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Bouquets on the Bay

Article by Carolyn Jung 06.30.2016 Photographed by Erin Kunkel

California wine disciples tend to focus on the viticulture vortex known as Napa and Sonoma. But when the summer heat rolls in with the crowds, consider steering south of San Francisco toward Half Moon Bay and its coastal environs.

The area has a spirited history: During Prohibition, the foggy coves that attracted vessels carrying Canadian whiskey also shielded local moonshiners who distilled grappa from their fermented grape crops. Today’s vintners follow a more lawful agenda. With a cooler climate and smaller production lots, the area’s wineries may be off the beaten path, but they offer plenty of stellar varietals — along with colorful stories to relish.

1. Thomas Fogarty Winery & Vineyards

At Thomas Fogarty Winery & Vineyards, in the Santa Cruz Mountains, the soil and climate play starring roles in the intense final products. The winery, and its vistas, attracts visitors from around the globe.

2. Ridge Vineyards

The velvet hummocks of Ridge Vineyards’ Santa Cruz Mountains home, whose native vines yield small yet sensational crops.

3. Bonny Doon Vineyard

Harvest time at Bonny Doon Vineyard in Davenport, on Highway 1 about 10 miles north of Santa Cruz. The winery is the brainchild of founder Randall Grahm, known for championing esoteric Rhône varietals for a distinctive tasting experience.

4. Half Moon Bay Wine & Cheese Co.

The ultimate wine country lunch, as served at Half Moon Bay Wine & Cheese Co.: cheese, olives, charcuterie and a glass of something smooth and local. The well-appointed boutique offers stylish gift baskets and rare cheeses alongside floor-to-ceiling bottles and a popular tasting room.

Visit These Half Moon Bay Wineries

Plan Your Visit to Half Moon Bay

A cliff hugged by a beach below

The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay

As you sip a glass of wine at check-in to the rhythm of the Pacific waves crashing below, it becomes clear that The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay has perfected the art of the West Coast welcome. Just 23 miles south of San Francisco, here the golf is award-winning, the Segway tours are exhilarating and s’mores around the fire pit are possibly life-changing.

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