Jason and Janu Goelz have a plethora of experience and broad thinking that typically takes many people a life time to accumulate. Their combined backgrounds—business, tech, acting and film, a clothing line, finance, real estate, and a Sommelier Certification—give them an open mind when it come to wine. And that's fortunate for Gilroy.
There's a lot going on here. Jason-Stephens Winery is pioneering new growth and local business in Gilroy. They have a vision to expand the property, their winery, and make a place for local business.
Carrying on the local theme, the wines are made with local grapes from Gilroy. Their Estate wines are from fruit grown near Watsonville Rd. The tasting room on Brem Lane has been open about a year and currently pours Jason-Stephen’s Wines, and in the near future a line of wines made by Janu.
The front patio is family friendly, welcoming kids and dogs, while the back patio is for adults only and has a large screen TV (Warriors!) . Guests are invited to bring food on site and can enjoy a tasting, purchase a bottle, or buy a glass of wine during Happy Hour. Bring the lap top along and sip and nosh as you work. Or clock out and ditch the lap top!
On the seven acre property, Jason along with Tim Slater, proprietor of Sarah's Vineyard, are opening the
Stomping Ground. The vision continues with two new wineries opening this Fall and more services on the way: restaurants and a brew-tap, spaces for local artists, as
well as wine storage and production services...in case you're interested in having wine custom made for you.
Their vision celebrates Gilroy and what the region has to offer. I can see this being a good fit for the area. With so many people commuting, it's a relief locals can enjoy an evening out close to home and take a break from the HWY 101 traffic. It brings in local businesses and jobs. It's a win-win.
Husband and wife winemaker team, Therese and Dan Martin, create wines in tandem. You'll find Therese's wines under her Therese Vineyard's label. Dan markets his wine under the J.D. Hurley label: working together; yet each crafting their own line of wines under the umbrella of the Martin Ranch Winery.
The winery location is unique, as it's tucked in a nook at the base of the eastern side of the Santa Cruz Mountains, in Gilroy. Quite an exceptional location. The tasting room isn't exactly a room per se. It's more about tasting areas. You'll find outdoor tasting counters staffed with friendly and informative pourers, within views of the adjacent vineyards and hills. Or you can meander to shaded seating areas and enjoy your tastings with views of Therese's produce garden.
I had the good fortune to hear Dan speak last year at the Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Paradise. He poured Therese's Pinot Noir for the tasting, giving an overview of their winery and wine-making with grapes from the Santa Cruz region. Martin Ranch has also shared and poured wines at various events in the Bay Area, including Premier Cruz/Cabernet, at the Toll House in Los Gatos. Back at the winery, I was offered a chance to taste their Carignane, the grapes grown right down the road from the winery. Meanwhile, Dan and Therese meandered and chatted with guests. Talking about wine and life. Making guests feel like neighbors.
The running theme, is every time I see the Martins they are smiling, engaged in friendly conversation, or gently checking on their winery staff. Behind the scenes, I'm sure they have their fair share of blood, sweat, and tears that go along with any business, but they really share their wines and their lives in an inviting manner.
I walked onto Kirigin Cellars green-space one day, full of kids having soccer practice, and what did I see? Parents with a mimosa in hand. Really? A lovely glass of orange juice and sparkling wine? This was nothing like the Capri Sun pouches sold at the snack bars where our kids played sports. It had me thinking of moving to Gilroy.
Kirigin Cellars was founded in 1916, and since then has been through a metamorphosis. My first tasting here was in the aged tasting room with the old barrel-door. Kirigin has since then done a complete redesign with the property. Between the new clubhouse and field, the venue can host weddings, car shows, and sports. The beautiful hills along the winery make a scenic backdrop for photos.
The new tasting room is reminiscent of the past and has a cellar-room feel to it with small frescoes decorating the space. In addition, Kirigin has a large outdoor tasting counter for events. The wines are surprisingly reasonable for Bay Area wine prices, retailing for about $16 to $22.00.
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