Highway 9 heads northeast from Santa Cruz into hills densely timbered with massive coastal redwoods. The road winds through the lush San Lorenzo Valley, past hamlets consisting of a few cafés, antiques shops, and old-style tourist cabins. Residents of the hunting-and-fishing persuasion coexist with hardcore flower-power survivors, and a new generation has joined the pioneers who opened wineries decades ago. Mountain grapes produce some superb Chardonnays, Pinot Noirs, and Cabernet Sauvignons, among other wines. To sample some, you can start a winery tour in downtown Santa Cruz at Storrs Winery, at 303 Potrero Street—a block off River Street, which, heading north from here becomes Highway 9. Drive north to Felton to visit Hallcrest Vineyards and Organic Wine Works, just west of Highway 9 on Felton Empire Road downtown. Continue north on Highway 9 and east on Bear Creek Road to the classy Byington and David Bruce wineries, both in Los Gatos. The Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association (www.scmwa.com) distributes a wine-touring map at member wineries and many lodgings and attractions around Santa Cruz.
Santa Cruz, California, United States