Wine

Ridge Vineyards: Visiting the Cupertino Tasting Room

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If you like good wine you’re probably familiar with Ridge Vineyards. What you might not know is that in addition to their Sonoma location in Lytton Springs, Ridge Vineyards also has a great Cupertino tasting room perched on the mountains overlooking the Bay Area. The historic site is where the winery first began and their award winning Monte Bello cabernet sauvignon is grown. Located at 17100 Montebello Road, Cupertino, CA the drive is not for the faint of heart, but the views and wines that await you are worth it.

Ridge Vineyards Tasting Room in the Santa Cruz Mountains

Ridge Vineyards Tasting Room in the Santa Cruz Mountains

Ridge Vineyards Cupertino: A view to match their wine

Ridge Vineyards Cupertino: A view to match their wine

View from the Ridge Winery parking lot

View from the Ridge Winery parking lot

You can actually taste in the historic barn where the winery first began operations.

Reservations are required to visit during the week, but the tasting rooms are open to all 11AM-5PM on Saturdays and Sundays.

We arrived around 12:30 on a Sunday and though it was busy, it wasn’t crowded…yet. The tasting counters inside were pretty full but outside on the patio there were plenty of options. Though with the brisk breeze that sprang up I was hoping for a little more sun exposure. So if you plan to taste or hang out outside, bring a jacket just in case. It gets cold up there on the mountains. 🙂

Ridge Vineyards outdoor tasting patio

Ridge Vineyards outdoor tasting patio

There are three wine tasting options, the Single-Vineyard for $10, the Estate Single-Vineyard for $15, and the Estate Single-Vineyard with a pour of the famous Monte Bello cab for $25. If you sit outside, you have to choose one of the latter two. Since my wine-tasting philosophy is to always try the reserve or special selections if I can afford them, this wasn’t a hardship! We went with one estate tasting and one estate tasting with the pour of Monte Bello figuring that would be enough for us both to try.

Estate single-vineyards wines only out on the patio

Estate single-vineyards wines only out on the patio

The staff were great — both friendly and knowledgeable. They don’t bombard you with facts, but if you want to know anything they’re happy to fill in all the details.

All the wines were excellent, though I balk at paying $50+ for a Chardonnay. Even when I like them, I don’t like them that much. The Monte Bello cab was AMAZING, but at the price points it was their Zinfandels that really shone. Fruity, structured, well balanced. Delightful wines that linger on the palate and will age for years.

So good that we decided to linger over a half bottle and enjoy the view after the tasting was over.

They don’t sell food but you can bring a picnic and make use of the tables outside the tasting room and patio. Note: food is not allowed on the patio.

Outdoor picnic area at Ridge Vineyards

Outdoor picnic area @Ridge Vineyards

Tips for Visiting the Cupertino Tasting Room

  • Be prepared for the drive. Mileagewise, its not far from the Bay Area, but the last 15 minutes are not for the faint of heart –one lane roads around sharp curves with plenty of cyclists in the mix. The driver will probably want/need a glass of wine by the time they arrive…
  • Go early! If you want an unrushed, uncrowded experience, try to get there before 1PM at the latest.
  • Bring food if you want to hang out for awhile. The pours are quite generous, some snacks will help soak them up. Picnic areas are first-come-first-serve, so if you’re counting on a table, make sure you get there early.
  • Pets are not allowed
  • Wear sensible shoes. Part of the parking lot is on a steep hill and if you want to wander around the property you’ll want footwear that can handle dusty trails and uneven terrain.
Ridge Vineyard historic vines

Ridge Vineyard’s historic vines

 

Full Disclosure: I may receive affiliate credit from links in this post or on this site which will help fund my travels. Thank you for your support!

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Living for the little (and big things) that make life so fun, especially mistake deals and crazy last minute weekend mileage runs across the world. www.twitter.com/klatravel

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