Instead of traveling and tasting from winery to winery,
one ticket gave guests a wine tasting tour of Salinas Valley wines, all at one location.
Nine Wineries. Five food trucks. One band. All in one day of tasting at the
Salinas Wine Trail's Trucks, Tunes, and Tastes.
The Salinas Wine Trail runs north-south and is Monterey County's inland wine region.
Paraiso Vineyards in Soledad hosted the Salinas Wine Trail's one day tasting extravaganza.
Paraiso is Spanish for paradise. And when you look at the winery's location in the Salinas Valley, well, the winery is aptly named. Vistas of the valley floor spread below the winery. The towering hills line the valley west and east.
Owners Jason Smith and Jennifer Murphy Smith are second generation grape growers. The Smith family are primarily local grape growers. The Smith parents started growing grapes in the Santa Lucia Highlands in '73. In the past, most of the grapes were sold to other wineries. Then the family decided, “why not showcase Monterey County wines?” So the family started making wine in '89. Now, the family offers three lines of wines. (Paraiso Link.)
Winemaker and owner Denis Odonata has wine roots in Santa Cruz. Now his winery, production site, and tasting room are in Salinas. Estate vineyards in Santa Cruz, and vineyards in Monterey and Santa Clara offer premium local fruit for their wines. (Odonata Link.)
Al Scheid started growing grapes in '72. Now Scheid Vineyards grows four thousand acres of wine grapes and over 39 varietals. They keep the top 2% for their family line of wines, and sell the rest of their grapes throughout California, Washington, Oregon and beyond. Enjoy tasting Scheid wines at their Carmel by the Sea tasting room, or their newly remodeled tasting room in Greenfield. (Scheid Link.)
Hahn Family Wines:
Philip Hahn oversees Hahn Wines. His parents, Nicolaus (Nicky) and Gaby Hahn, purchased land in the Santa Lucia Highlands (SLH) in the the late '70s. Since then the family has made its stamp on the Monterey wine world and further. Nicky spearheaded establishing the Santa Lucia Highlands as an AVA. Now, the Hahns own about 6,100 acres of vineyards in the SLH. (Hahn Link.)
Chalone Vineyard shared--they have the oldest Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vines in Monterey County. Located in the dry, south-east end of the county, the vines grow in temperatures that drop to 50 degrees at night then heat up to 90 degrees during the day. During a heat spike, the vineyards may reach 115! The Chalone team carefully monitors the grapes. The cool evenings let the grapes settle, producing flavorful, yet delicate wines. (Chalone Link.)
So do keep an eye out for Monterey County wine events (Link.)
Plan a day or weekend for wine tasting along the Salinas Wine Trail.
In the summer, the air is warm with coastal winds sweeping
down the valley, and bonus—no pollution.
You won't find fine lodging or dining nearby.
But plenty of lodging is to be had in Monterey, less than an hour away.
Or stop in Salinas before heading down the Valley and pick up some food for a picnic.
Give yourself time to slow down and enjoy the day.
The Salinas Valley Wine Trail is breathtaking
in a wild, desolate kind of way—with its own siren call.
Here's to your next wine trail,
Visit my Monterey Wineries page for more tasting rooms and Monterey wines.
Integrity Wines offers flights of wine on Aviation Way. The Integrity tasting room and production site is just steps from the Watsonville airport. Owner, Mark Hoover, recently opened the doors to his “urban winery.” Mark prefers to travel around and choose the grapes that he likes for his wines. He decided to skip the land and vineyards, source the grapes he wants, and focus on producing wines. It always helps to know your own goals and strengths. And Mark knows he would rather make wine than grow wine.
Mark has been making wine since the '80s with 2018 marking his third year of production. For some time his friends kept encouraging him and his talent for making wines. “What's stopping you from production?” they would ask. Well, that little thing called funding. Fast forward, and Mark's friends believed in him and his wines to the extent that they backed his business and the funding came through.
To his credit, Mark's wines are holding their own. His 2016 Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay won a Silver Metal in the Monterey National Wine Competition. Sip Integrity wines made with grapes from the Santa Lucia Highlands, Sonoma, Napa, and of course, local Bay Area vineyards.
The tasting party at Integrity Wines was made up of a small group of people, seven in all, from various ages and stages of life. So it was particularly fun to hear tasters' responses and comments on the wines!
Integrity wines are made “for people, by people.
”When pouring a bottle, you'll notice the thumbprint logo was placed
directly where one grabs the bottle.
I think of the thumbprint as a nod towards the tech industry, one's unique identity and authenticity.
For my tasting friend, the thumbprint brought to mind being honest, real, and one of a kind.
The thumbprint evokes images and meaning to each of us.
But in the end, what we put our hand to is very significant.
Mark Hoover has put his hand to making wines.
It's inspiring to see a new business in Watsonville and what that brings about.
The Mayor is one of Integrity's frequent customers. The winery offers commerce that promotes the town. And I think there's always a bit of a kid in all of us.
Who doesn't like watching planes take off and land?
Only as grown ups, now we can stop by Integrity Wines on our way.
Enjoy your next flight of wines.
Across the way is another Watsonville winery! Visit my post on Wargin Wines (link.)
Join me at California Wine