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Explore Santa Cruz Mountain Wineries

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The Santa Cruz wine region is very spread out and a winery visit will may take you on several winding mountain roads. The trip is worth it as the combination of redwood forests and Monterey Bay views are an experience unrivaled by any other appellation. The wine is almost like icing on the cake, a very good cake!   -Part 1

Fun
The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

400 Beach Street
Santa Cruz, Ca. 95060
831-423-5590
There are many family attractions in the region, but this classic beach-front boardwalk hits most all of a family’s entertainment cravings in one convenient location. Worth it for the Giant Dipper alone!

Provisions
The Summit Store
24197 Summit Road
Los Gatos, Ca. 95033
408-353-2186
Tri-tip sandwiches to sushi with snacks galore! This is a perfect place to stop on your way to one of the local wineries for your picnic. -Don’t forget cheese and some fresh fruit.

Wineries
Many Santa Cruz wineries located in rural area are only available on the weekend or by appointment. Please make sure the places you’d like to visit will be open before making the trek!  -Though a nice mountain drive is always a nice diversion, and by the way, the Summit Store sells local wine and has a patio.

Silver Mountain Vineyards 

269 Silver Mountain Dr.
Los Gatos, Ca. 95033
408-353-2278
Silver Mountain is a leader in organic and sustainable vineyard and winery practices. Primarily a Pinot Noir producer, they craft a refreshing food friendly Chardonnay as well as a Bordeaux blend and Syrah.
Open Saturdays from 12-5pm.
Yes, there is nothing like visiting the real deal, but there is also a tasting room in Santa Cruz at 402 Ingalls St open Th-Su 12-5pm.

Loma Prieta Winery
26985 Loma Prieta Way
Los Gatos, CA 95033
408-353-2950
Pinotage anyone? The Pinotage varietal is a cross between Pinot noir and Cinsaut grape and has historically been South Africa’s claim to wine fame. Here you can taste how Santa Cruz Terroir sculpts the grapes into wines with a delicate to intense resolution. The wine list here is extensive as is the quality.
Open 12-5pm each weekend.

Burrell School Winery
24060 Summit Road
Los Gatos, Ca. 95033
408-353-6290
Tasting wine in an old school room makes me feel a little naughty and I suppose that it adds to the enjoyment. The tasting room is inside the lovingly restored school originally built in 1854. The tasting list includes, (as one might expect in this region), Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, but they also feature a fine Zinfandel and Estate grown Cabernet Franc.
Open Th-Su 11-5pm.

June 27, 2014 |

Family Tips for Event Season at the Wineries

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The vines are growing that grassy green first growth of the new season and that means special event season has started at the wineries! Sure, people get married at wineries, I did (and it was the best), but what I’m focusing on here are the events that are open to the public: Wine Festivals, Concerts, Cooking Demonstrations, Food and Wine Pairings, BBQ’s, Art Shows. even Plays and Melodramas. If you are lucky, you may find a winery or region that is showcasing many of these attractions on the same weekend.

20120506-b-paso-robles-wine-festivalFestivals and Concerts
Wine Festivals that are taking place at a central location are really more of an adults only event, but there is usually much going on at individual tasting rooms as well. These events sometimes cost a few dollars, but you can typically get a discount for the designated driver. Check FamilyFriendlyWineries.com in advance to find the wineries that are the most welcoming to kids and make the wines you prefer. Then you can pick and choose where you will eat and where you might want to stay for the live music. Many wineries have complimentary live music on the weekends. The kids really love concerts, the energy is palpable and we love to expose them to different styles of music. Get there early enough to find a spot under some shady trees. I suggest sitting near the back of the crowd. That way the kids can get loud and dance around and you won’t spend the afternoon apologizing. The businesses really appreciate the courtesy and you will have a more relaxing time of it.

Be Prepared
Always bring lots of water! Take snacks for the kids as well, you never know if they will like what is available to eat or when the caterer will run out of food. Keep some sweatshirts in the car just in case a cool breeze starts blowing off the Pacific. Hats and sunblock are mandatory at any outdoor event on the West Coast. Bring folding chairs, a blanket if the show goes into the evening. Is it picnic style? Some wineries allow you to bring your own sustenance. Just don’t bring your own wine! Speaking of, I aways buy a bottle to support the winery and if we really like it, more to take home. Remember, most wineries discount by the half and full case. I know of a few that take a little more off with a multiple case orders as well. If you are smitten, try their Wine Club. You’ll be given a heavier discount and receive wines delivered to your door (most states) several times a year.

It’s about Family Fun
          Don’t forget to stop by FamilyFriendlyWineries.com to make your winery event choices painless and easy. With a little pre-planning and preparation, you will create a memorable event for the whole family.

April 24, 2014 |
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