A Visit to Three Outstanding Santa Cruz Wineries: Pelican Ranch, Armida and Loma Prieta

(Contributed by Itze Monserrat Peña-Andrade) This past weekend a few members from the SSU Winesense Club took a field trip to visit the Santa Cruz wine region. This is a beautiful wine region near the ocean with over 120 wineries in the nearby hills. For more information about the Santa Cruz Winergrowers Association and wine maps, click here. We arrived Friday in Capitola, and set out to visit two small tasting rooms.

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SSU WineSense Members in Santa Cruz

Pelican Ranch

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Pelican Ranch Tasting Room

The first tasting room we went to was a small winery that produces only 1000 cases a year named Pelican Ranch. We stumbled upon this small winery and were fortunate to get an unexpected tour of the place. They specialize in Rhone and Burgundy style wines that result in rich, complex wines. It’s a quaint little winery that has only been in operation since 1997 and the generosity of the employees made this a great experience that we all really enjoyed.

 

Armida Winery

The second winery that we went to was Armida Winery and just like the first winery, we happened to drive by and decided to stop.  Located in Capitola, the Armida tasting room is one that shouldn’t be missed.  It is located near the ocean and the view is beautiful, it’s a great place to stop by for it’s nestled amongst a variety of fun shops in the center of Capitola. Armida also has a location in Sonoma County, so some of us were familiar with the brand. We tried their famous Poizon zinfandel wine that comes in a coffin shaped box, and it was a huge hit.

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Armida Tasting Room in Capitola

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The Famous Poizin Wine in Box Coffins

Loma Prieta Winery

The following day, we drove 2600 feet above Highway 17 to our next destination, and – unanimously – our favorite tasting of the trip: Loma Prieta Winery. The winery is actually known for being the largest producer of Pinotage in North America, and the view from the tasting room is absolutely breathtaking. The employees went above and beyond to make our experience enjoyable and it showed for we spent several hours there tasting and eating the day away.  Aside from tasting, we played some games outside, including a giant chess game, and the time just flew by. It is a winery we all really enjoyed and would definitely recommend.

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View From Loma Prieta Winery

The quick weekend trip was a great success. All the members and board members that were able to go had a great time and we were introduced to some new wineries that we all hope to revisit again. It is a trip that we won’t soon forget and recommend future members to attend.

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Giant Chess Game at Loma Prieta Winery

 

 

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