards & Winery
Tasting RoomSaturday afternoon at winery in Corralitos and tasting room in Carmel-by-the-Sea.
Production2,000 cases of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay
WinemakerJim Schultze
OwnerJim and Judy Schultze
CommentsOne of the very best producers in this appellation, established in 1996, specializing in Pinot Noir and small amounts of Chardonnay.
PoP coverageWindy Oaks Estate Vineyards & Winery

Recommended Lodging

Babbling Brook Inn
CommentsCascading brook and waterfall amidst redwood trees.
Dream Inn
CommentsBoutique Joie de Vivre hotel on a sandy beach a few blocks from Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Every room has an ocean view. This was formerly a 69s beachfront motel and the renovation in 2008 has retained the 60s era look, but with a touch of chic luxury. This is a property that will never be duplicated as it sits directly on the beach. 163 guestrooms and suites face the ocean are brightly decorated. Heated pool. Aquarius restaurant featuring organic, sustainable fish.
Hotel Los Gatos
CommentsVery nice hotel in the town of Los Gatos. A highly touted Greek restaurant is inside the hotel. Close to all wineries. Breakfast is included in the rate.
Hotel Paradox
CommentsA unique, upscale, boutique hotel experience exploring an urban forest setting inside a beach town. Designed by designers Orlando Diaz-Azcuy Design Associates from San Francisco. Solaire Restaurant + Bar is inside. 162 rooms and 8 suites with designer touches and well-appointed amenities.
Inn at Depot Hill
CommentsA former Southern Pacific railroad depot. Highly recommended.
West Cliff Inn
CommentsThree story Victorian on a bluff across the street from the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.

Recommended Restaurants

Gabriella Cafe
CommentsRomantic yellow cottage with outstanding California cuisine using local ingredients. Good wine list. My fav in Santa Cruz.
Gayles Bakery & Rosticceria
CommentsEat in or take out for picnics.
La Posta
CommentsSophisticated Italian eatery with house made pastas. Sunday prix fixe meals from a particular place.
La Posta
CommentsHighly-rated by Michelin and Zagat, gourmet Cal/French cuisine.
CommentsHillside and creek side location set in a residential part of town. Phenomenal wine list including many Santa Cruz Mountains wines. A very unique restaurant that has stood the test of time and is an institution in the Santa Cruz Mountains.
Solaire Restaurant + Bar
CommentsWithin the new Hotel Paradox, this sleek, modern setting offers American farm-to-table inspired dishes. Executive Chef Ross McKee was most recently the Chef de Cuisine at Aquarius at the Dream Inn in Santa Cruz and prior, the Executive Chef at Shadowbrook Restaurant in Capitola.
Tacos Morenos
CommentsBoony Doon's Randall Grahm swears by this place for simple, good, and cheap tacos. I agree.
The Plumed Horse
CommentsNew owners and chef in 2007 (chef is Peter Armellino, formerly of San Francisco's Aqua) with a contemporary redo of the restaurant's interior. Cal/ French cuisine. Extensive wine list. Expensive but very stylish.

Recommended Wine Stores

CommentsCombination restaurant, wine bar and wine shop. Soif means thirst in French.
OwnerMatt Schofield and Jordan Iversen
CommentsExtensive selection of Santa Cruz Mountains wines. Wine tasting bar and tasting events. Food, local beer and cider on tap.

Appellation Websites