Pictures are nice. And I can tell you all about my visit to Wrights Station Vineyard & Winery. But you really just have to go there to experience it.
Say I make you dinner and send it over in a box; then you could eat the meal. You'd be fed. But what if I served the dinner at my home? I cooked the same meal, but it could be experienced with conversation together, views of the trees, the sounds of hawks singing together, the feel of fresh air and glitter of deck lights as we eat outside. Same food, but two totally different experiences.
Tasting at Wrights Station is the full experience. You just really need to go up there to experience their good wines and the site.
You can enjoy their estate grown wines, poured with views of the vineyards, Mt. Umunhum, old growth redwoods, and the historic Wrights Station hills. Wander outside and enjoy the patio seating in the sun, or play some bocce ball. Or come inside, turn the phone off, and relax in one of their cozy seating areas. A deeper impression is made tasting wines while within reach of the vines they grew on.
Wrights Station grows and makes Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The vineyards are on top of the Summit, just off HWY 17. It's a 'mountain' winery, but not as cool as coastal wineries or as hot as the inland foothills.
The vineyard faces North East, so it gets the heat of the Summit without direct sun all day. Dan uses the quad-system for the vines and thoughtfully de-leafs the back side so the fruit get more sun exposure, while keeping leaves on the sun-exposed side to cool and shade the fruit.
Dan's interest in wine grew from a hobby to a craft. With three years of winemaking for Storrs Winery in Santa Cruz, and wine education from UC Davis, he ventured out and searched California for a property of his own. In 2009 he purchased the 19 acre site which included 6 ½ acres of vineyards, and opened the tasting room doors Summer of 2014. The vineyards were in great shape, but the rest of the structures have since gone through beautiful renovations.
Wrights Station currently offers 3 different 2013 Pinot Noir wines. All have the
classic Santa Cruz Mountain lighter body.
Arena Block: red cherry, violets, bay leaf, this wine has currents of herbs, more than woody flavors.
Far Away Block: this wine offers light woodsy and earthy flavors with hints of cinnamon,
as well as cherries.
Cave Block Reserve: flavors of dark chocolate, forest berries, and soft spice.
Dan pointed out that winemaking takes patience. It's a long process. Don't overreact. The taste of the wine may not develop exactly in the direction as expected. Sometimes a winemaker needs to jump in, but other times, the taste of a wine may change on its own the next day as it's fermenting and aging.
So what is the take away from my visit? Dan suggests that if you live in the area—San Jose, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz—this is your wine region. Not some other far off wine region. I like that! While I enjoy exploring other wine areas, it echos a feeling I have. We truly do live in a wine region. There are so many wonderful wineries to visit in our neighborhood, in the Bay Area.
Best to you on your wine-region jaunt!
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