Vine & Dine

Hallcrest Vineyards

dining hillcrestPinot Noir 2009

One of my favorite wine-related events of the year is Pinot Paradise, which takes place every March at Villa Ragusa in Campbell. It’s a day when Pinot lovers come out in full force to enjoy the fruit of the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Close to 40 wineries participated this year—ranging from Woodside in the north of the appellation to Gilroy in the south. About a dozen restaurants provided much-needed fodder to soak up the Pinot—and a couple of fine chocolate makers (Monterey Chocolate Company, and Chocolate Visions, based in Scotts Valley) offered some very welcome sweet morsels.

One of the wines I tasted which really caught my attention was Hallcrest Vineyards’ 2009 Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir, Vista Del Mar Vineyard ($48). Bursting at the seams with flavor, this is a Pinot to be reckoned with. I was glad to see winery owner John Schumacher to let him know how impressed I was with the two Pinots he was pouring that day—the other was a 2011 Barrel Select, Santa Cruz Mountains, a really beautiful wine that was just is stunning as the ’09. 

Located in Scotts Valley, Hallcrest’s estate Vista Del Mar vineyard consistently produces a robust, full-bodied wine—and this luscious ’09 Pinot has strong fruit on the nose—and with full fruit flavors of bright cherry, raspberry and strawberry. Schumacher suggests you let this wine breathe a bit for full, forward flavors and a well-balanced finish.

Hallcrest has a beautiful tasting room and is surrounded by a lush English-style garden—the perfect spot for taking a picnic, which you are welcome to do, and for tasting more of Schumacher’s wines. 

Hallcrest Vineyards/Organic Wine Works, 379 Felton Empire Road, Felton, 335-4441. Open daily noon to 5 p.m. from spring to fall. Tasting fee: $7.


Surf City Wine University

The fun series of Wine University put on by Surf City Vintners continues from noon to 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 14. Steve Storrs of Storrs Winery will be talking about Chardonnay of the Santa Cruz Mountains, and participants will learn about different Chardonnay clones and much more. Individual classes are $30 each, or $25 if you’re a member of any of the Surf City wineries. Visit for more information, or email [email protected] or call (408) 234-2079.

Vinocruz Wine-Tasting Events
Vinocruz continues with its wine-tasting events from 2-5 p.m. on certain Saturdays. The tasting fee of $10 is waived with a bottle purchase. April 13 features Pelican Ranch Winery and April 27 Sones Cellars will be pouring. Don’t miss May 3 when Vinocruz participates in the First Friday Art Tour. Vinocruz, 725 Front St., Santa Cruz, 426-8466.

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