Passport Weekend

Last Saturday was Passport Wine Weekend in the Santa Cruz Mountains. On weekends like this, almost all of the wineries in the Santa Cruz viticultural region throw their doors open for wine tasting. Customers buy a "passport" for $30. Armed with that passport, you can go to all participating wineries and taste their wines and eat their food.

Bill and I went with a bunch of people from work. Leo, his fianceƩ Kareen, Tim, his wife Katrina, Cathey, Valerie, Tim's brother Jeff and his fianceƩ Lauren all went. We rented a van and driver from a limo company to drive us around, so we wouldn't have to worry about watching our alcohol intake.

Bill came up with a list of six wineries to visit. We gave that list to the limo driver and left it up to him to figure out the best order. We hit Bargetto, McHenry, Burrell School, Silver Mountain, and Testarossa. Cinnabar was also on our list but we ran out of time, because we only paid for 6 hours' worth of van time.

All of the wineries were pretty cool in their own way.

At Bargetto we commandeered a picnic table and ate our box lunches. Bill (who shall henceforth be known as Martha Stewart) made a lunch of grapes, salami, pepperoni, and three different kinds of cheese. He put them in individual containers so each person can have his own lunch. We also brought bottled water for everyone.

Everyone thought McHenry was kind of weird. If you read my previous post about it, you'd know what I mean. "Rustic" is probably the kindest word I could use about the winery. The good thing, though, is that everyone liked the McHenry wines. A bunch of us even bought bottles to take home with us. They had four wines for tasting, and it was nearly unanimous that three out of the four were very good, and that one was icky. To me it smelled like a damp basement. But Leo, for some strange reason, liked it enough to buy a bottle to take home.

All other wineries had good wines for tasting. Silver Mountain had the best view of all. One could see the ocean from their deck. Testarossa (which Valerie insisted was Italian for "red balls") had the most well-organized setup, while Burrell School had the friendliest staff.

As we hopped from winery to winery, we of course all got progressively drunker and drunker. Which is why the van-and-driver idea was excellent. Kudos to Valerie for uncorking and pouring wine in a moving van, traveling on bumpy and winding mountain roads, without spilling a single drop!

After the wine tour we all went back to our place. Tim, Katrina, Jeff, and Lauren left for home. The rest of us went to Poor House Bistro for dinner. That was another hit. Everyone seemed to like the place and the food. After dinner Leo and Kareen left while Cathey and Valerie hung out for a little bit longer. I attempted to make kamikazes but used too much lime, so they weren't very good.

It was a great Saturday. Everyone had fun, and some of us already started talking about doing it again. Maybe next time it will be in Santa Cruz again, or maybe we'll do Napa instead.

We'll see...