The Santa Cruz Mountains summer Passport day is Saturday, July 17 – and I’ve listed a few food and wine highlights below including food served at the wineries, and food specials/discount at local restaurants.
For those unfamiliar with the “Passport” program, the Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association offers a special Passport program four times a year, and today is the Summer event (the other event days are on the third Saturday of January, April and November). Passport is an opportunity to meet the winemakers of the Santa Cruz Mountains, to see where and how they produce their wines, and — at selected wineries — the chance to try new releases or special barrel samples. This weekend, many wineries have events occurring both days (Saturday July 17 & Sunday July 18) to celebrate.
Vine Hill Winery is serving a cheese and wine pairing on Saturday. The winery is pairing aged Parmesan with its Chardonnays and Triple Cream Brie with its Pinot Noir. The cost? Free to Passport holders, $10 for regular weekend tasting and tasting is always Free to Vine Hill Wine Club members. Both Saturday and Sunday the winery will be open from noon to 5pm, and there will be live music plus box lunches available for purchase. You are also welcome to bring your own picnic. Location: 2300 Jarvis Road, Santa Cruz 95065.
Roudon-Smith Winery is also offering wine and cheese on Saturday. The company “Praise Cheese” will be on site serving cheese with some new wine releases from Roudon-Smith. Admission is $15 for the general public, complimentary for Roudon-Smith Wine Club members plus 2 guests ($5/pp thereafter) or with the presentation of a Santa Cruz Mountains Passport. Location: 2364 Bean Creek Road, Scotts Valley 95066.
Burrell School Vineyards & Winery is hosting a Hawaiian-themed event on Saturday. In addition to wine available for tasting, you can enjoy Ahi poke plates for $5 (offered by Burrell School neighbor Sandabs Restaurant) plus live entertainment by Kevin McDowell playing slackkey guitar. Location: 24060 Summit Road, Los Gatos 95033.
Hunter Hill will be pouring wine for Passport tasters on Saturday afternoon and offering a variety of appetizers. The winery is also holding selected wine specials including 2006 Syrah at $10.00 per bottle. Location: 7099 Glen Haven Road, Soquel 95073.
There are more than 40 wineries participating this weekend, in locations ranging from Westside Santa Cruz to Soquel, from Los Gatos to Campbell to Woodside. Wineries include Ahlgren, Alfaro, Bargetto, Bonny Doon Vineyard, Equinox, Hunter Hill, La Nebbia, Pelican Ranch, Poetic Cellars, Ridge, Roudon-Smith, Santa Cruz Mountain, Silver Mountain, Storrs, Testarossa, and Zayante.
During Passport Day, you can also enjoy discounts at selected local restaurants. Food specials/discounts include Cin-Cin (Los Gatos) offering one order of free empanadas to Passport attendees (empanadas are an approximately $12 value) and Aldo’s (Santa Cruz Harbor) offering10% off breakfast or lunch on Passport Day. Wine discounts include free corkage on Santa Cruz Mountains Wines at Café Max (Hilton Santa Cruz, Scotts Valley), Aquarius (Santa Cruz) Ma Maison and Sanderlings (Aptos), and Michael’s on Main (Soquel). For all discounts, attendees must show their passport.
Passports are available to purchase at any participating winery on passport day. Each Passport covers tasting room fees for one person at all participating wineries. At each winery you visit, a page of your Passport will be stamped. You must have your Passport with you in order to participate in the tasting. Passport benefits are good for one visit to each participating winery and are for use on designated Passport days only. Passports do not expire until each winery has been visited once.
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Saturday July 17
For more info, see Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association site