The Hidden Beauty of Cupertino Wine Country

On cue, our feathered friend hopped up onto the wine barrel and struck a pose.  He was the photogenic one.  A friend of his was laying in the shade preening himself and another went roaming the grounds for bugs, but that wasn't him.

Image of Cupertino Peacock

No, he'd been following some of the other visitors around the winery but he put on his full strut when he saw the gleam of my camera lens.  

Here he was: the side of Cupertino not many people get to see.  Hidden off the rugged Santa Cruz Mountains with Montebello Road carving its winding path, Cupertino is Silicon Valley wine country.  

The Ridge at the Top of the Mountain

The signs were everywhere and they weren't subtle.  This was also rattlesnake country and people were just visitors.  With a view that stretched well beyond Moffett Field and downtown San Jose, past the East Bay with clear skies, though, nothing else had my attention.  Here was the Ridge Vineyard and Winery, proper and formal, yet rustic in its nature.

Image of View from Ridge Winery

The beautiful mountain.  The name of the Ridge Winery estate and the name of their flagship red, unsurprisingly, Monte Bello (with the space).  And in keeping with the traditions of great temptation, they will give you your first taste for free.  They welcome guests on weekends, but on weekdays with reservations only.

Image of Ridge Winery
Image of Peacock

Have you ever been flashed by poultry?  The two women just ahead had gotten out of their cars and were walking leisurely, up the path towards the farmhouse where Picchetti Winery holds its tastings.  Hidden behind the barrel marking the entryway and sensing his opportunity, he burst out from his cover, running towards the ladies and rearing himself --- literally --- in full glory.  The Pichetti sangiovese is good, but it's not what I'll remember from this winery.

Image of Pichetti Winery

Catch and Release

1935, the year before Turing Machines.  That's the year when the Stevens Creek Dam and Reservoir was constructed.  Some people pass this piece of history before entering Cupertino wine country.  You can't miss it: it's entire view on your left heading up to Montebello Road. 

Others come here to spend the afternoon sitting on the steep angular concrete wall that is the Stevens Creek Dam, with fishing rod in hand, enjoying the reflection of the sun off the water.  This is Cupertino too.  

Image of Stevens Creek Dam