Viticulture Association of the Santa Cruz MountainsViticulture Association of the Santa Cruz Mountains
The Santa Cruz Mountains has played a pivotal role in the history of winemaking in California, with roots going back over 100 years, and including well-known winemakers such as Paul Masson, Martin Ray, David Bennion (Ridge), David Bruce and others. The appellation has seen significant growth and change since the start of the 21st century: in the space of a few years the number of wineries has grown from 40 to now over 60, and vineyards are proliferating. The precedence set by these legendary figures (along with best and sustainable practices in the vineyards and wineries) can be tasted today in our world-class wines.
Recognized as an AVA in 1981, the Santa Cruz Mountains Appellation was among the first to be defined by its mountain topography, following the fog line along the coast to encompass our highest vineyards on the ridgetops at 2600’ elevation. Our vineyards and wineries and the wines they produce reflect this mountain terrain, and their proximity to the ocean and the resulting maritime climate.
The appellation is characterized by intimate, artisan wineries tucked in among the trees along beautiful mountain roads, or perched atop the ridges with sweeping views into the valleys or along the coast. Visitors can meet with and talk with the winemakers and enjoy exploring the mountain and coastal ambience and little towns. Wine tasting here is as much a discovery of the natural beauty of the mountains as it is a delightful discovery of our world-class wines. Visitors can taste at several nearby wineries in a day, and drive from the mountaintops (where it snows in winter!) to the coast and enjoy a sunset walk on the beach!