Santa Cruz Wine Tasting & Passport

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Santa Cruz Wine Tasting

Wine tasting in Santa Cruz California – Experience a rich history of wine-making in this overlooked wine region in California.

Wine Tasting & Passport in Santa Cruz, California

From my 15 years+ living in Southern California, I visited several wine regions in California on weekend getaways, bachelorette parties and California ramblings including Sonoma Valley, Napa Valley, Paso Robles and Temecula. How did I miss Santa Cruz as a wine region? On my 48 hour adventure in Santa Cruz, California, we spent on afternoon wine tasting the regions wonderful varietals. BlueSkyTraveler - Santa Cruz Wine Tasting & Passport

Surf City Vinters

Our wine tasting afternoon started at Surf City Vinters. This urban renewal project turned former warehouse spaces into a new trendy area for wineries and restaurants. With wineries literally next “warehouse” to one another, you can pop in for several wine tasting within one-city block.  The wineries also have a great vibe given that they are a collective of micro-boutique wineries, with the winemakers sharing equipment for a more community feel to the area.
Surf City Vinters
Source: Surf City Vinters

Equinox Cellars

Our first stop in Surf City Vinters was to visit winemaker Barry Jackson at Equinox Cellars to discover a new favorite sparkling wine.  Barry and his wife Jennifer have a long history in the region working as winemakers and have now ventured out to make their own sparkling wines. A chat with Barry and you can see his passion for wine-making and knowledge of the region.

“You can have too much champagne, but you can never have enough.@visitsantacruz at Equinox Cellars

Our wine tasting was accompanied by a delicious charcuterie platter where we fought over the last pieces of delicious locally made meats, also available in this center. My Favorite: Equinox 2001 Extended Tirage Blanc de Blanc Website: Equinox Cellars (Check for hours) Phone: +1.831.471-8608 Address: 334 Ingalls St, unit c, Santa Cruz, CA 95060 BlueSkyTraveler - Santa Cruz Wine Tasting & Passport

Santa Cruz  Mountain Vineyard

Located also at Surf City Vinters, Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard specializes in both Pinot Noir’s under the Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard label and also Iberian varietals originating from Portugal and Spain under the Quinta Cruz label including Tempranillo, Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Souzao, Graciano, and Tinto Cão. Andrew was our host for a long wine flight of both the Pinot Noirs and the Iberian wines. Though the Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard was started 30 years ago, the vineyard was established in 1863 by the Jarvis Brothers and is one of the oldest continuously operated vineyards in California. My Favorite Santa Cruz Pinot Noir: 2013 Pinot Noir – Bailey’s Branciforte Ridge My favorite Quinta Cruz: 2008 Rabelo – I love a good after dinner port and this one hit the spot. BlueSkyTraveler - Santa Cruz Wine Tasting & Passport Website: Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard (Check for hours) Phone: +1.831.471.8608 Address: 334 Ingalls St, Unit c, Santa Cruz, CA 95060


Our last stop on our wine tasting afternoon was to Soif Wine Lounge before dinner at Soif later that evening.  Located in downtown Santa Cruz, Soif Wine Lounge has a huge inventory with a tasting menu of wine selections from around the world.  The staff was extremely knowledgable and friendly to help you find a wine to your taste in a relaxed atmosphere. Our selection focused on wines from the Santa Cruz Mountains including:
  • 2014 Beauregard Vineyards “Bald Mountain” Chardonnay
  • 2013 Birichino “Lilo Vineyard” Pinot Noir
  • 2013 Big Basin Vineyards Syrah Santa Cruz Mountains
  • 2011 Mount Eden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon
We all agreed that each one was a winner and could easily continued with any of these for our subsequent dinner at Soif.  Each of these bottles in on my wine selection list as a result of the tasting. Website: Soif Phone: +1.831.423.2020 Address: 105 Walnut Ave., Santa Cruz, CA 95060 My Favorite: 2013 Birichino “Lilo Vineyard” Pinot Noir BlueSkyTraveler - Santa Cruz Wine Tasting & Passport

Passport Days

Want to visit more wineries in Santa Cruz? Barry from Equinox filled us in on this gem: Passports to the Santa Cruz Wineries currently priced at ~$50 The Santa Cruz Mountains winery region encompasses more than 850 square miles south of San Francisco down to Monterey Bay with dozens of wineries.  About 50 wineries participate in the Santa Cruz Passport which gives you one visit to each of the participating wineries for up to 2 years.  Some of the tasting rooms are open daily and other wineries are only open on passport days which are 4 specific days of the year. These wineries are generally closed the public but accessible via the Passport on Passport days. Website: Santa Cruz Mountains Wine Growers Association Passport Days BlueSkyTraveler - Santa Cruz Wine Tasting & Passport BlueSkyTraveler was welcomed as a guest of Hotel Paradox, however all opinions are my own.

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