Vine & Dine

Byington Winery

wine glassHigh in the Los Gatos hills and along the winding Bear Creek Road is Byington Winery.

It’s a beautiful place to visit as the estate boasts acres of stunning property and impressive vineyards. Weddings, corporate events and parties galore are held both outdoors and indoors. There are picnic tables, umbrellas, gas and charcoal grills for your use (for a fee, and bring your own tools), and a bocce ball court, as well. Picnic tables are available on a first-come, first-served basis, but can be booked in advance for parties of 10 or more. The tasting “fee” for a picnic table is the purchase of half a bottle of wine per person—to enjoy on the property or to take home.

I have been to Byington Winery many times, and the occasion this time was a picnic organized by a friend, which included wine tasting and a guided tour of the vineyards and the cave where events are held. Tours are $15 per person, offered Saturdays and Sundays.

One of the wines I tried on the tour was a 2013 Saignée ($25)—a fresh and upbeat Rosé. Byington allows only a brief contact between grape juice and grape skins, resulting in a bright pink wine—not red. With a unique strawberry nose accented by rose petals and watermelon, the Saignée (pronounced sen-YAY) is perfect for a warm-weather day.

One can easily spend a few hours at Byington tasting all their different wines and enjoying the beautiful patio. And when you visit, don’t miss their two late-harvest wines, especially the sexy 2013 Amore with aromas of chocolate, raisins and dried cherries.

Byington will be participating in the wonderful Pinot Paradise event at the Mountain Winery in Saratoga.

Byington Vineyard & Winery, 21850 Bear Creek Road, Los Gatos. 408-354-1111. Open Wednesday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Check the website for tasting fee.

Pinot Paradise

If you love Pinot, mark your calendars for the Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association’s wonderful Pinot Paradise event, set for March 21 and 22 this year and culminating with a Grand Cruz Tasting at the Mountain Winery in Saratoga, which includes an abundance of participating wineries and restaurants. You can buy separate tickets to the three main events, or $145 gets you into all of them. Visit for information.

Friday Nights in the Cellars

There are three more nights left in the Friday night music series at Bargetto Winery, which run from 6-8 p.m. on March 13, March 20 and March 27. There is no cover charge and food and wine are available for purchase. Dress warmly as these events are held in Bargetto’s historic cellars. Bargetto Winery, 3535 North Main St., Soquel, 475-2258.

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