My husband and I recently spent a weekend touring wineries in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Windy Oaks was probably our favorite find of the weekend–and there were several very lovely stops. It was a tip from another friend in the wine industry and I don’t think we would have found it any other way since their Corralitos tasting room is tucked up on a mountain road.
The little tasting room and winery are the work of Jim and Judy Schultze. They left jobs as management consultants to work on their winery–there was actually overlap for quite some time. They now continue to work their land and make wine with their two sons.
Located over 1,000 feet above sea level, their vineyards are well suited to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, although they also make a few other things from both estate and purchased fruit. Vineyards are sustainably farmed (mostly organic) and they try to intervene as little as possible in the winery. They use native yeasts and the wines are unfined and unfiltered.
Judy Schultze was in the tasting room the day we stopped in and she kindly walked us through the tasting and chatted with us about their winery. The wines tended towards a lighter style with graceful elegance. We really loved their Pinots, as well as a beautiful rosé that screamed summertime, and an extremely lithe Syrah.
The tasting room is small, but there’s also a patio where you can sit outside on a nice day. (It happened to be raining when we stopped in, so all the guests that had made their way up the mountain that day, were gathered inside.) Once the rain stopped, we took a short stroll in the vineyards up a hill that opened up to an expansive view of the ocean. It’s well worth the short hike.
Prices: They have several tasting flight options available at between $15-$20
Tasting Rooms Hours: Saturdays, 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm. They will also be open Sundays beginning the weekend of June 9 through mid-October.
Additional Info: They also have a tasting room in downtown Carmel which is open 11:30 am to 5:30 pm daily.
Note: My tasting was comped as member of the wine industry. No other monetary compensation was received.