Marin Artukovich is an ace at producing wine—and he loves the challenge. He makes 46 different kinds! And Artukovich says he very seldom duplicates a wine.
On a recent visit to his tasting room at MJA Vineyards, I was spoilt for choice, but Artukovich is always ready to step in with a few suggestions. He’s a wealth of information about everything to do with the grape, so allow plenty of time to try his fabulous elixirs and soak everything in.
Artukovich is the owner of MJA, where David Middleton is the winemaker. The winery has two labels under this umbrella, DaVine Cellars and Serene Cellars. I’m nuts about good Rosés, and Artukovich has a great one. All his wines are given a name, and the Rosé ($30) is called “Complicated.”
Labelled NV (non-vintage, meaning the wine is made from grapes from more than one harvest), this earthy wine has delicious stewed fruit and herb flavors. And the almost-ruby color is an indication of the full-on fruit that lies within.
One of Artukovich’s goals is to “build a big wine club that stays with me.” And when you’re a wine club member at MJA, you’ll be in for lots of treats. Wine club members get 30% off their wine. “I don’t have a middleman, so wine club members get the benefit,” Artukovich says.
Music is a regular feature at the tasting room, along with food trucks offering good grub. Quarterly movie nights take place in the abundant space in the facility, which is also available to rent out for events.
The talented Artukovich also grows Kona coffee in Hawaii, and his coffee is for sale in the tasting room. He’s proud of his Croatian background, the coffee he grows and all the gold medals his wines have won. He credits his son John Artukovich, who also works at the busy tasting room, for entering the winery in competitions.
As Artukovich says about his eventful voyage of making wine and growing coffee on the islands, “We swear you can feel the journey and taste the aloha.”
MJA Vineyards, 328 Ingalls St., Santa Cruz, 421-9380; 24900 Highland Way, Los Gatos, 408-353-6000. mjavineyards.com.