A Mountain Harvest Wine Festival
Spending the day in the beautiful Santa Cruz Mountains tasting wine from organic and sustainable winemakers sounds like a perfect day to me. And that is exactly how I got to spend my Saturday at the Summit Wineries ‘A Mountain Harvest’ festival.
The day was off to a perfect start on top of the mountain at Silver Mountain Winery, one of the oldest organic wineries in the Santa Cruz Mountains, After a warm greeting from founder and winemaker Jerold O’Brien, CeCe McNeil and Spencer, the winery dog, and with a wine glass in hand I began with the whites and made my way across the varietals offered. With a number of award-winning wines it was hard to pick a favorite. Jerold’s passion for winemaking shines through in every sip.
Heading down Summit Road, I made my way to Burrell School Winery, a little red schoolhouse atop a small hill. The winery had a cheerful folk band performing right on the deck. Wine and appetizers were enjoyed amongst the guests while conversations and laughter brought back memories of recess.
I then crossed the street to Wrights Station, from which I could hear the smooth jazz flowing from the terrace. The bright, open space of the entryway invited me into the sunroom for the wine tasting. Tanya DeCell of Original Sin Catering was waiting, prepared to delight us with her specialized food pairings with three of Wrights Station’s wine selections. After tasting the wines herself, Tanya took careful consideration into her menu to make sure she brought out subtle hints of spice or fruitiness in the wine with her food. My favorite, a true show stopper, was the New York cheesecake with strawberries paired with a Pinot Noir.
Finally, I made my way to MJA Winery, tucked away in the Santa Cruz Mountain redwoods. Pulling its inspiration from Hawaii, the winery adds a laid back aloha feel to the California wine scene. The picnic tables, sand and solo guitar bring you right to the beaches of the Big Island, but when tasting the wine you quickly remember that it is a true Santa Cruz Mountain Pinot.
I delighted in the wineries I visited. The wines, the music and people pouring all played important roles in giving each winery its own spirit. In the future I look forward to visiting the wineries I did not make it to—Villa del Monte, Muns Vineyard and Radonich Brothers Vineyards.
Saturday at the Summit Wineries was a day well spent. I left feeling educated—and satiated— and highly recommend a visit to these sustainable mountain wineries.