Vine & Dine

Rexford Winery Pinot Gris 2010

wine redThere’s nothing like killing two birds with one stone. I had been meaning to write about Rexford Winery for some time, and the opportunity arose after a tasting at Kuumbwa Jazz one evening.

My friends and I arrived early at Kuumbwa for a concert of Zimbabwean music with renowned musician Oliver Mtukudzi. Kuumbwa’s events often include diverse ethnic music concerts—with everything from Spanish flamenco to the Tuareg people of Morocco to Pakistani qawwali singers. The setting is cozy and intimate, and there is always plenty to eat and drink throughout every concert. 

Kuumbwa has recently made many improvements to its bar and menu—and is now selling wine on tap. Their imaginative food selections are prepared in-house, and are always reasonably priced and delicious. This is the place to enjoy dinner and a show in a very intimate setting.

I headed to the bar to get a bottle of something local and was happy to find Rexford Winery’s Pinot Gris—nicely chilled and for the reasonable price of $24. Although I found the Pinot Gris a touch on the sweet side, it was so light and refreshing that my friends and I enjoyed very much. With its fruity aroma and pear and honeysuckle flavors, it’s a great sipping wine. Although the 2010 vintage has already sold out at the winery, the new vintage is due for release shortly.

Joe Miller, winemaker and owner of Rexford Winery, handcrafts wines in small lots with grapes from local vineyards. His wines are not fined or filtered, resulting sometimes in the formation of a harmless residue with bottle aging. Miller is an expert not only in turning out fine wines, but also in the field of astronomy and astrophysics.  As well as a longtime professorship at UC Santa Cruz, he was also director of the Lick Observatory at Mount Hamilton before retirement from both roles.  He and his associate winemaker son Sam now concentrate on producing excellent Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Merlot and other fine wines, but not always relying on the stars to guide them.

Rexford Winery, 429 Ingalls St., Santa Cruz, 426-1500. Open Friday 2-5 p.m., Saturday 1-5 p.m. and Sunday 2-5 p.m.

Chaminade Farm to Table Dinners

The next Farm to Table dinner coming up at the beautiful Chaminade Resort & Spa is on Friday, Aug. 30. This one will feature Black Hen Farm, Belle Farm’s olive oil and Alfaro Family Vineyards & Winery. Always served outdoors on the terrace, a farm to table dinner is a truly wonderful wining and dining experience—where you get to mingle with executive chef Beverlie Terra as well as local farmers and vintners. And you can always stay overnight at Chaminade should you imbibe too much! Visit for more information.

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