Santa Cruz Mountain Wine


Written by:

Joe Becerra

Last updated:

Redwood trees and vineyards atop the Santa Cruz Mountains

Exploring Santa Cruz Mountains Wine Country in Boulder Creek

You must visit the Santa Cruz Mountains wine country. This wine country area is far different from the more popular wine regions like the Napa Valley or Sonoma Valley. Santa Cruz Mountains wine country is a massive area of half a million acres, with wineries scattered among Coastal Redwoods and mountain tops. The region ranges from the Half Moon Bay area in the north to Gilroy in the south, some 60 miles apart.

The Santa Cruz Mountains’ varied microclimates and diverse terroir offer an ideal environment for cultivating a range of grape varietals. This allows winemakers to craft wines with distinctive characteristics that reflect the unique attributes of the region. 

However, the most important grape variety in recent years has been Pinot Noir. Pinot Noir grapes love the same environment as the Coastal Redwood trees. The Santa Cruz mountains, even in the hottest summer months, begin the day with fog and end the day with cooling breezes from the Pacific Ocean. The midday sun is just enough to empower the Pinot Noir grapes with lush flavors of red fruit and exotic notes. 

We recently spent a couple of nights in Boulder Creek, just a few miles from the city of Santa Cruz. The Boulder Creek area has some exciting wineries that should not be missed by wine country travelers. These two wineries are small and hidden deep in the Santa Cruz Mountains of the Boulder Creek area. Take yourself away from the maddening wine crowds and experience wine country at its best.

Roberts Ranch Vineyard

Roberts Ranch – a beautiful place to taste wine

Roberts Ranch is in Ben Lomond, five miles from Boulder Creek. Set you Carplay map for Roberts Ranch and get ready for a unique travel experience. At the top of Love Creek Road sits Roberts Ranch. It is a family affair. Joshua and Sarah Stewman are the owners-winemakers, and Joshua’s brother Tom Stewman is the vineyard manager. A thousand cases of wine are made, with a Burgundian-style Pinot Noir produced from the estate vines. Chardonnay, Grenache, and Sauvignon Blanc are also products from other vineyards in the Santa Cruz Mountains.  For visitng Roberts Ranch, there are three options available. The winery also doubles as the Stewman home, so tastings are limited. The wines are delicious. I tried the 2019 Estate Pinot Noir, and it is absolutely amazing. It has complexity and character.

Big Basin Vineyards

The unassuming tasting room at Big Basin Vineyards
The unassuming tasting room at Big Basin Vineyards

Big Basin Vineyards operates two tasting rooms, one located in Santa Cruz and the other situated at the winery itself. If you have the opportunity, I highly recommend arranging a tasting session at the winery, which sits atop the breathtaking Memory Lane mountain. As you make your way from Boulder Creek to Big Basin Redwood State Park, this winery lies conveniently on the route. The location is simply stunning, exuding a captivating and inspiring atmosphere. Notably, the panoramic view of the vineyards speaks volumes about the excellence of Big Basin Vineyards and its remarkable wines.

The estate vineyard spans across ten acres and is dedicated to organic farming practices. Nestled on a steep hillside, it proudly features an assortment of premium grape varieties such as Pinot Noir, Syrah, and Genache. With an annual production of approximately 4000 cases, the wines crafted here consistently rank among the best. They are not only incredibly delicious, but also reasonably priced, making them a true delight for wine enthusiasts. If you’re feeling adventurous, this is undoubtedly the place to visit.

Estate vineyards  - Big Basin
Estate vineyards – Big Basin

To enhance your experience, I suggest purchasing a bottle of Big Basin wine and embarking on a scenic hike at Big Basin Redwood State Park, followed by a delightful picnic lunch. In Boulder Creek, you’ll find the exceptional Wild Roots Market, known for their fantastic deli sandwiches. Moreover, they proudly stock a wide selection of Big Basin Vineyards wines, allowing you to continue enjoying their exceptional wines, even after your visit.

Others things to do in Boulder Creek area

Historic Scopazzis in Boulder Creek
Historic Scopazzi’s in Boulder Creek

More wineries to visit in the Santa Cruz Mountains

Santa Cruz Guide Books – from Amazon

  • Joe Becerra

    Joe Becerra has been traveling to wine country and enjoying wine since 1965. He is a retired educator, and now have the time the opportunity to share his wine travel experiences through this Website.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.