Highway 35 to Bear Creek Rd. to Santa Cruz
The Santa Cruz Mountain Wine Trail provides a unique wine country experience. Discover wonderful wineries among the Redwoods and mountains of Santa Cruz. This is an exciting getaway to this mountain wine region.
Top Wineries to Visit on This Wine Trail
- Thomas Fogarty Winery & Vineyards – Spectacular view & tasting room
- Ahlgren Winery – Owners Mr. & Mrs. Ahlgren, a great winemaking team
- Byington Winery & Vineyard – Elegant winery and fantastic settting
- David Bruce Winery – Pinot Noir, Pinot Noir, Pinot Noir
- Burrell School Vineyards – Located in historic 1890 schoolhouse
Dining and Lodging Recommendations
From San Francisco, take Highway 280 to Woodside Rd, Highway 84 Exit. Follow Highway 84 West. Highway 84 takes you through the small town of Woodside and up the moutains to Skyline Blvd, Highway 35. Turn left onto Highway 35. Drive 4.5 miles to the Thomas Fogarty Winery. It will be on your left. Be ready to make a sharp left into the winery. If you need to pick up a picnic lunch, try Roberts Market in the town of Woodside.
Winery Descriptions, Driving Directions, Tasting Room Hours
Thomas Fogarty Winery & Vineyards
An eye-catching view will meet you as you drive through the gates of the Thomas Forgerty Winery. Here, amid a forest of Redwood trees, are beautiful acres of vineyards overlooking the Peninsula and the Bay Area. The tasting room has one of the most beautiful views of any tasting room you will find. Thomas Fogarty, a famous cardiologist, started the winery as a hobby and began producing wines in 1981. The winery produces excellent estate Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and small amounts of Merlot. The climate in the Santa Cruz Mountains is ideal for growing these varieties. They also make a great Gewurztraminer from vineyards in Monterey. The days are warm and the nights cool. There are two tasting menus, one for $6 and the other for $8 per person.
Tasting Room open Wednesday through Sunday from 11:00 to 5:00,
11:00 to 5:30 during the summer.
Phone: 650 851-6777, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Go to website
Leave Thomas Fogarty and head south on Highway 35. You will travel about 20 miles along roads lined by forests of California Coastal Redwoods. At Highway 9 turn right and travel about a mile. Look for the Ahlgren entrance on the left side of the hill. This winery is owned and run by husband and wife team Dexter and Val Ahlgren. This is a very small production winery. Dexter is the wine maker but both team up to run the entire winery operation. The wines are made from carefully selected vineyards from the Napa, Livermore, Dry Creek Region, and the Santa Cruz Mountains. The Chardonnay and the Syrah are excellent choices. The wines are all made at the winery and aged in their 199 barrel cellar. The Ahlgrens host the wine tasting and provide good conversation about their wines Since this is a two-person operation the tasting room is only open on Saturdays.
Tasting room open on Saturdays, 12 to 4 pm
E -mail: email@example.com, Go to website
After leaving Ahlgren Winery, continue south on Highway 9 towards Boulder Creek. As you enter the town of Boulder Creek, you will see a sign for Bear Creek Road. Turn left and travel about 7.5 miles to the Byington Winery. Drive carefully on these beautiful mountains roads. Byington will come up quickly on your right. This is one of the most magnificent wineries in the Santa Cruz Mountains. There is a small picnic area that overlooks a stunning view of the mountains. The acres of vineyards surrounding the winery are Pinot Noir. This area receives intense heat during the summer days and at night the temperatures cool down considerably making for ideal growing conditions for the Pinot Noir grape. The winery does not use any irrigation system, relying on the rainfall it receives during the winter and spring months. The winery produces only about 250 cases of Pinot Noir a year from eight estate acres. They also make some very good wines from grapes acquired from other vineyards.
Tasting is open Friday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Phone: 408 354-1111, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Go to website
David Bruce Winery
Continue on Bear Creek Road just a very short distance (1/4 mile) to David Bruce. The David Bruce winery is famous for its Pinot Noir wines. Their Pinot Noir wines account for sixty percent of their wine production, producing them from the Santa Cruz Mountains (about six acres), Sonoma County, and the Central Coast Wine Regions. You might want to try comparing the various Pinots to get an idea of the subtle differences among the various wine regions. The winery has a long list of active wine club members. Not only do these members receive special shipments of Pinot Noir, but they get to attend the many special events held throughout the year by the winery. Besides the Pinot Noir, David Bruce also bottles varietals of Petite Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel and Chardonnay.
Tasting room open daily from 11 to 5 pm.
Phone: 800 397-9972, e-mail: DBW@davidbrucewinery.com, Go to website
Leave David Bruce and continue on Bear Creek Road until you get to Highway 17. At this point, you can head straight to Santa Cruz on Highway 17 (just follow the signs) or visit another unique winery, Burrell School Vineyards and then take the back roads into Santa Cruz.
Burrell School Vineyards
Continue on Bear Creek Road to Summit (Highway 35). Take Summit for about 5 miles to Burrell School Vineyards. To the right of the red schoolhouse is the tasting room. The deck outside the tasting room provides a dramatic view of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Tables are provided and all you need is a glass of the Burrell School Chardonnay and some food and you are set for a great picnic. You will enjoy the friendliness of the tasting room as well as the very good Chardonnay and Merlot. These are the only two wines currently being produced by this winery.
Tasting is open Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Go to website
To get to Santa Cruz via the backroads, head down Summit a very short distance and turn right on to Soquel Santa Cruz Road. This will get you to the coast.