Santa Cruz County Winery
328 Ingalls Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
|Phone #||(888) 819-6789|
|Pricing||$ $ $ $ $|
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More Wineries in Santa Cruz:
Bonny Doon Wine Tasting Tours, Hours & Prices:
Tastings: $5 flight of 5 wines
Kelly's French Bakery is in the same complex, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Outdoor seating.
[NOTE: The tasting room in the hills of Bonny Doon closed in November 2008 and was replaced with a brand new tasting facility in Santa Cruz].
Bonny Doon Wine Tasting Notes
This new complex on Ingalls street on the west side of Santa Cruz is shaping up to be the new mecca for wine tasting in Santa Cruz...
The tasting room, The Cellar Door, is pretty awesome. Located at the NorthEast corner of the parking lot in an old warehouse space, Bonny Doon's The Cellar Door is one of four wineries that have opened tasting rooms in this new, hot location. Also on site: Kelly's French Bakery, the Santa Cruz Mountain Brewery, New Leaf supermarket, several small shops, as well as the three other winery tasting rooms.
From the outside it still looks like a warehouse, but the interior is gorgeous, smartly designed, and hip. The interior walls are done with dark wooden planks, and the huge space is divided up into smaller "rooms" separated by the tall fermentation tanks that sit in the center. There are tables set in to this area, like you're actually inside a big wooden holding tank, and these "pods" are where they host the private tastings, (see photo).
Just behind the main tasting bar, facing out toward Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing Company, is a little lounge with tables and chairs.
I overheard one guest describe the new tasting room as, "a little fancy pants", and that may be true compared to the quaint shack on the mountain in Donny Doon... but I was very impressed. The more I explored, the more great details I found, like the hanging lamps made from wine bottles.
The Cellar Door Cafe, run by chef Charlie Parker focusing on local, organic, and biodynamic cuisine, serves up an ever-changing menu of small plates for food and wine pairings ($15 - $17). We didn't get a chance to sample the food yet, but we know that the cafe is only open Wednesday through Sunday from 12pm to 9pm.
The regular fee is $7 for a taste of about five wines, (free for active DEWN members). You can also choose one of three private tasting, which occur in the Private Tasting Pods (mentioned above). An all Biodynamic Wine flight for $20 per person, a flight of Rhone inspired wines for $25 per person, or a flight of library wines for $30 per person. The private tastings are presented by a "Wine Ambassador", like our host Lauren Rizzolo, who pretty much knows everything.
Like I mentioned earlier, we attended the grand opening, and at some point after our Private Pod Tasting, and before the fire dancers, owner Randall Grahm stepped up to the microphone to say a few words to the crowd. He welcomed us to the new tasting room and addressed some of the recent changes at Bonny Doon. He said, "Since 1979 it's been like an awesome party. But the party went on a bit too long..." now it's on to something new.
You may know that Randall has sold off many of his most popular labels, like the Big House Red, and now wants to make wines that'll get attention for more than just the marketing brilliance... but rather solely for the quality of wine, (not that his wines haven't always been of quality). Randall is preaching terroir, a wine's taste of place, and wants to make wines that compare to the great French wines. He's getting serious, folks! He's even buying up vineyards on the Oregon coast in search of a great Riesling.
After the dessert, at dusk, everyone gathered just out side the tent to watch the fire dances perform. As they twirled their fire balls, we finished up our last glass of wine and took one last look at the tasting room.
We have visited The Cellar Door since the grand opening and have had great tasting experiences. The mostly young and energetic staff are knowledable and down-to-earth, making Bonny Doon a WinoTripping favorite.
With the addition of the New Leaf supermarket, you will have lots of food choices, all within steps of The Cellar Door. Kelly's French Bakery serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner until 7pm. New Leaf offers delectable gourmet deli sandwiches, and don't forget about Le Cigar Volant Cafe, inside The Cellar Door, for all your food and wine pairing needs, (mentioned above).
Bonny Doon Wines
|88||2004||White||Chenin Blanc||Chenin Blanc|