gmhTODAY 16 gmhToday Sept Oct 2017 - Page 75

3. Something for Everyone There are 27 winery members in the Wineries of Santa Clara Valley directory, from Saratoga to Gilroy, and no two are making the same vino. Because of the various micro- climates in this diverse region, wine drinkers can enjoy anything from a Chardonnay —grown in the cool coastal breeze of the Chittenden Pass on the east side of Gilroy, to the rare dark reds of the dryer climate in western Morgan Hill. Of course, it wouldn’t be California without a classic peppery Zinfandel--and here there’s plenty. Award Winning Wines 6. The Santa Clara Valley Wine region might be the most family friendly out there, which speaks to the area’s relaxed vibe. Stop at Cafe 152, Nob Hill, or Lawson’s Bakery and grab picnic items, pile in the car and enjoy a casual meal in a natural setting with a bottle of wine, suggested Howard. “This is down-home winemaking--almost every vineyard has a resident dog,” she said, laughing. Friendly dogs, bocce ball, cozy nooks, vintage tasting rooms, live music are all found amongst the wineries here. 4. According to Gilroy Welcome Center Director Jane Howard, Santa Clara Valley wines took home seventy awards at the 2017 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition—the largest competition of solely American wines in the world. Kirigin Cellars on Watsonville Road and Martin Ranch on Redwood Retreat Road even took home Best of Class awards. But their winnings never get to their heads. “Every year, wineries in our area bring home baskets of gold medals from well respected statewide competitions and high scores from major wine publications, but remain humble, low key and friendly,” said Tim Slater, owner of Sarah’s Vine- yard on Hecker Pass Highway. 5. Relaxed Vibe Entertainment Fun “We may not have big ornate buildings but we have that personal touch. Our wineries are making good wine--but more importantly, they are having fun. And I think that makes us so unique.” Summer is alive with activity at the wineries. There’s music and dancing, harvest dinners, wine tasting, and fun. They also host weddings and nonprofi t fundraisers throughout the year. Stories Behind the Winemakers The wines here are as diverse as the people making them. “When you visit our wineries, you’re meeting the owner, the winemaker, and you’re hearing the stories behind the wine,” Seeker said. “We do this because we love it and we want to share it with you. “Some are third-generation winemakers, while others are plumbers and tech executives by day, she said. There’s a fascinating story behind how each of them ended up in the wine industry, and they are ready to share it with their customers over a glass of Sangiovese. “Not all of us are making big money from this,” Seeker said. “We are here because we love making wine.” 9. The new Tankhouse at Fernwood Cellars 7. Economic Boost In 2014, Supervisor Mike Wasserman introduced the Santa Clara Valley Wine Trail, an offi cial country designation of area wineries with road signs for travellers to follow. “We’ve heard anecdotally from a lot of wineries that they’ve seen a big jump in foot traffi c since the Wine Trail was implemented,” said Elizabeth Sanford, a policy analyst from Wasserman’s offi ce. From the County’s perspective, the wine industry creates a “full package” for tourism, bringing up revenue for area restaurants and shopping. “Anytime we can support local agritourism, th ]8&\B[8'H[ܙZY SH8(SԑSS8(SPTSTSPTБT MŽ Y]Y[BH[\X^HH\\[[XYB[X[]\]H\XZܚ]B\HYܙXH[Y[]\B][[ˈ[\\H[H MKB L[K]\\\[܂Y[X\ˈ[܈HYY[BX]]Y[[H][܈Z\^][ H[\Y\ٙ\X[HX\]\]]]HX[%\XX[B\\Y[Y\[[Xۈ[^K\ZY [\\BL H\H[\Y\[[H\B[^H\H\وH\Xx&\[X]]Y[[\YK[H\[”\Z HX[H[][™H\[YH[Bܝ^[[Z[[[[\ܘ[\[[ [HZH[[[XYۛH[H\܈]\[[ۂ[[^HY]H[وH^B]H\[H܈ˈH[X[˜]YH܈ܚ[Z] 8'H]H[HXYXYY[ۋ\H[H\B[ ˈ\\[\\H[\\HH] 8'HYZ\ZY Z^KB