Wine & Wineries
Recently, my husband and I took a drive to San Martin to visit Miramar Vineyards. We hadn’t spent any time in San Martin in the past, but were generally aware that this South County community was located between Morgan Hill and Gilroy, so were interested in learning a bit more about the area, as well as enjoying some local wines at a place we hadn’t been to in the past.
It was a great choice!
Miramar was a hub of activity, apparently due to live music that was about to begin when we arrived. The folks there told me that they’d only been open two and one-half years so far, but you would not have known it from the crowd that day. The parking lot was nearly full and cars lined the road, too. Like finding a filled-to-the-brim restaurant with people waiting outside, we thought this might be a good sign.
We didn’t wait long to get paid up so that we could do some tasting. The staff moved quickly, assisting customers who were there to buy wine or to pay for wine tasting. They reminded us that if we purchased a bottle of wine, one of the $10 tasting fees would be waived. Continue reading
South County is rich with wineries! Recently my husband and I visited one of them, Guglielmo, when we were in Morgan Hill for some friends’ pool party. Jim hadn’t been to Guglielmo Winery in decades, and somehow I’d never been there before at all.
Set in a beautiful campus, the Guglielmo Winery is venerable as one of the older wineries around and begun in 1925. The Guglielmo website states that “Guglielmo Winery is the oldest, continuously operating, family owned winery in Santa Clara Valley.”
It has a nice mix of the “hark to yesteryear” items, both outside and in, with more contemporary decor and landscaping. It’s a very nice blend of old and new.
Inside, there’s a rustic, rambling set of rooms that serve as both 2 wine tasting stations and a really fun store full of kitschy, funny, and useful things. Close to the cash register was the area for white wines, and in the back was another for reds. We were at the former. The wine we tried was delicious and we came away with two bottles of the Tre and one of a sparkling wine.
In summer, the winery provides free music at its Vine and Vibes series on Wednesdays. There are other events too – check out the schedule at their site:
The winery is located at 1480 East Main Avenue, Morgan Hill, CA. There’s a small tasting fee of $5 per person as of this writing (July 2016), and the fee is refunded if you purchase $25 worth of wine or more. http://www.guglielmowinery.com/
Here are some images of the winery when we visited on July 2nd. Enjoy!
Awhile back, a Realtor friend, Colleen Kulikowski, was visiting from the Buffalo & Niagara Falls area of New York. Together we attended the California Association of Realtors conference in San Jose, CAR EXPO, where we enjoyed some great sessions and at which I was a panelist one day on social media and real estate blogging. I very much wanted her to see more than just the inside of a conference center, though, so in the evenings and days before and after we saw some sights along the coast and went wine tasting in Los Gatos, Willow Glen, Monterey and central San Jose at the fabulously convenient J Lohr Tasting Room.
As we walked up to the door, I volunteered to pay for our tasting – just before noticing that it’s at no charge! This is pretty rare today in Santa Clara County, Monterey County or Santa Cruz County wineries. (When a tasting is free I always buy a bottle anyway if I enjoy the wine, and normally I do.)
Our hostess was very nice and gave us a printout of what could be tried that day and explained that we could select 6 and then she would “put them in order”. Colleen and I prefer different types of wines so had little overlap in our selections – it was great to have so much variety.We both liked a number of wines and both made purchases (so they did ok on the free tasting by us). Continue reading
Saratoga has become a great place to go wine tasting. Until just a few years ago, there were vineyards and wineries in and near to Saratoga, but no tasting rooms for many years, so oenophiles were out of luck if they wanted to wine taste in Saratoga. Luckily, a trend is underway and tasting venues have been on the rise. Today I’ll review for you five of the places I’ve visited and enjoyed. Three of them are right in Saratoga Village and a few more are not too far away. All have seating of some kind, either outside or in, and all of them have friendly, knowledgeable staff in my experience.
In Saratoga’s downtown Village you’ll find Cinnabar, Big Basin Vineyards and also Uncorked!, a wine bar (showcasing many wines from many vintners). A little further out you can taste at Savannah-Chanelle and Cooper-Garrod. I’ll discuss each of them in this post.
Cinnabar opened a tasting room in Saratoga Village about 3 years ago and we finally paid it a visit yesterday (Labor Day). Cinnabar’s chardonnay has long been one of my very favorites, so I was looking forward to sampling that and several other offerings.
The tasting room was positively hopping when Jim and I stopped in. Malcolm poured for us and educated us on the wines. Luckily he wasn’t working alone so had plenty of time to tell us about what we were trying, about the wine club, events and more. Cinnabar has two “flight” options, one at $5 (four wines) and one at $10 (5 wines) per person – please see their website for info on those. Also, Cinnabar has a nicely done Saratoga visitors guide on their website – check it out!
The setting is very inviting, with a unique gift shop and tables outside too – you can purchase “wine by the glass” and sip it outdoors, watching the activity on Big Basin Way. This month (Sept 2010) Cinnabar also has Friday Evening Music on the Patio from 5:30 – 7:00pm. Make it a first stop on your way to dinner in town!
Cinnabar Winery Tasting Room
14612 Big Basin Way
Tel. 408 867-1012
Directly next door to Cinnabar’s tasting room is the just opened Big Basin Vineyards tasting room. Talk about lining up a Saratoga wine trail!
The tasting room for Big Basin Vineyards was smaller and quieter but very pleasant and still had a nice crowd for a holiday.
I don’t think that they could have chosen a better location for their new shop, and they seem to be off to a great start.
Michele and Andy were pouring for the patrons and explaining to us about the wines, their recent opening, events and the art sporting the walls of the shop. There was a little seating area for visitors who may want to savor the tasty goods off their feet.