If you haven’t heard of the Santa Cruz Mountains Passport Program or found out about the last one too late, here’s another chance to plan your itinerary. This coming Saturday– January 20– many wineries that are normally closed to the public will be open. But only if you have a passport.
In addition to the big names like Ridge, David Bruce, and Thomas Fogarty, you will also be able to visit smaller, family-run wineries, such as Naumann Vineyards and Cinnabar, whose tasting room will not be open until the end of April.
Hours generally run 11 until 5, though some close at 4 (i.e. Ridge) and some stay open until 6 (Domenico, for instance).
Passports are available for purchase at some wineries, as well as though the Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association. If you plan on trying to buy one at a winery, it might be a good idea to call ahead and scope out availablity as they tend to move quickly.
Perhaps you’ll want to make a whole day of it by packing a lunch — many of the vineyards have picnic facilities — or taking advantage of the restuarants offering wine specials with the passport. Another item to think about is transportation. It might be in everyone’s best interest to hire a driver, as the mountain roads can be windy…made even more so by a little vino.
Happy and safe travels as you enjoy the wine and gorgeous scenery.