By Shannon Torres
I recently had the opportunity to visit with Len Lehremen of Portola Vineyards, located in Portola Valley near Stanford University, just barely outside of the elevation guidelines to be incorporated within the Santa Cruz Mountains AVA. The winery has two acres of Pinot Noir planted. These vines were originally planted in 2003 by Bob Mullen of Woodside Vineyards, and became the source for Woodside Vineyards fruit for two years, after which he concluded he had more fruit than he could handle.
In 2007 Len bonded the winery and began producing under the Portola Vineyard label. His theory was to run the winery in the manner of CSA and considered the winery a Community Supported Winery. He currently has approximately 200 members that "buy in" to the winery’s program and help to pick and produce.
The wines I tasted during my visit were all exceptional, and I found they really represented what a wine should be from the Santa Cruz Mountains. I have included the 2012 Chardonnay, Santa Cruz Mountains, Regan Vineyard and the 2010 Pinot Noir, Santa Cruz Mountains, Regan Vineyard for our September Wine Club shipment. Also included in our newsletter is a recipe for Stuffed Grape Leaves from Len's wife. Yearly, she offers a class for guests to come out and learn how to make them.
Portola has several events throughout the year at their beautiful property. The Summer Jazz Festival is one not to be missed! Check out their website for upcoming dates http://www.portolavineyards.com/.
Shannon worked as the Director of Operations for the Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrower’s Association for approximately 13 years. Shannon has brought wine events of all kinds to the area in an effort to excite interest in the local wines and food. She loves watching people from all over enjoying the region’s wine and witnessing the local vintners businesses grow and prosper.