Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Don't Forget About Santa Cruz Mountains Wine Passport Day

Update:  Passport weekends are still available - prices and rules have changed. Be sure to verify of the wineries available directly with the Santa Cruz Mountains Wineries Association.     

“Summertime and the livin is easy” by George Gershwin lyrics are playing over and over in my mind. It is July already, boy the years zoom by.  I always remind everyone each summer of this favorite event, wine tasting on Passport Day, in July, in the Santa Cruz Mountains.   

By now you know that I am a wine enthusiast, yet I am not a wine sommelier.  I have my own ways to taste wine and enjoy traveling (and writing) in many regions. Yes, I do visit many Napa and Sonoma wineries for the day or weekend getaways, and I visit other favorite wine regions around the world. 

David Bruce Vineyards - Santa Cruz Mountains
I am very partial and passionate of our Santa Cruz Mountains Wineries. One of the oldest Appellations in USA, and of course, many of these wineries are close in proximity – less than 30 minutes away from Silicon Valley (San Jose). The wineries are smaller. You may even be able to talk directly to the wine owners and wine makers when you visit Monday – Friday. 

These Wineries are sprinkled throughout mountains, be careful, as sometimes they are difficult to find on these windy, mountain roads – each winery has a unique ambiance of their own.  The mountain roads definitely made arranging group wine tasting trips a bit of a challenge.

Currently, I write and taste about wine now, (what a life, heh?) and I only arrange a handful of small group wine tasting tours. I do know excellent local wine tour companies which I refer smaller groups less than 14 people that want to visit these mountain wineries.

Wine Passport Day, 4 times a year

Passport Day on Saturday four times a year and used to be one of the best kept secrets of the Santa Cruz Mountain Wine region.  It is the third Saturday of January, April, July, and November. 

Byington Vineyard & Winery, Santa Cruz Mountains - Pacific Ocean view (maybe)
Passport Day is when wine enthusiasts, like me, may take their wine passports to get commemorative stamps from favorite wineries. You may visit each winery once, get your stamp, and the passports never expire.  Purchase the official wine passports through the Santa Cruz Mountain Wine Association, (831) 685-8463, with a donation, or at the wineries the day of, while their supplies last.  Each passport covers tasting fees at participating wineries for one person on these special Saturdays (only) four times a year.

This is a special day because a few of the boutique wineries are not open to the public except on these Saturdays and many of the wineries offer special pours or barrel samples.  I highly recommend these special events. 

Santa Cruz Mountain Grapes
Insider secret, my favorite Santa Cruz wineries:

Bargetto Winery, Beauregard Vineyards, Burrell School Vineyards, Byington Vineyard & Winery, Cinnabar Vineyards & Winery, David Bruce Winery, Clos LaChance, 
Cooper-Garrod Estate Vineyard  (let your kids ride horses here), & Winery, Ridge Winery, Savannah-Chanelle Vineyards, and Thomas Fogarty.

David Bruce Winery, Santa Cruz Mountains

You may find more participating wineries during Passport Day. 

Don't miss these other wine regions nearby:

There are more wineries in Santa Clara Valley (near Morgan Hill and Gilroy), Monterey and San Benito counties.  So be prepared to include more wine tasting trips to keep you busy this summer.

Which of these Santa Cruz Wineries are you acquainted with and have been to? Comment below.

Be sure to get updated with more information the Santa Cruz Mountain Wine Association website.   

Love Santa Cruz in the Summer! 

Need to contact me?  Be patient, I may be out tasting wine
this summer!  The Fun Tour Guru

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