From ocean views to funky downtown Santa Cruz, belly dance performances and acoustic guitarists, there are many excellent options for wine bars in Santa Cruz County. Here are a few of the best wine bars in Santa Cruz County, California to try new and exciting wines.
My favorite wine bar in Santa Cruz has a perfect setting for a romantic date. Vino Prima is located at the end of the pier on the Santa Cruz wharf, offering spectacular ocean views. The atmosphere is amazing. Local art work decorates the walls, jazz musicians play frequently, and the staff is super friendly. Life doesn’t get much better than this. Vino Prima specializes in California boutique wines, and offers wines by the flight, or by the glass. Try one of the “Wicked Good Reds”, including the Indian Peak ’07 Merlot. It is a Silver Medal winner with cherry flavors, toasty oak notes and perfect tannins. It is billed as a “very sensual” Merlot from Indian Peak, and is one of my favorites. It is priced well at $18.00 per bottle. If you like white wine, try the Morgan ’08 Chardonnay from the Santa Lucia Central Coast of California. This wine offers rich fruit flavors, including tropical fruit and ripe pear, with a light touch of butterscotch. This goes well with seafood and is also about $18.00 a bottle. You can also see some excellent entertainment at Vino Prima, including belly dancing on November 19th, and a Jazz ensemble following an art show on November 20th. For more information, go to www.vinoprimawines.com.
Another good option is Cava Wine Bar in Capitola, California, just a few miles away from Santa Cruz. It is located just a half block from the ocean and offers an intimate atmosphere and many local wines from small production wineries in the Santa Cruz mountains. On Friday nights, you can enjoy live music, including a very good acoustic guitarist. Cava Wine Bar is a perfect relaxed, grown-up hang out. The Galante Vineyards (Carmel Valley) 2005 Cabernet is one of my favorites and is only It goes well with a piece of rich dark chocolate and has blackberry, cherry and currant flavors with nuances of milk chocolate. Zayante Vineyards (Santa Cruz mountains) 2007 Merlot is made from Santa Cruz mountain grapes. This is a deeply fruity wine that goes great with food, and has a deep cherry and chocolate flavor. It is priced at $16.50 a bottle. Visit their website at www.cavacapitola.com, or call 831-476-2282.
If you love downtown Santa Cruz, try Soif Wine Bar. They offer an excellent choice of unique and hard to find wines, as well as an outstanding restaurant. They use local and organic produce as much as possible, and their meats and poultry are from producers committed to raising livestock traditionally, humanely and sustainably. I tend to favor red wines, but the 2007 Mount Eden Vineyards (Santa Cruz mountains) Saratoga Chardonnay is amazing. It has honeyed orange, nectarine and citrus blossom notes mixed with hints of carmel and marmalade. Delicious, and only $26 a bottle. I also enjoyed the Pinot from McHenry Vineyards (Santa Cruz mountains). This is a very small production winery, and the 2006 Pinot is intense, with a hint of black cherry. It is $32 a bottle. You can choose your own flights at this wine bar, and they truly have an amazing selection. For details, see their website at www.soifwine.com, or call 831-423-2020.
If you love wine, you are lucky to live in or to be able to visit Santa Cruz County, as you’ll find some of the best wine bars in the country here. Enjoy!