Santa Cruz wet wine walk

rainy day

The last time we visited my brother-in-law, we had to drive to get to the local wineries. Up into the hills, usually, on windy roads designed to get the casual tourist completely lost. And many of the Central Coast wineries weren’t open to the public, anyway. This has all changed with the advent of the Swift Street Courtyard complex, now home to at least six different wine tasting rooms and a brewery. Part of the same complex that houses Kelly’s French Bakery (and a number of other shops), this is a wildly accessible arrangement for a person wanting to taste as much Santa Cruz wine as possible. Which we did.

And thanks to everything being so close together, it can all be done on foot even in a pouring rain. Which it was.

Bonny Doon

Bonny Doon

Our first stop was Bonny Doon. Their new space is very spiffy, with a long curving bar and tables set into gigantic barrels, with melted wine bottles for lamps. They had two tasting flights on offer, a regular and a reserve, so we bought one each and figured we’d share. The woman pouring for us took it upon herself to switch around the order of the wines so our two flights would overlap in the most enjoyable manner. We ended up with an exciting spread of bottles in front of us.

Bonny Doon

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beer and a burger


There was a fantastic tasting down at our local wine shop the other night. Instead of wine, we tasted several varieties of beer from Belgium, Poland and Germany. It was great for us, because our beer drinking tends to center heavily on the Pacific Northwest and we just haven’t experimented much with Belgian ales. Too bad there weren’t more tasters in attendance, but hey – more for us.


We ended up going home with a bottle of St Bernardus Abt 12, which was my favorite from the tasting (we also really, really liked Piraat Triple IPA – yum). We took care of it immediately with the help of some remarkably successful cheeseburgers and yam fries, which turned out to be an almost perfect pairing with the beer. Continue reading