Food & Drink

Bottle Jack Winery’s Bold-Tasting Zayante Vineyards 2016 Zinfandel

Plus, find out what virtual tastings local wineries are offering

Bottle Jack’s 2016 Zinfandel is loaded with fruit for a lush flavor and aroma. PHOTO: COURTESY BOTTLE JACK WINERY

Calling all lovers of Zinfandel—and one of those would be my husband. His top two red wines are Zinfandel and Barbera.

Bottle Jack’s bold-tasting Zayante Vineyards 2016 Zinfandel ($36) is what winemaker John Ritchey calls “a prime example of cold-climate Zin.” It’s a big jammy wine that’s loaded with red fruit—cherry, red currant, raspberry, pomegranate, blood orange—and baking chocolate and juniper. All these lush aromas and flavors compressed into a bottle make for a very tasty Zin. Swirl the wine around your glass, inhale the aromas and take a sip. It’s time for a treat, especially during the shelter-in-place order.

The winemaking team of Ritchey and his wife Katharine produce fine wines under their Bottle Jack label. As well as Zinfandel, they make a plethora of other wines—including a new vintage of their Super Tuscan Blend called Firenze, one of my favorites.

As with most local wineries right now, Bottle Jack is doing good discounts on wine. Any orders can be picked up at their tasting room on the Westside. Call them when you arrive there and they’ll bring your wines out to your car. Visit the website for info on all discounts, wine orders and pick-up dates and times. Complimentary delivery is also offered.  

Bottle Jack Winery, 328D Ingalls St., Santa Cruz (in a shared space with Silver Mountain Vineyards), 831-421-2474.

Virtual Wine-Tasting Events

Many local wineries are now doing virtual tastings. I did one recently on Zoom by Integrity Wines—with people participating from all over the country. A box of seven little bottles of different wines arrived by UPS on my doorstep, and from 1-3pm on a Sunday in May I was guided through an informative and fun tasting by Integrity’s winemaker Mark Hoover. Other wineries are also offering a virtual tasting. The duo of Thomas Fogarty and Lexington Vineyards are doing what they call a Sip and Swirl with one owner and two winemakers; Big Basin Vineyards is putting on an In Your Home Tasting Series. Visit the wineries’ websites for info at and

Check out our continually updating list of local takeout and delivery options.

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