Kristie Tacey is a Bay Area biotech refugee from Michigan for whom wine became a lifeline, and then her life. Her passion is finding amazing vineyards to create wines that express the joy of living in California.
Tacey sources from the Santa Cruz Mountains for her Tessier wines, located in Berkeley and available for purchase at Enoteca La Storia in Los Gatos and San Jose’s Little Italy. She makes pinot noir using grapes from Saveria in Corralitos and a sparkling rosé of pinot noir from
Christie Vineyards in Healdsburg. From Zayante Vineyards in Felton, the only continuously organically farmed vineyard in the AVA, comes a grippy, peppery merlot, her “Sideways” revenge wine.
Zayante Vineyards was planted in 1983 by the late Greg Nolton. Steven Mirassou of Steven Kent Winery also sources Merlot from here.
Tessier also offers a riveting Riesling from Zabala in Arroyo Seco and a mysterious Mourtaou from Siletto in San Benito. A series of blends combines Tacey’s love of music and wine. “Soul Love,” a chillable blend of reds and whites, is dedicated to David Bowie, while “Femmes Fatales” is dedicated to the Velvet Underground. “Electric Ladyland,” channels Jimmy Hendrix and “Day Dreaming,” Aretha Franklin. The labels look a lot like album covers from the peace and love era of rock ’n’ roll. Arrange a private tasting or order at https://tessierwinery.com, where you’ll also find song pairings.
Speaking of the ‘60s, Woodside Vineyards was begun in 1963 by Robert and Polly Mullen, two transplants from Illinois who didn’t drink upon arrival, but a glass of Charles Krug Grey Riesling at lunch changed the course of wine history.
The Mullens ended up buying a property in Woodside that still had some vines from the original La Questa Vineyard, planted in 1883 by Emmet Rixford. A meager section of it still exists today, from which winemaker Brian Caselden makes a teensy amount of very special cabernet.
The Mullens began producing wine from little more than one acre of grapes at the original winery on Kings Mountain Road in 1960. Three years later the winery became bonded, or licensed, to sell what it produces. Since then, Woodside Vineyards has grown to manage, harvest and produce wines from over 35 acres in Woodside and the surrounding areas.
Among the few other bonded Santa Cruz Mountains wineries in the early ’60s were Bargetto, Mount Eden, Ridge and David Bruce Winery.
The number of wineries in the AVA has continued to grow. At the 60th anniversary celebration, a signed poster from 1989 listed all the wineries that were members of the Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers at that time. It sported the signatures of Thomas Fogarty, Kathryn Kennedy, PM Staiger, Jerold O’Brien of Silver Mountain, John Schumacher of Hallcrest Vineyards, Dick Stark of Page Mill Winery, Tom Mudd of Cinnabar and Dexter and Val Ahlgren of Ahlgren Vineyards. Many are now departed—like Duane Cronin of Cronin Cellars, Greg Nolton of Zayante Vineyards and Russ Walker of Walker Wines in Felton—but they live on in this memorial.
Today, Woodside Vineyards shares its home and wine cellar with AutoVino, the brainchild of auto enthusiasts and wine lovers Buff Giurlani and Bob Mullen. Conceived in 2009, it combines their penchant for classic automobiles and fine wine into one location, providing storage and display privileges for those with more automotive assets than they have garage space.
A spacious outside area with picnic tables and a pizza oven draws wine lovers on the weekends. “Cars and Cabernet,” held the third Sunday of each month beginning at 11:30am, brings auto enthusiasts together over wood-fired lunch items, including pizza and cheeseburgers, and salads topped with salmon or tri-tip. And cab, of course.
Celebrate harvest at Wrights Station with a five-course wine pairing dinner by Chef Diego from Colectivo Felix. Begin with wine and hors d’oeuvres on the patio overlooking the 6-acre vineyard, then stroll through the vines to the stunning Redwood Grove. Each course will be paired with Wrights Station wines. Tickets are $225 for members and $250 for non-members at https://www.wrightsstation.com.