Vine & Dine

Apricot Wine for Dessert

wine glassThomas Kruse Winery, a participant in the new Santa Clara Wine Trail, has been around for a long time—since 1971, to be exact. When our little group arrived to try some wine at the Kruses’ low-key tasting room, Thomas Kruse and his wife Karen were there to greet us. Theirs is a small operation, and they’re proud to offer quality wine at affordable prices. “Because we are small and low-tech, it’s easy to relate to the whole winemaking process,” says Karen—and the Kruses take pride in making wine “just like it has been made for centuries.”

An abundance of healthy apricot trees surrounds the driveway leading to the tasting room—the remnants of Claire’s Field Estate, an old apricot orchard they inherited, and the Kruse’s delicious apricot dessert wine ($7 for a small bottle) is made from their bountiful fruit. “It’s an apricot dessert wine that tastes incredibly just like the apricots,” says Karen. With my mouth filled with fragrant sweetness of apricot wine, I heartily agreed.

Pay Tom and Karen Kruse a visit in their down-home tasting room and taste all the other wines they make.
Thomas Kruse Winery, 3200 Dryden Ave., Gilroy, 408-842-7016.

The Quail & Thistle Tea Room

Recently, I gave a talk on the art of English-style afternoon tea to a group of about 20 women. We gathered at The Quail & Thistle Tea Room in Capitola and enjoyed little sandwiches, quiches, cakes, scones, cookies, and, of course, cups of tea. If you want to go The Full Monty, then take the opportunity to wear your best hat. Visit for more information.

Wine Dinner Collaboration

Those who wish to experience delicious food paired with top-of-the-line wines from Burrell School Vineyards—head to Lago di Como Ristorante & Pizzeria where Chef Giovanni Spanu will prepare a six-course spread of delectable cuisine. Lago di Como is at 21490 East Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz, 454-8257. To check the menu online, visit lagodicomoristorante. The dinner is at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 1 and the cost is $75.

Note: Burrell School has been in business for 20 years and will be celebrating with a special history corner in their Los Gatos tasting room, where you can also sample library wines from their private stash.

Harvest Celebration on the Summit

From noon to 5 p.m. on Oct. 4 and 5, the summit wineries celebrate harvest with grape samples, food, live music, vineyard tours, fermentation samples, artisan gift displays—and with a pumpkin patch at MJA Vineyards all month long. Visit for a list of wineries and more information.

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