If Curtis Cooke is around when you head to the Summit Store to buy wine, then you’re in luck. Cooke is the wine buyer at the store and is always up to speed on new wines and wineries.
“You have to try Sandar & Hem,” Cooke says. “These guys are really making some great wines.”
Sandar & Hem, it turns out, is a fairly new winery run by owner and winemaker Rob Bergstrom and his wife Recha. Taylor Smith, who used to work at Ridge Winery, joined them later as “an essential partner” in the business. The threesome is now going all out to make a success of their new venture.
“At Sandar & Hem we strive to tell the story of the Santa Cruz Mountains and its unique vineyard sites through transparently made wines,” say the owners.
The 2019 Bates Ranch Rosé of Grenache ($24) is a delightful pale-salmon color with hints of alpine strawberry, peach blossom and garrigue.
I was invited for dinner at the Pino Alto restaurant in the Sesnon House—the location for the Culinary Arts program of Cabrillo College. Although the restaurant is closed during the Covid-19 crisis, it is most certainly open for takeout, and I highly recommend taking advantage of the students’ culinary skills. My dinner of French onion soup, a splendid salad, and an entrée of pan-seared duck breast with farro was excellent. And desserts are always a far cry from the ubiquitous cheesecake.
Orders for lunch and dinner can be submitted online during each semester at pinoalto.square.site.
Instructor Eric Carter, who has been with the Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management program for going on three decades, and Department Chair Jeremy MacVeigh were there the evening I dined—working on an event for the next day, along with talented local instructors/chefs Mima Lecocq (formerly a co-owner of Carried Away in Aptos), and Andrea Mollenauer of the wonderful Food Lounge in downtown Santa Cruz.
I shared the Rosé of Grenache with all who wanted a taste. Everybody loved it.Visit sandarandhem.com for more info.