POSTED ON October 10, 2008 | IN Santa Clara - Monterey | BY joe

We knew that there were several good-sized wineries around Morgan Hill but we were very surprised to discover one small winery called Monte Verde Vineyards. Todd and Alexia Johnson own this winery on their home property where they grow small plots of vines including Tempranillo, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon.

The Johnsons started out making wine as a hobby. The compliments on their wine began to roll in from family and friends and today that hobby has turned into a small boutique winery, producing 300 cases of wine per year. Alexia does the bulk of the winemaking along with taking care of their three children while Todd continues to work his day job.

This area of Morgan Hill where the Johnsons have their property provides an ideal climate for their vines. This location is in western Morgan Hill, up against the Santa Cruz Mountains. This mountain range provides some relief from the hot Morgan Hill summers by providing cooling nighttime temperatures. We found it interesting as we drove around to find several luxury homes with vineyards on their property. Our guess it that there are many high-tech titans in the area that are very much interested in wine. In fact, we learned from the Johnsons that the source of their wonderful Syrah is from a neighbor’s vineyard a few miles away.

The Johnsons have a plan to develop more vineyards on their property and a facility where they can make and store their wine and eventually grow to an annual production of 1000 cases. In the next few weeks, they will plant Verdejo on the property and that will make them the very first winery in California to grow this Spanish white wine grape. They also have some young Tempranillo vines growing and plan to produce a 100 percent Tempranillo. The Spanish influence comes from Alexia, who was born and raised in Spain.

On the property, they have created a very beautiful setting for tasting wine and picnicking. Weather permitting (tasting is outdoors only) they will be open every third Saturday of the month or by appointment.

We tasted four wines and found them all to be well structured and with good character. We particularly like the Syrah and the blend of Tempranillo, Merlot, and Cabernet they call Tres Amigos. We will be keeping our eye on Monte Verde and hope to try some of that Verdejo soon.

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