The Santa Cruz Mountains appellation is characterized by intimate, artisan wineries tucked in among the trees along beautiful mountain roads, or perched atop the ridges with sweeping views into the valleys and out to the coast. These wineries are near San Jose, Los Gatos, Saratoga and Santa Cruz, California. Visitors often meet and chat with the winemakers while they explore the coastal mountains just a short drive from the heart of Silicon Valley or from the Pacific Coast.
The Santa Cruz Mountains have played a pivotal role in the story of wine making in California, with roots going back over 100 years. Formally recognized as the Santa Cruz Mountains appellation in 1981, the distinctive mountain topography follows the fog line along the coast with some vineyards as high as 2600 feet elevation.
This region is marked by diverse micro-climates. On the Eastern (inland) side, Zinfandel, Cabernet and Merlot predominate. On the coastal side and ridge-tops, cooled by ocean breezes and fog, cooler climate varietals like Pinot Noir thrive.