The Santa Cruz Mountains appellation encompasses approximately 480,000 acres, from Woodside in the north to Watsonville (Mount Madonna) in the south, some 60 miles as the crow flies and 100 miles to drive. Within this area are some 60+ wineries and over 200 small vineyards growing approximately 1300 acres of winegrapes, divided about ¼ evenly among Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and ‘other’ varietals (most notably Merlot and Zinfandel). A single vineyard in some appellations has as much if not more acreage as we have in our entire appellation! Our winegrapes are rare and in demand.
Our broad region is marked by diverse microclimates: warm on the eastern (inland) side where Zinfandel, Cabernet, and Merlot predominate; and on the coastal side and ridgetops, cooled by ocean breezes and fog, cooler climate varietals such as Pinot Noir are grown. Soils are varied (decomposed rock, clay, loam, limestone); an abundant mineral content often releases a fresh, mineral character to the wines.
The region’s vineyards actively support sustainable winegrape growing. Our winegrowers have used best vineyard and sustainable practices, including cover crops, erosion control, canopy management, for decades. Since the first sustainable workshops in 2004 the region has seen an increase in the adoption of sustainable vineyard practices. Some have adopted alternative energy such as solar and biodiesel. Several vineyards grow organically, and one is certified organic by the CCOF.