Vine & Dine

Bruzzone Family Vineyards

wine glassBruzzone Family Vineyards is a small operation run by Berna and John Bruzzone. Starting out a few years ago making only Chardonnay, they eventually planted Pinot Noir on their extensive property and now make this varietal as well.

Their 2013 estate Pinot Noir ($30) was hand-harvested in late fall and then aged in French oak barrels for 11 months, producing a rich, full-bodied wine with soft tannins and earthy flavors. Leather, red fruit and spice round out this gorgeous wine, which sells like hot cakes—so I would not waste time getting some. Pairing well with meat dishes, the Pinot was a perfect match with our dinner of roast pork, veggies and mashed potatoes.

The Bruzzone family has come up with a brand new label depicting a chapel on top of the Rancho Don Bosco property, overlooking the Monterey Bay.  The Pinot comes from that vineyard, thus the vineyard designation as “Chapel on the Hill.” The late John Bruzzone Sr. built a chapel in Italy about 55 years ago and dedicated it to St. John Bosco, the founder of the Salesian order. When his wife passed away, he built a duplicate chapel at the ranch.

The Bruzzone tasting room is open on Passport days, which fall on the third Saturday in January, April, July, and November (see for information). The next Passport day is July 18—an opportunity to visit the splendid estate of Rancho Don Bosco in Santa Cruz, which belongs to the Bruzzone family, where you’ll be welcomed to taste the Bruzzone wines.

Bruzzone Family Vineyards Tasting Room, Rancho Don Bosco, 1690 Glen Canyon Road, Santa Cruz. Call 332-0909 for a private tasting.

Bittersweet Bistro Adds More Local Wines

Elizabeth Vinolus, co-owner of Bittersweet Bistro in Aptos, emailed to say the restaurant is now carrying more wines from the Santa Cruz Mountains, including Ridge, Storrs, Soquel Vineyards, and Bargetto Winery. I’m always glad to see our local wines on any wine list. Visit

Pleasant Valley Vineyards Pinot Noir Extravaganza

One of the best wineries in the Santa Cruz Mountains, Pleasant Valley Vineyards, is having its annual Pinot Noir Extravaganza—and tickets are limited. Listed as “Wine, Food, Rock and Roll with a Little Bling,” the afternoon of wine tasting is guaranteed to be a splendid experience. The event includes an extensive wine tasting and sumptuous food by Shingo Katsura, executive chef of Cin-Cin Wine Bar & Restaurant in Los Gatos. Live music is by Better Daze and jewelry displays are by Lori Johnson and Sue Sanders & Sun Designs.

Info: noon to 3:30 p.m., Saturday, July 18 at Lester Family Vineyards Estate at Deer Park Ranch in Aptos. Tickets are $49.99. Visit for menu, list of wines and tickets.

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