Vine Hill wines exhibit spicy flavors of white pepper and coriander. Blackberry and tart cherry are the dominant fruit characteristics of the Pinot Noir.
Vine Hill Winery
There is something really satisfying about seeing a long-held dream unfolding before your eyes. Such is the circumstance in which Nick Guerrero, Managing Partner of Vine Hill Winery finds himself. Nick and his team have embarked on a journey that continues a long tradition of winemaking in the historic Vine Hill Wine District. Established in 1867 by George and John Jarvis the wine district housed the Santa Cruz Mountain Wine Company of which John Jarvis was the president until his death in 1892. Jarvis also founded Union Vineyard in 1877. It is this historic site that is today's Vine Hill Winery.
Nick sees himself as the team's "coach." He lets each individual create their own template for success and is always there to lend a guiding hand as needed. "Putting other's first" was not always Nick's mantra, but as he has evolved, so has his opinion on managing people. He believes that the winery environment engenders an individual's reach for excellence and the ability to collaborate for the common good. Nick understands that this opportunity cannot always be seized in larger, corporate environments, or on the manufacturing room floor. That is why he feels extremely lucky to be surrounded by such outstanding individuals in an environment where their greatest success is celebrating great winemaking and all the efforts that support this goal.
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The Santa Cruz Mountain appellation encompasses the land between Half Moon Bay in the north and Mount Madonna (just near Monterey) in the south. Producing wine since the early 1800's, some of these wineries have been around for quite some time, mingling their vineyard lands with the sprawling redwood forests.
Even though the climate can be challenging, and only 1500 acres are under vine, over 50 wineries still operate successfully – and produce successful wine. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay do well in this region, along with a few plots of Cabernet Sauvignon. Hills, valleys and forests generate multiple micro-climates, creating a diverse flavor among the wines.
It's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country into itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.