Santa Cruz Mountains Grand Tasting: April 30, Saratoga

I firmly believe that the Santa Cruz Mountains wine region is one of California’s most interesting and dynamic places to grow wine. Quality has grown with leaps and bounds over the last 10 or 15 years, and larger numbers of wineries on the North Coast have begun sourcing fruit from the many diverse sites to be found on both sides of this coast range.

Overshadowed by more famous names to the north and to the south, the Santa Cruz Mountains remains largely unexplored by most lovers of California wine. Sure, everyone has likely heard of Ridge Monte Bello, but word is gradually getting out about the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir (as well as lots of other tiny Cabernet projects) that have become some of my benchmarks for their variety.

All of this by way of saying, if you’re a serious wine lover, you might want to consider attending the upcoming Santa Cruz Mountains Grand Tasting event, held at the Mountain Winery in Saratoga. You’ll be able to spend an afternoon tasting widely from more than 45 of the region’s wineries.

Those pouring will include: Alfaro Family Vineyards & Winery, Aptos Vineyard, Bargetto Winery, Beauregard Vineyards, Big Basin Vineyards, Burrell School Vineyards & Winery, Charmant Vineyards, Cinnabar Vineyards & Winery, Clos de la Tech, Cooper-Garrod Vineyards at Garrod Farms, Dorcich Family Vineyards, Domaine Eden, El Vaquero Winery, Ferrari Ranch Wines, Gali Vineyards, House Family Vineyards, Integrity Wines, Kathryn Kennedy Winery, Kings Mountain Vineyards, Kissed By An Angel Wines, La Vida Bella Vineyard, Lago Lomita Vineyards, Left Bend Winery, Lester Estate Wines, Lexington Wine Co., Madson Wines, Maison Areion, Martin Ranch Winery, Mount Eden Vineyards, Muns Vineyard, Naumann Vineyards, Neely Wine, Regan Vineyards Winery, Rexford Winery, Ridge Vineyards, Roberts Ranch Vineyards, Roudon-Smith Winery, Saison Winery, Sandar & Hem Wines, Sante Arcangeli Family Wines, Silver Mountain Vineyards, Storrs Winery & Vineyards, Thomas Fogarty Winery, Windy Oaks Estate Vineyards & Winery, Woodside Vineyards, and Wrights Station Vineyard & Winery.

A regular ticket gets you the chance to taste, but a VIP ticket includes snacks, access to a “rosé bar” and a glass of sparkling wine in welcome. Up to 50 VIP ticket holders can also purchase access to a library tasting experience where they can experience older vintages from Ridge Vineyards, Kathryn Kennedy, Mount Eden, House Family Vineyards, Cooper-Garrod Vineyards at Garrod Farms, Thomas Fogarty, Big Basin Vineyards, Muns Vineyard and more.

2023 Santa Cruz Mountains Grand Tasting
Saturday, April 30th
12:30 PM – 4:00 PM
The Mountain Winery
14831 Pierce Rd
Saratoga, CA 95070 (

Tickets for the event start at a quite reasonable $79, with the VIP tickets coming in at $120 or $170 with the library tasting add-on. If you’re a designated driver they’ll host you for a mere $25. I recommend buying tickets online in advance.

Make sure to leave extra time to get to the Mountain Winery and deal with parking. Also, please make sure you have a designated driver or plan to spit all your wine (which I recommend doing anyway if you want to educate your palate—as opposed to just drink).

Hopefully the weather will be a bit warmer by April 30th, but in the mountains, you never know when it’s going to be cold and blustery, or blistering hot and sunny. Check the weather, and bring both a sun hat and a jacket.