Benchmark Wineries

Bargetto Winery

Bargetto was the first new winery to be formed in the Santa Cruz Mountains—in 1933 -- after the repeal of Prohibition. Founded by Italian immigrants, brothers Philip and John Bargetto, and now in its third  generation, Bargetto is the oldest continuously operating winery in the Santa Cruz Mountains and produces Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, as well as Italian grape varieties.  

Beauregard Vineyards

The Beauregard family first purchased this property, an historic vineyard, in 1945, immediately planting Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Zinfandel. Now, two generations later, Jim Beauregard is leading the charge, determined to assert the unique character of wines from the Ben Lomond AVA. 

Clos de la Tech

Owner and winemaker TJ Rodgers, an electrical engineer, set out to make small-production, meticulous wines in the Santa Cruz Mountains in 1996. Now he and his wife make five different Pinot Noir from three estate vineyards—all low in production -- using a tractor and a press that TJ designed to maximize flavor and minimize intervention. 

David Bruce Winery

David Bruce Winery was established in 1964, and was originally planted to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay; the 1973 David Bruce Chardonnay placed in the 1976 Judgement of Paris tasting. Today Petite Sirah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel are also produced.  

Kathryn Kennedy Winery

Kathryn Kennedy was inspired to plant a vineyard near her home of Saratoga when she tasted a Martin Ray Cabernet Sauvignon. She did so in the 1970s, and boldy put her name on the bottle, one of the only women at that time to do so; today she is considered a Cabernet Sauvignon specialist.  

Lester Estate, 

Based in Aptos, Pat and Dan Lester first planted vines in 1998. Today they make very small production Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Syrah, all grown on a single plot of land.

Mount Eden Vineyards

The Mount Eden property was established by Martin Ray in 1943, who planted vine cuttings from Paul Masson’s original La Cresta property. Today Mount Eden makes extremely nuanced and age-worthy Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from vineyards sitting at 2,000 feet (607 m) in elevation.  

Mountain Winery

The Mountain Winery dates back to 1878 and Paul Masson, the Frenchman who would go on to plant Pinot Noir and Chardonnay cuttings from Burgundy, grafted onto American rootstock. Winery operations resumed in 2004, with small amounts of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay being produced.  

Rhys Vineyards

The goal of Rhys is simple: to make Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Syrah from unique, mountainous vineyards. It's no surprise that founder Kevin Harvey landed in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The majority of grapes come from the Pacific side of the mountains, with one wine made from fruit from the Bearwallow Vineyard in Anderson Valley.

Ridge Vineyards

Founded by three Stanford scientists in 1959, the estate was not dubbed Ridge Vineyards until 1962; Paul Draper took over as winemaker in 1969. Ridge’s Monte Bello Cabernet Sauvignon is a true icon, but the estate’s rare Chardonnay and old vine Zinfandel also merit attention. 

Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard

Owner Ken Burnap revived the historic Jarvis estate in 1975. The original goal was to make high quality Pinot Noir, but over time his sights have widened to include Spanish and Portuguese grape varieties.  

Thomas Fogarty Vineyards and Winery

When Thomas Fogarty first established his estate and vineyard, he promised to plant only 1% of the estate to vines, while maintaining the remaining land as an open space preserve. Based in the cool Skyline district in the northern part of the AVA, Fogarty produces cool climate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, along with some unexpected gems, like Riesling, Gewurztraminer and Nebbiolo.