Published in the May 2 – 15, 2018 Issue of Gilroy Life

Photo by Char Marrazzo
Diana Borsody, Church Creek Cellars owner, at the recently opened Gilroy winery.

Flowers are blooming, the rain drops are falling and the pollens are all around us (achoo!). That could only mean one thing: spring is here.

This is such a beautiful time of year to enjoy the beauty of Mother Nature. The mountains are a lush green, the setting sun illuminates the sky with bright blues and shades of amber, pink, and orange. This picture-perfect setting is all around us in the Santa Clara Valley. The vineyards are groomed, and the first buds are breaking. The vines are preparing to grow the flowers and produce their grapes. Nature is in motion.

Nature is not the only thing blooming. There are several new wineries in bloom and opening their tasting room doors this season. Santa Clara County welcomed more than six new wineries in the past two months, plus the tasting room at La Vie Dansante Wines is now open daily from noon to 5 p.m. The wineries are continuing to grow and make a new mark on wines from Santa Clara Valley. The county was once known for having more acres of vineyards than any other county in California. Still, it wasn’t until 1989 that the Santa Clara Valley American Viticultural Area was formed.

The newest additions to the Santa Clara Valley AVA are Dorcich Family Vineyards, Heller Winery, Calerrain Wines, Church Creek Cellars, J Winston Winery and Verde Vineyards. Each bring their own specialty to the AVA including the unique idea from Calerrain where their goal is to bring you wines from varying terrain to show that each produces a vast difference in taste, smell and appearance. Husband and wife duo Geoff and Chantelle were all smiles at their grand opening party Feb. 24. Guests were excited to try their 2017 Grenache Rose from Monterey County and their 2016 Cabernet from right here in Santa Clara Valley. They are joined at The Stomping Ground by another new comer J Winston Winery. John Bannister pays homage to his grandfather by creating big, bold beautiful wines.

Each of the new tasting rooms are set back in the Cellars Doors of the Stomping Ground, located in Gilroy. They are in good company with well-loved wineries Jason Stephens Winery and Alara Cellars, also located at The Stomping Ground.

Another husband and wife duo trying their hand at wine making are Bill and Janet Heller. Their vineyards and winery are family owned and operated. They are specializing in Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot with an up-and-comer Carignane to check out.  Each wine is planted on a small lot and hand harvested.  Their dedication and charming love for others is captured in each bottle, making it a wine to try.

The much anticipated Dorcich Family Vineyards is now open and serving beautifully balanced estate grown wines. They stand behind their family traditions as farmers who want to give back to the land as much as they take from it. They pride themselves in being sustainable and environmental stewards of the land.   For three generations the family has been farming and producing balanced wine their family is proud of. Check out one of their many varietals from Ankora or the stand-alone Cabernet Sauvignon from Monte Bello.

Rounding out the list are Verde Vineyards and Church Creek Cellars. Both are located on the east side of U.S. 101 and open their doors during weekends. Church Creek Cellars is focused on delivering premier wines that are bold and fruit driven while achieving a perfect balance and complexity. Their tasting room sits on 21 beautiful acres with exquisite views of the valley.

Now is a wonderful time to get out and try some new South Valley wines while enjoying the gorgeous setting Mother Nature has created for us this spring.

Rachel Traylor Gratale works for Young’s Market Company as a sales ambassador. She is a wine enthusiast and can be found pouring at Sarah’s Vineyard on weekends.


Guest Column