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Vintners share the fruits of their labors


Photo By: Town Crier file photo
Photo Town Crier File Photo

The six wineries featured at this years festival are based in the Bay Area.

The 33rd annual Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival is scheduled to feature six wineries, selected by the organizing committee. Known for hosting boutique wineries, the festival draws wine aficionados of all kinds. Each of the wineries has local roots, and most grow grapes in the Santa Cruz Mountains, a region renowned for its long, sunny days and cool nights.

A rundown of each of the wineries and what they plan to pour this year follows.

Kings Mountain Vineyards

This is the second time the Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival is partnering with Kings Mountain Vineyards, returning after a one-year hiatus. Located in Woodside, Kings Mountain handcrafts French-style wines from estate-grown fruit.

The vineyard at Kings Mountain was planted in 1992 on a private estate that has existed in Woodside since the late 1800s. The vineyard comprises 520 vines that are dry-farmed, hand-maintained and harvested to create quality fruit.

Each wine is produced in small lots and is unfined and unfiltered. The wines are then aged in new French oak barrels. Kings Mountain Vineyard representatives plan to pour a 2008 Chardonnay and a 2008 Pinot Noir.

For more information, visit www.kingsmountainvineyards.com.

Fernwood Cellars

Fernwood Cellars returns to the festival for the fifth year. The Gilroy-based winery makes a variety of estate wines, including Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Syrah. Fernwood is dedicated to producing wines that reflect the vineyard’s unusual microclimate, while showcasing the inherent characteristics of each variety.

Second-generation winemaker Matt Oetinger founded Fernwood Cellars in 1999. The vineyard has been in his family for six generations, since his great-grandfather Charles Oetinger built the family’s first home on the property in 1863.

His father, Lew, owner of Hummingbird Hill Vineyards, introduced Matt to winemaking at a young age. Matt graduated from UC Davis in 1995 with a degree in biology. After college, he worked at several vineyards, learning each vintner’s style. He managed the vineyard at Clos LaChance Winery in the Santa Cruz Mountains before founding Fernwood.

At this year’s festival, Fernwood Cellars representatives plan to pour a 2009 Dry Riesling, a 2009 Zinfandel, a 2009 Mirepoix and a 2008 Petite Sirah.

For more information, visit www.fernwoodcellars.com.

Naumann Vineyards

Naumann Vineyards pours at the festival for the seventh year. Vintner Don Naumann grows his grapes at the winery located atop Montebello Road in Cupertino, 2,000 feet above the Silicon Valley floor.

Naumann said the quality of his wine begins with the fruit. His Estate Merlot is grown on the mountain on an eastern-facing slope. All work in the vineyard is performed by hand, with the goal of producing low-yield, high-quality fruit.

This year, Naumann Vineyards representatives plan to pour a 2007 Merlot, a 2011 Rosé, a 2008 Chardonnay and his award-winning 2009 Tre Rosso Cali, which won a Double Gold Medal at the 2012 San Francisco International Wine Competition. This wine is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. It is 100 percent estate-grown in the Santa Cruz Mountains, according to Naumann, and aged two years in French oak prior to blending and bottling.

For more information, visit www.naumannvineyards.com.

Page Mill Winery

Local couple Dick and Ome Stark founded Page Mill Winery in 1976 when the family excavated a large cellar under their home in Los Altos Hills. The Stark family has steadily grown Page Mill Winery in the years since but remains committed to producing a small quantity of high-quality wine. Page Mill Winery has participated in the Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival since its inception.

Dane Stark, son of the winery’s founder, runs the family business. He studied the craft in France and California.

For 28 years, the winery was located on Page Mill Road in Los Altos Hills, just a short drive from downtown Los Altos. It has since moved to a larger location in Livermore. Page Mill Winery’s Tasting Room is located in the heart of the wine trail in Livermore. Its wines are available extensively on the Peninsula, at restaurants in downtown Los Altos, in grocery stores and online.

This year, Page Mill Winery representatives plan to pour a 2011 Sauvignon Blanc and a 2009 Petite Sirah.

For more information, visit www.pagemillwinery.com.

Martin Ranch Winery

For Dan and Thérèse Martin, the dream of owning a winery began with a shared passion for great wine, a wonderful growing environment and the joy of sharing the experience with friends and family.

In 1993, after years of enjoying tasting and buying wine, the Martins decided to experience the winemaking process for themselves and launched Martin Ranch Winery. Their 17 acres in the southern tip of the Santa Cruz Mountains provides the ideal microclimate for growing Cabernet Sauvignon – warm days and cool nights. In 2003, they built a small winery building and increased production to 2,000 cases.

Today they produce many award-winning red and white varieties.

“Our love of life, sharing great wines and food with family and friends, are what make the Martin Ranch Winery so special,” the Martins posted on their website.

Martin Ranch Winery representatives plan to pour a J.D. Hurley 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, a J.D. Hurley 2010 Sauvignon Blanc, a Thérèse Vineyards 2009 Carignane and a Thérèse Vineyards 2008 Syrah.

For more information, visit www.MartinRanchWinery.com.

Thomas Fogarty Winery and Vineyards

Thomas Fogarty Winery and Vineyards began as a hobby and became a Peninsula powerhouse in the world of wine.

By now, the story of Thomas Fogarty Winery and Vineyards is well known. In the early 1970s, Dr. Thomas Fogarty was working as a cardiovascular surgeon and noted inventor when he first tried at-home winemaking in a cabin high above Palo Alto on Skyline Boulevard. He planted his first grapes in 1978 and established a commercial winegrowing operation in 1981.

That property is now home to the 325-acre Thomas Fogarty Winery and Vineyards.

The vineyards themselves are located 2,000 feet above the Silicon Valley floor, providing an ideal, cool climate for growing grapes. Fogarty’s vision is to produce high-quality wine that takes advantage of his property’s favorable soil and climate.

Thomas Fogarty Winery and Vineyards representatives plan to pour a 2007 Skyline Red, a 2010 Skyline Riesling and a 2008 Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay.

For more information, visit www.fogartywinery.com.

For more information on the wineries and the festival, call the Los Altos Village Association at 949-5282 or visit www.downtownlosaltos.org.

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