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Photograph by George Sakkestad

Mountain High: Storrs is one of several vineyards participating in this weekend's wine-tasting events.

Vintage Passport

Wine lovers can sample the wares of multiple mountain wineries this weekend

By Christina Waters

CHEAPER, BY FAR, than that little navy-blue U.S. passport--and much tastier--is your $20 Summer Passport to visit 23 Santa Cruz Mountain wineries this Saturday (July 21), between 11am and 5pm. Granted, if you and your designated driver actually do visit all 23 in six hours, you will qualify for the All-State Wine Tippling Awards to be held later this month in Fresno (this offer not available in stores).

But back to the subject. The passport concept gives inquiring wine lovers access to many small wineries not usually open to the public. These wineries tend to exist in unbelievably gorgeous locations, so the drive alone will justify the paltry passport price. Passport holders are able to tour the wineries, find out how their favorite chardonnays and merlots are created, meet the winemakers who bring so much cardiovascular health and sensory pleasure to many of us on a daily basis, and--yes--taste past and present vintages.

Four times a year the opportunity rolls around for self-guided tours to participating wineries such as Zayante, Storrs, Savannah-Chanel, River Run, David Bruce, Cooper-Garrod, Burrell School, Ahlgren and many others. You may purchase your passport at any participating winery or from the Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers office--831.479.9463. Point and click your way to www.scmwa.com for a full listing of passport wineries and make plans to join your friends for a day of malolactic exploration.

More Wining and More Dining

Make plans now to attend the fifth annual Taste of Summer benefit on July 27, from 5:30 to 7:30pm at Bargetto Winery. The Steve Robertson Jazz Trio will fill the background as guests browse a well-stocked silent auction--artworks, theater tickets, dinners, jewelry, travel excursions--while sampling Bargetto wines and appetizers from Azur Restaurant and Bonne Bouche Catering. It threatens to be a delicious summer soirée, and the $35 tickets--all proceeds--benefit the Santa Cruz AIDS Project. Bargetto Winery is located at 3535 N. Main St., Soquel (475.2258). It's our area's oldest wine-making facility, loaded with historic ambience and a soothing, creekside location.

I stopped in to say hi to my friend Emily Reilly the other day and found myself succumbing to a slice of Emily's moist, sinful crostatta. For $2.50, you can access an experience close to what St. Theresa must have felt during the height of her levitation period. Through an interior of creamy ricotta meander pine nuts and golden raisins. Add coffee--or some vin santo if you absolutely must--and enjoy. Also, Emily's is offering serious sandwiches, cookies and beverages as one choice of the new catered, boxed lunches. There's also a quiche combo, and another featuring Caesar salad with grilled chicken. Next time your meeting or group is too busy to wait for a table, have a simple, delicious lunch delivered. Call Emily's catering coordinator at 429.9866.

Last Bites: From the mad, mad mind of Paul Krassner--via Metro Editor in Chief Dan Pulcrano--I received insider info on the last meals requested by a bevy of recently executed miscreants on death row. Not much designer food here but lots of Coke and Pepsi. For his last meal in this incarnation, Jaturun Siripongs, executed last February, wanted two 40-cent cups of Mission Pride canned peaches and two 45-cent cans of Lucky Arctic Iced Tea. Keith Williams (the only one of these guys with a sense of culinary style) requested fried pork chops, a baked potato with butter, asparagus, salad with blue cheese dressing, apple pie a la mode and milk. William Bonin, on the other hand, ordered up a last meal-for-hell of two large pepperoni and sausage pizzas, three pints of coffee ice cream and three six-packs of Coca-Cola.

Email me your hot food tips, new favorite restaurants, discoveries, gripes and sudden culinary insights. You tell me--I'll tell everybody: [email protected]

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From the July 18-25, 2001 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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