A quick 1.5 hour drive from San Francisco and you are in the heart of the Santa Cruz Mountains with so many great wineries.
Okay y'all, I had no idea how great this region was and just as close as Napa from San Francisco! If you are looking for a weekend getaway this is just the spot to do so. The wineries are welcoming, laid back, dog friendly, and group worthy. The tastings are affordable and so are the wines! So many great small production wineries that have great tasting rooms. I will get to it and tell you about how to plan a great two day trip from where to lodge, wineries to visit, and where to eat!
First, the Santa Cruz Mountain wine region has an app! YES AN APP FOR WINE TASTING! SIGN ME UP! WELL, I DID SIGN MYSELF UP. Its super simple to download the app and purchase a wine passport. With the passport, you have access to complimentary tasting flights at 50+ participating wineries every day for a year. (It costs around $65, but thats over 50 tastings!) Also, it was easy to walk into multiple places and tell them you had the passport and just showed it to them and wa-la that's it- then you get to taste!
We left on a Saturday morning and headed down to the SCM region. First stop was lunch in Los Gatos at Oak and Rye. The food was great and they are pretty known for some amazing cocktails.
We then proceeded to the wine!
Using the app you can see the closest wineries to you that you have the passport tastings with, so its very easy to pick a few wineries to go close by.
In the evening we headed to Stockwell Cellars (you can use the passport app here as well). This place was definitely the place to be in the evening! It stays open later than the wineries in the area and they also had live music and a food truck. Super cute place, very friendly staff and great wine!
Dinner that night we went to HOME. The food was great, friendly staff, cozy dining, and a good wine list to choose from!
What we ordered:
1. burrata, sea salt, olive oil
2. ricotta gnocchi, chanterelles, chicory, truffle oil, parmesan, breadcrumbs
3. llano seco porchetta, pumpkin puree, smoked apple habanero demi, arugula
4. flourless chocolate cake
2013 cabernet sauvignon, domaine eden, santa cruz mountains
After dinner we went to the Chaminade Resort and Spa. This hotel is pretty central to a lot of wineries and the downtown area. It is up in the mountains so you really feel like you are out of the city and its so peaceful! (This hotel is also dog friendly - just give them a heads up if you are going to bring your furry friend). Also, if you are into some additional R&R, they have a spa as well!
Sunday morning we went on a hike - the hotel has a few trials that you can access pretty much right outside the rooms. So it was very convenient and the trails were beautiful and very well maintained.
Chaminade also has a great Champagne Brunch! Its buffet style with some great options as well as a omelet bar (my favorite)! Super convenient and very necessary before hitting up day two of wineries.
AND NOW BACK TO MORE WINE!
Our first stop on Sunday was Wrights Station. This winery is GORGEOUS, super friendly staff, and the wine I loved! The tasting room is a remodeled old farmhouse from the 40's that is overlooking the vineyard that sits on the property. The staff were very welcoming and let us choose the experience we wanted. You can sit outside (or inside) with a group of friends and bring in a picnic while enjoying the wine, you can taste at the bar, or you can have more privacy and pick a table in another room and make your experience more intimate. (oh and they are dog friendly!)
Wines I loved:
1. 2014 Reserve Chardonnay $35
2. 2014 Pinot Noir Cave Block Reserve $49
Second stop on Sunday was Regale Winery.
This winery is great to buy a bottle of wine and hang out outside and enjoy company and play some fun games. The views here are breathtaking AND the property is gorgeous as well. On the day we went, the winemaker was pouring the wines. This makes for a fun experience when the winemaker is telling you about the wines! Regale is open to the public, but they only sell their wine to members and those that visit the tasting room. Which means.....you need to go there to try the wine (darn!). I promise you won't be disappointed with the views. They also have a bocce ball court. So bring some friends, buy a bottle (or two) of wine, and have a great day outside!
It was the perfect little weekend getaway with lots of great food and wine involved. So grab a friend or 6 and head down to the Santa Cruz Mountain wine region and I promise you won't be disappointed!