A few of the wineries built in the south SF Bay Area back in the 1800’s have survived – through Prohibition, a phylloxera plague, and the passage of more than a hundred years - they’re still here, sprinkled through our wine region like beautiful gems, reminders of the time when the Grapevine was King. Because before Silicon Valley we had orchards here, and before the orchards? Vineyards! Thousands and thousands of acres of grapevines covered the Valley. These few surviving wineries have a story to tell, and of course - wines to share! Here’s a little about each of them:
Bargetto – Philip and John Bargetto came over from northern Italy and purchased the property where the current winery in Soquel is located, back in 1918. Rather than bottling the wine they produced, in the beginning they were wine wholesalers, and the story is told how you would bring your own jug and fill it up at the Bargetto’s storefront shop in town, for 50 cents. Don’t get too excited – those days are long gone! Today, they definitely bottle their own wine and make a wide variety, including their Honey Mead and fruit wines, and a full line-up of red wines, including their signature wine called La Vita, which is a blend of Dolcetto, Nebbiolo and Refosco, from grapes grown right here in the Santa Cruz Mountains, in the Regan Vineyard.
Kirigin Cellars - Kirigin Cellars has a long history, and is our very first, still-existing, Santa Clara County winery - they still have a wood-framed structure on the property that dates back to 1829! Originally part of the Rancho de Solis Spanish Land Grant, this historic property is now home to a beautiful new facility that sits alongside its historic counterpart on landscaped acres of lawn and flowers.
Mountain Winery – Books have been written about this place, originally the pride and joy of a Frenchman named Paul Masson, who named it LaCresta. Paul was a Burgundian, and therefore passionate about his Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, the two varietals that have since made our local wine region famous. The location has amazing views of the south bay, and Paul’s original winery building and winemaker’s chateau still stand. Resident historian, Jesse Montenegro, will charm you with tales of old – juicy stories about Paul Masson, John Steinbeck and SF stage actresses taking champagne baths – not necessarily in that order! And while you are there, might as well spend a few extra bucks and try the award-winning Burgundian varietals (Chardonnay & Pinot Noir)
Picchetti – The Picchetti brothers went into business together in the late 1800’s on Montebello Road in Cupertino. About a hundred years later, the property was sold to an open space district, protecting it from development and preserving the winery for its historic value. In 1998, a neighbor gained permission to re-open a winery in the Picchetti name and they’ve been carrying on the Picchetti Winery label ever since. The current Picchetti Winery Tasting Room is the original winery building, where Mrs. Picchetti says they used to have fun Summertime dances for the workers, family and neighboring ranchers, after an afternoon picnic & social. Nowadays, you can still enjoy a nice picnic while you enjoy a bottle of wine and watch the peacocks stroll around.
Savannah-Chanelle – Settled in the late 1800’s and then bonded as a winery in 1916 under the name of its founder, the “Pierre C. Pourroy Winery” produced a Claret wine and later, Zinfandel. Savannah-Chanelle still has most of the original 1910 Zinfandel vineyard, and California’s oldest Cabernet Franc vineyard from 1920, plus Pierre’s dream home – the Mediterranean-style pink villa still sits on the hill, overlooking one of the best picnic spots around. There’s also a ghost, some redwood trees, great Pinot Noir, and lots of Tall Tales to enjoy inside the Tasting Room, which is open 7 days a week.
Testarossa – Founded by the Jesuits in the late 1800’s, this 40-acre property close to downtown Los Gatos is where the Jesuits made the sacramental wine for all of the area’s Catholic Churches – for about 98 years. The property itself is still owned by the Jesuits, but Testarossa took over the winery facility back in 1997. Many of the buildings are the original hand-cut stone, and Testarossa is known as a popular venue for corporate events, in addition to having delicious, award-winning Chardonnay & Pinot Noir.Type your paragraph here.
by Debra Harden, Aug 1, 2017