Santa Cruz County

photo of vineyard in Santa Cruz County, California
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Santa Cruz




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Experience the Fine Wines of the Santa Cruz Mountains

The Santa Cruz Mountains has been recognized as a premium wine producing region since the late 1800's when local wine growers first began to win acclaim for their wines in national and international competitions. Few of these original wineries survived prohibition, but many new wineries have developed since the 1940's. In 1981 the Santa Cruz Mountains Viticultural Appellation became federally recognized, one of the first American viticultural areas to be defined by geophysical and climatic factors. The appellation encompasses the Santa Cruz Mountain range, from Half Moon Bay in the north, to Mount Madonna in the south. The east and west boundaries are defined by elevation, extending down to 800 feet in the east and 400 feet in the west.

The number of wineries and the acreage planted in the Santa Cruz Mountains has increased dramatically in recent years as the area has become recognized as a unique grape-growing region. The individual microclimates, marine influence, mountain terrain, distinctive soils and low crop levels, all contribute to the production of intensely concentrated fruit.

There are now over forty, small, family-owned wineries in the region. The small size of these operations allows the winemakers the opportunity to hand-craft their wines and to maximize the potential of the grapes. The same spirit of innovation, independence, and determination that distinguished the great winemakers of the 19th century lives on today.

Directory of Vineyards & Wineries

Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Annual Events

Vintner's Festival
The Vintners' Festival takes place 2 weekends in June at wineries and restaurants throughout the area. Many Festival locations offer special wines, food, music, art shows and other entertainment. To join the festivities, you purchase a glass at any, participating festival location. The glass is your ticket to all other festival sites.
Passport Program
The wineries of the Santa Cruz Mountains invite you to become citizens in their Passport Program. For $10, you receive a Passport to the wineries, including many that are not open to the public at other times. You may tour the facilities, meet the winemakers, sample the wines, and learn more about what makes Santa Cruz Mountain wineries so special. Each winery will stamp the Passport, and when a completed Passport is turned in, the holder receives a reward. Passport wineries will be open to stamp your Passport on selected Saturdays in January, April, July and November, as well as during their regular hours.
Santa Cruz Mountains Wine Auction
An afternoon wine tasting and auction held each Spring at the historic Stanford Barn in Palo Alto, offering great food, music, and exclusively Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers wines. Professional wine buyers preview Spring releases at this event, and you can too!
Wine & Roses Benefit Tasting
A gala event for Watsonville Community Hospital in the Fall, featuring an auction of double Magnum bottles, spectacular roses, fabulous food and exclusive tastes of Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers wines.
Santa Cruz County Fair
Come to the Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers booth in mid-September and see the many medals won by the wines of the region.
The Ultimate Winemakers' Dinner
A chance to dine with the winemakers and sample a cross section of Santa Cruz Mountains wines with a delicious meal.

For information about these and other events call
Santa Cruz Mountains Wine Growers Association
(831) 479-WINE (9463). (Event conditions subject to change)

For additional visitor information contact:
Santa Cruz County Conference & Visitors Council
1211 Ocean Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
(831) 425-1234 - Toll Free: (800) 833-3494 - Fax: (831) 425-1260

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