Last Wednesday, the Campbell Wine Walk brought together 24 wineries who were scattered about the downtown area in various businesses, each pouring two or three different wines. The goal was to promote local business by pairing them with wineries so each gets exposed to a different clientele than they might ordinarily see. Most wineries send someone quite knowledgeable to answer questions, often the winemaker or tasting room manager, which is great for serious wine lovers who want to know a little more about what they are drinking.
This one was much better organized than the first few that we attended. At those first few, you were much more likely to hear comments like, “Dude, what are you pouring. Geez is that all I get” rather than serious question about the wine. Most attendees of earlier events more interested in the perceived unlimited booze rather than the chance to actually experience some new wines and learn about the wineries. We’ve skipped the Wine Walk for the last few years but with this latest version, we were pleasantly surprised to find more wineries, shorter lines, and a large percentage of people that wanted to taste wine rather than try and get a cheap buzz. Kudos to the organizers who clearly have got the formula down and have created a really good event. Our only criticism – it would be helpful if the wineries listed what they will taste in the program in advance. We saw a number of attendees ask what was being poured and then leave when it didn’t suit their tastes.
Even with a low-key atmosphere, trying to taste at 24 different wineries, and keep notes straight (never mind actually trying to keep your taste buds fresh) was virtually impossible and it’s definitely not really an environment that’s conducive to a swish and spit practice. The chance of ruining an innocent bystander’s designer shoes with a poorly placed gob isn’t the most appealing of thoughts. In our other blogs, we usually describe the best wines at each winery. Unfortunately here, even with the shorter lines, there wasn’t time to learn about each wine and take notes without getting in the way of others. Instead of having a complete set of notes for each winery as I envisioned, we’re left with an array of semi discernible notes, cryptic scribbles, and random comments most of which look like they were written with a baboon’s left foot. My apologies to all the winemakers that spent some extra time with us. Even limiting ourselves to the readable comments, we would have had less of a Blog post and more of a novel. There was just too much detail. We plan on visiting some of the wineries that we met and doing a more in depth Blog on you in the future. Thanks for your patience!
Advice for Attendees of Future Wine Walks
If you’ve tasted at any of the Wineries before, skip them or leave them until the end. You already know what that wines tastes like. For instance, we already know Burrell School, Fortino, Loma Prieta, Regale, Sarah’s Vineyard, Sycamore Creek, Villa Del Monte, Fenestra, Trevieso, Creekview, and Guglielmo. We’ve already blogged about a number of them or will have some upcoming posts on the remainder. At the end of the article, we’ve provided links to previous blog posts that mention any of the participating wineries.
Also before going, take a quick look at the web site for each of the remaining wineries and then visit those first that make wines that appeal to you while your pallet is still fresh.
The majority of the Wineries were located within a 30 minute drive of Campbell. We’ve tasted most of them and they are all worth a visit. Pack a picnic if you go (assuming the weather cooperates of course).
There were 3 local “urban Wineries”, all of whom are worth a try. Travieso is the closest and is Campbell’s only winery. It’s located in an industrial area off Curtner and Bascom. We’ve tasted there before so we skipped it at this event but the wines make it worth a quick trip. Coterie Cellars is off Alamden Expressway and was new to us. We liked virtually everything that we had but the Pinot Noirs were the highlight for us. Karen liked the one from Sonoma best where as I liked the Santa Lucia Highlands one. Vino Vargas is located in west San Jose and doesn’t have a tasting room. Unfortunately, this is one of the wineries where my note taking suffered. Our next “travel” blog post will be on several of these urban wineries.
The largest concentrations of Wineries came from the Santa Cruz Mountains. If you are planning a tasting trip, we’ve grouped them by location to make it easier to plan your journey.
- Villa Del Monte
- Burrell School Winery
- Regale Winery
- Loma Prieta Winery
- Savannah Chanelle
- Cooper-Garrod Estate
- Nauman Vineyards
- Roudon-Smith Winery
- Sones Vineyard
- Bargetto Winery
A number of Wineries also came from the Gilroy, San Martin, and Morgan Hill area. We’ve just finished our second installment of a three part Blog on this area so rather than regurgitating everything here, we’ve pasted the link to the blogs at the end of this post.
- Guglielmo Winery
- Creekview Vineyards
- Sycamore Creek Vineyards
- Fortino Winery
- Sarah’s Vineyard
There were also a few wineries that traveled from several hours out. Those that we tried all had good offerings. Two Morlet Cabernet Sauvignons, Mon Chevalier and Passionnement were extremely good. They made an impression that has stuck with me a week later.
There was something for every one. My favorites are usually the big red wines and there were lots of them. Pinot Noirs were also plentiful for those who prefer a little more subtlety in red wine. Chardonnay of course was the most plentiful white but for those who prefer white wine, there was a much smaller selection. There were even several Sparkling wines ranging from off dry to those infused with Raspberry or Almond. There were also a few other wine-related businesses like Monterey Chocolate Company and Barrel Dreams.
For those who wanted to stroll in between tastes, most of the stores in downtown were open and several bands were playing music on various street corners.
Campbell has hit a winning formula with this latest Wine Walk. Here’s to a great event and we’re looking forward to the next one.
Cheers from Winery-Sage.com!