Monday, March 1, 2010

Wines of the Santa Cruz Mountains: Part II

I recall a few years ago at a local library, looking through a book on California wineries. It was from 1972 I think. I noticed that one winery listed was located in Mountain View. I almost want to say that the name was "Grimaldi Winery," but I forget now. I wrote down the address, and the next chance I got, I drove there. There was no winery. Only homes, probably built in the 1980s. When that book was written, the Bay Area's population was probably less than half of what it is today. That winery was probably on the north fringes of the Santa Cruz Mountain's wine region. Interestingly, there is a farm left on Grant Road, which sells it's produce on it's entrance on Grant Road; and is known for its own wreaths, sold during the Christmas season. I seem to recall that the "Grimaldi" winery was also located on Grant Road.

Continuing on Grant toward 280 (which begins on El Camino Real in Mountain View), you can see the majestic Santa Cruz Mountains. Still pure, rolling mountains far into the distance, much of it wooded. Those of you on the east coast might be surprised to know that there are a good population of mountain lions up there, so close to the suburban sprawl of the San Jose area. They're seen quite frequently. A new massive series of corporate buildings and concrete jungle parking lot, built in the middle of a quiet bedroom community, and which blocks the view of the mountains from Questa Park (off Grant), reflects the ongoing encroachment of Manhattan-style development on the formerly green paradise of the South Bay.

Shortly, you may turn left on Foothill Expressway. Actually it's more of a merger, but will look like a left turn I recall, and just take that straight as it further merges and changes names. I won't confuse you will all the name changes, just go straight through Cupertino. I don't want to get anyone lost, so only do this if you feel a little adventurous. I doubt you will have any problems, especially if you're somewhat familiar with the area.

Soon you will arrive in an open space area (which is actually a number of open space areas together), which surrounds Stevens Creek Reservoir. The reservoir has a very nice shaded picnic area next to the water. From the reservoir, you may just continue on the same road (now called Stevens Creek Road) into some access points into the remote area (I must warn you, there is a lot of poison oak on those trails!), or you may turn right onto Montebello Road. Montebello Road is where several of the northern Santa Cruz Mountain wineries are located. It may be a little bit difficult to follow Yahoo directions on this, but from that initial left turn off Grant.... just go straight until you see the reservoir, and the Montebello right turn will be coming up. Naturally you should have your addresses handy.

One of the Montebello wineries is the Picchetti Winery. If I'm not mistaken, this is the one located at the base of a very beautiful steep mountain. I haven't visited there yet, but have driven by it. There is a list of calendar dates on the website. The following >>> LINK is a map which will give you a good idea of the general location of the Santa Cruz Mountain wineries, which is from the website of the Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association. Another Montebello winery is Ridge Vineyards, founded by Ossea Perrone in 1885.

I couldn't help but notice, from the earlier Chronicle article from yesterday, that this wine region ends in Watsonville at its southern tip. That reminded me of S. Martinelli and Company, which is headquartered there, and which also goes back to the nineteenth century. Our roots are sewed so deep into the development of this area from the pioneering days that we probably are unaware of the extent.


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