To have a wine “be” from the Santa Cruz Mountains is a tricky thing that is open to interpretation. What if the wine is made in the SCM and the grapes are from elsewhere? What if SOME of the grapes are from elsewhere? If the grapes are grown in the Santa Cruz Mountains but the wine is made is the San Luis Obispo region, where does this wine hail from?
Varying groups choose their own rules. For a wine to be “from” the SCM appellation, according to the rules of the SCMWA, the winery must be in our appellation or at least 30% of their production must be from the Santa Cruz Mountains AVA. But there is controversy on this very point.
Originally this wine club was begun in 2005 as a branch of the SCMWA. Two and a half years ago, We bought this wine club from the association. Now that we are making our own rules we thought it might be fun to feature a wine this quarter wherein the grapes are grown “here”, the wine is made “there”, and we are bringing it back here again to be shipped to you. This particular wine is called “Folkways” and was included in our “Reds Only” club this shipment. The fruit is sourced from our own Black Ridge Vineyards.
The Santa Cruz AVA is de- fined as an American Viticultural Area centered around the Santa Cruz Mountains. It includes three counties in California: Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and San Mateo. Recognized as an AVA in 1981, the Santa Cruz Mountains Appellation was among the first to be defined by its mountain topography. Based on elevation, it largely follows the fog line along the coast, extend- ing down to 800 feet (240 m) in the east (San Francisco Bay side) and 400 feet
(120 m) in the west (Monterey Bay side), and encompasses the highest ridge tops at 3000’+ elevation.
The mountain terrain, the Pacific Ocean, and the near- by San Francisco Bay have wide ranging effects on the appellation, creating myriad microclimates in the region depending on the elevation of the land, on which side of the mountains are the vine- yards, the effects of fog, sun exposure, soil type, etc.
“give history here about wines coming from certain areas and even being named as such, as in France. Perhaps some history on when grapes first started to be trucked around ” In France, where the wine scene really gathered followers, their wine is named after the region in which the grapes are grown. In this way you can have a “name of some French varietal” but when grown in, say, California, the wine varietal must be called “whatever it is called”. This is a whole different slant than how we do things in California.
The reason the SCMWA made the decision that only wines made in our region can be said to be from our region is due to the quality of the fruit that comes from our unique viticulture area.
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.