Spanning three counties but having just over 700 planted acres (about 150 devoted to Pinot Noir) the Santa Cruz Mountain appellation offers rugged beauty, trying growing conditions, and gorgeous Pinot Noir. Having vineyards on both sides of the Santa Cruz mountain range makes this appellation somewhat unique. Contrast Santa Cruz Mountains to the appellations in Monterey County, including Santa Lucia Highland, where there are a significant number of vineyards there planted to more acres of Pinot Noir than the whole of the Santa Cruz Mountain appellation.
Depending upon where vineyards are planted, the best varietal for the site can differ tremendously. North along the range in Santa Clara County, Cabernet grows beautifully, on the Pacific side at lower elevations, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grow best in the cool climate. Established in 1981, the Santa Cruz Mountain appellation’s ruggedness contributes greatly to its small size: Pierce’s Disease, fatal to vineyards, thrives in the blue green sharpshooter insect that inhabit the numerous streams twisting through the hillsides. Though known for producing angular, tannic Pinot Noir, the one vineyard we are currently using – Deer Park Vineyard – produces more opulent wine with tremendous flavor and structure.
Overlooking Pleasant Valley Road, 539 feet above sea level, in the Santa Cruz mountains, Deer Park Vineyard offers a wide variety of Pinot Noir clones. Comprised of 21 acres, two-thirds of which are Pinot Noir, the vineyard is planted to the Wadensville, Pommard, Mariafeld, Jackson clones as well as several Dijon clones including 115 and 667.
Deer Park Ranch is owned by the Lester family and is managed by Prudy Foxx. 2005 marked the first vintage that we incorporated fruit into our program, making less than 100 cases of the 2005 Pinot Noir, Deer Park Vineyard, Santa Cruz Mountains , for our Pinot Noir Program . Prior to this, David Bruce Winery used most of the fruit.