The last time I visited the Boony Doon tasting room, the location was on Pine Road in the tiny town of Bonny Doon, near Santa Cruz. Last November the winery moved its tasting room next to its wine production center on Ingalls Street, in the Swift Street Courtyard complex in Santa Cruz. What a difference! From funky, crazy, and very casual, to a more formal, elaborate, and upscale atmosphere. The tasting room is very fancy and well-appointed. It is one of the better interior-designed tasting rooms we have seen in our wine travels. Very chic, a happening spot, and trendy in a sense. Something remaining that is very much off-beat are the names given to their wines and the unique labels for the wines.
In the same structure, but blocked from your view in the tasting room, is an equally-classy cafÃ© called the Cellar Door CafÃ©. Each night the cafÃ© offers a family-style prix fixe menu. In addition there are small plates to choose from and these can be paired with a wine or with wine flights. The tasting room also offers tastings paired with some delights from the cafÃ©.
Boony Doon has pared its wine production down by selling off its popular everyday wine labels and now concentrates on limited production labels that are mostly Rhone varietals. We tried about six of their wines and were impressed with their quality. These are well-made wines. Almost all of the wines have an interesting blend with one main grape and a little of this and that added to give the wine a unique flavor and character. This is a departure from what most wineries will do. Most blends are very standard and traditional, not so at Bonny Doon.
Bonny Doon is very much into the environment and has been before it became the thing to do. Their estate vineyards are farmed biodynamically. When they source their grapes from other vineyards they look to vines that have been farmed the same or organically. The label on the back tells you all you need to know about the wine. It is the most complete wine label information you will find on a bottle of wine.
We recommend a trip to the Bonny Doon tasting room. This is a beautifully-designed tasting room and the wines are ones you will not find elsewhere. Combine your visit with the other tasting rooms nearby in the Swift Street Courtyard that we mentioned in our previous blog post. The Santa Cruz area has a lot to offer in terms of activities, so you can wine taste and find plenty of other exciting things to do.