Monday, May 1, 2017

Your Own Wine Tour

I admit my wine experience is now 20 years old and having been on wine tours either by bus or with a designated driver has been interesting. I will readily admit that going on a day that neither a passport event is going on is the best idea you can have.

So I went about and took my own wine tour complete with a driver and then some...

I decided to meet the Garlic City Limousine
towncar at Gilroy Train Station which made
sense for a five hour wine tour.

Probably next time it will be worthwhile to have the car pick me up at the home or hotel depending on where I am going (hint I am heading out again later this year - comment if you want to join in ).
There are alot of wineries everywhere and my original list of wineries was about 8 to 10 I finally settled on 6. I am saving my wine reviews for later right now its just the tour  of a wineries.
I started at the Silicon Valley Wine Company Jason Stephens The Stomping Ground , (Say that three times fast and you might get a free wine opener -magically). Jason Stephens actually partnered with Tim from Sarah's Vineyard to form the company and stomping ground.
Now on to the wine stop #1:
 First off there is ample patio and wine bar space to try their wines. You feel secluded being only an off ramp away from Highway 101. I remember the previous incarnation of Jason Stephens from the woodsy outdoor patio and the staff here is always a great. This wine room is also home to the wine making which is a nice reminder because it is unique to see a winery without vines.
My next stop #2 was Sarah's Vineyard which  getting to depending on your driver can be an adventure in itself. The City of Gilroy is growing and in the process have installed traffic roundabouts in effort to quell the increasing traffic. The experience makes for an interesting trip and my expertly skilled driver made the ride smooth.

 Sarah of Sarah's Vineyard is no longer part of the winery and that does not deter anyone from enjoying the grounds as this huge patio space includes two  Bocce Ball courts and more. The spaces and courts are reserved so if you do want to spend time here call in advance.
The wines are 21st Century Rhone style New World grapes made Old World that is translated in a glass. Sarah's Vineyard is a popular spot and there is a lot of staff on the weekends to meet complete bus loads of people.

My 3rd stop was
Fortino's Winery   this is
where you are
most likely to meet the winemaker Gino Fortino
or any of the Fortino family.

This is also where I nearly left with a dog. The event space at Fortino's is great for weddings but also events to raise awareness like this event where you could support a great cause and maybe have some wine too. There was food and music and did I mention I nearly left with a couple of dogs?

Stop #4 was Clos La Chance that has a golf course and hosted the Women's PGA events for several years. The winery is very honest and straightforward which means no children and this is a basic thing because whose kid want to see their parent par 10 on a par 4 hole?

It is also where I stopped to nibble and relax as I was rushing thru the wineries a bit fast but not because of the driver ..remember I was just about to bring along a dog. Fortunately, Clos La Chance was celebrating their Rose and I enjoyed a Chicken Fontaine Poutine and a Rose Water Cupcake which was accurately described as a biscuit but all the same it was a good spot to stop and stare out onto the Santa Cruz Mountains lush green peaks and relax. 

My next stop was Guglielmo Winery in Morgan Hill and you have been here before, yes you have been and how do I know ? Simply this winery is host to a dozen or so community events that are on KBAY or you were invited to a wedding here or you child's friend is having a fundraiser and it was here. Also this winery is the first stop on most wine tours. 
From Holiday Bazaars to Weddings you will find yourself at Guglielmo and its a good thing from the array of wine to the handsome staff behind the bar this was my stop #5 and trust me if I didn't get a dog I nearly got a husband. 

My #6 stop and final stop was Sunlit Oaks Winery in Gilroy which I had not been to before and will look out for on upcoming tours. The tasting room is a converted shed that if rented out for housing would cost $2000 a month ( trust me I would know because I swear I saw one not to long ago advertised on Craigslist ). The shed is completed with a deck with tables and chairs for you to lookout over the valley . On passport weekends this spot will fill up fast with tasters so I totally recommend going on a non passport weekend and getting some 1and1 time with the winemaker. 
Overall I left without a dog or a husband so I got out of my wine tour pretty good considering what it could have cost me. 

Final verdict of making your own private wine tour is worthwhile to spend the time and money with a personal driver. Where there are Passport Tours with designated stops and stations remember sometimes you are stopping there for a deal or specific event so check the calendar too. 

I will be doing a few tours this year and if you want to join in leave a comment because if anything you can go from top of California to the Mexico border and find wine. 

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