Bruzzone Family Vineyards is a small family-owned winery located in Scotts Valley. When owners Berna and John Bruzzone started planting grapes in 1999, they were already running a well-established business and had plenty of work to keep them occupied. But producing your own wine is definitely a passion that can’t be suppressed, and when it comes time for harvesting and getting juice into bottle, the excitement factor knows no bounds. I remember Berna giving me a tour of their vineyards several years ago and telling me how thrilled they are to be making such excellent Chardonnay.
Although growing grapes is serious business, we laughed about all the critters they have to contend with—everything from gophers to deer to insects and pests of all kinds. But it’s all part of the trials and tribulations of making your own wine, as every winemaker knows.
Now established as producers of fine Chardonnay, the Bruzzones’ 2009 vintage is exceptionally good. It’s an estate Chardonnay that reflects the combination of fertile soil, warm days and cool evenings—always an added advantage in our superb Monterey Bay location. A long hang time, hand harvesting and aging for 11 months in French oak barrels add greatly to the flavor of this luscious Chardonnay—awash with hints of citrus, vanilla and caramel. A very drinkable wine, it pairs well with most food. Matt Oetinger of Fernwood Cellars in Gilroy is the winemaker, and he also produces and bottles the wine for the Bruzzones.
Although the Bruzzones do not have a tasting room, they participate in many local events. They will be pouring at Michael’s on Main restaurant in Soquel from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday for Passport (see information below) along with about five or six other featured wineries that day, so do go by and taste their wine. They will also be pouring at the Vintners’ Festival on June 2 and 3 (info: scmwa.com).
Bruzzone Family Vineyards, 433 Sunridge Drive, Scotts Valley, 438-3120. Bruzzonevineyards.com.
Passport Day: Saturday, April 21
Passport Day comes around every three months, and it’s a good opportunity to go wine tasting. This is the day when you can visit wineries belonging to the Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association (SCMWA), providing you have a Passport, which will cost you $45 and can be purchased at any winery. When you visit each winery, you get your Passport stamped (it doesn’t expire)—and with more than 70 wineries belonging to SCMWA, it will take you a very long time to fill it up. Passport Day takes place four times a year on the third Saturday of January, April, July and November. Info: 685-8464, or scmwa.com or