By Tom Masters, Contributing Writer
Santa Cruz is well-known for being the “birthplace” of surfing and hosting more than 20 luxurious miles of sandy shoreline where surfers gather to hit the waves. You may be surprised to hear that just like Napa Valley and other popular wine worthy areas of the country, Santa Cruz is also one of the best locations on the west coast for wineries. That’s right, nestled between the shore and the spacious Santa Cruz Mountains are some of the most prestigious wineries in California. While there are quite a few great Santa Cruz wineries to check out, here are the top four Santa Cruz wineries that you should visit while you are in the area.
Situated just above Soquel, a small town just north of San Francisco in Santa Cruz County, Soquel Vineyards has breathtaking views of the mighty Monterey Bay as well as the Santa Cruz Mountains Appellation. The vineyards offer wine tasting on the weekends and they have a wine club that hosts several events and gatherings throughout the year. Soquel Vineyards is owned by brothers Peter and Paul Bargetto and has been open to the public since 1987. They have won many tasting awards including Best of Class in 2016. Tasting fees range from $5 to $10.
Soquel Vineyards is located at 8063 Glen Haven Road in Soquel and they can be contacted for wine tastings at 831-462-9045.
Loma Prieta Winery
Loma Prieta Winery is a small winery in Los Gatos and while they are small and produce quite a few bottles less than other wineries in Santa Cruz, they are the number one producer of Pinotage in the state. Pinotage is made from South African grapes and is produced at only a few wineries worldwide. They also produce a beautiful Pinot Noir from grapes grown in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Situated in the mountainous area, you will find a great view of Monterey Bay when you reach Loma Prieta Winery. This winery is not only popular with people who enjoy a fine wine, but they are also dog friendly and will allow guests to bring their pets along during a wine tour. They host small and large groups, offer tastings on the weekends and host weddings and private events.
Loma Prieta Winery is located at 26985 Loma Prieta Way in Los Gatos and you can contact them for information on tastings and wine for social gatherings at 408-353-2950.
Bargetto Winery has a historic location in Santa Cruz County where patrons can enjoy a beautiful wine tasting room inside as well as a spacious courtyard outside. They also have an art gallery where you can see Bargetto wines that date back to 1933 when the winery originally opened. The Santa Cruz winery hosts small and large events that include not only their outstanding wines, but also food, art and a great musical selection for all tastes. You can join a tour of their wine cellars any day of the week beginning at 2:00 PM. Tasting tours range in price between $10 and $15 depending on whether you want to taste their regular collection of wines or you prefer a Reserve Tasting.
Bargetto Winery is located at 3535 N. Main Street in Soquel and you can reach them to schedule a tour or tasting at 831-475-2258.
Poetic Cellars is a rather new winery, established in 2005 in Soquel, but it is one with excellent promise as a top wine cellar in the Santa Cruz County area. They are situated on 33 majestic acres of land that are plied with beautiful redwood trees in the Santa Cruz Mountains. As if the natural beauty of the area were not enough, the wines they produce are bold and sensuous. They host social gatherings including weddings and other social events and are open to the public for wine tastings and have a great wine club where members receive three bottles of wine every season and can get a 20% discount on all purchases.
Poetic Cellars is located at 5000 N. Rodeo Gulch Road in Soquel and they can be contacted by phone at 831-462-3478.
Once you finish with your tour or tasting at one of these spectacular wineries in Santa Cruz, be sure to take a little time to explore as much of town as possible. The entire area is full of fun things to do including excellent local restaurants and bars, dance clubs, comedy clubs, casinos and much more. For the great outdoors, you can enjoy surfing, sunning at the beach, hiking to the mountains or just relaxing by the water and watching the sun set over the ocean.
Are there other wineries in Santa Cruz you think are a must to visit? Let us know in the comments.
About the Writer
Tom Masters is originally from California and has resided in many countries for short periods of times. He’s currently living in Italy but still shares his knowledge of things to do in Santa Cruz on his blog.