Founded in 1978 in a hidden corner of the southwestern Santa Clara Valley, Sarah’s Vineyard produces handmade wines using traditional techniques. Tucked in the Santa Cruz Mountain foothills near a windy mountain pass, our vineyard enjoys a coastal microclimate of foggy mornings, sunny afternoons tempered by strong ocean breezes, and chilly nights that is ideal for premium Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Rhone varietals. Our task as winemakers is to turn their fruit into liquid sunshine; the true music of the vineyard.
The philosophy and dream of Sarah’s Vineyard brings together the world of fine wine, fine food, and fine arts. Our boutique Tasting Room, featuring a large picnic lawn area, is the host to dozens of live outdoor musical performances and food gatherings annually. We look forward to meeting you...
Sarah’s Vineyard in Gilroy is nestled at the base of picturesque Mount Madonna and the always-inviting mountain area known as Hecker Pass. Founded in 1978 by Marilyn Clark and planted mostly with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, Sarah’s Vineyard continues to this day as a quintessential producer of these fine Burgundian-style wines.
The Burgundian tradition continues
Purchased in 2001 by current owner, Tim Slater, the vineyard flourishes with the original vineyard concept of producing the finest handcrafted Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines to come out of this viticulture haven. The approximately 30 acres of land are blessed with a multitude of significantly different micro-climates and soil types. This unique terroir enables both Burgundian/Dijon grapes and wine grapes of the Rhone River Valley origin to all ripen at just the right times. The cooling morning fog, hot summer days, and predictable ocean breezes in the afternoon and evening, moderate the normally hot valley temperatures found in the southern end of the Santa Clara Valley. The proximity to the Santa Cruz Mountains appellation and the resulting cooling coastal variations, mixed with the heat from the valley, place Sarah’s Vineyard in a unique and very blessed area, enabling the successful mix of grapes of varied and distinct origin.
Science, wine, and food enjoyed in a unique art form
Mr. Slater – a scientist by education – is completely at home following his true passions of winegrowing and winemaking, food and music. Sarah’s Vineyard allows Tim the opportunity for the perfect expression of those artful passions. As the visitor drives through the rustic stone gate that marks the entrance to the vineyard, one is immediately struck by the charm of cruising through a peaceful country retreat. Ancient Chinese bells dot the property, and the main house, situated at the top of the hill, all signal the wonderful hospitality awaiting. Anticipation heightens while winding through the vineyard around the base of the gently sloping hillside to the cozy tasting room and gardens that beckon to the road-weary traveler.
Visitors are happily greeted daily
The winery dogs, Missy, Max, and Miles, are often either in the drive, or just inside the tasting room, ready to greet everyone as long lost friends. The very knowledgeable tasting room staff is as gracious and welcoming as anyone could hope for. Tim is often found in the tasting room, regaling visitors and staff with vineyard, winemaking, and culinary tales. If he’s not there, he may be somewhere in the 16 acres of vineyard tending to the needs of the vines at the time – or chasing after tennis balls with Missy, Max, and Miles. He may be in the winery (just up the hill from the tasting room) stirring the leis of the Pinot Noir or Chardonnay, checking barrel samples, or working on the next blend in the winery’s state-of-the-art lab. If you happen to spot him, Tim may give a holler to come up and join him. In addition to being an accomplished scientist – with over 25 patents to his name – Tim is a UC Davis trained winemaker, and a Cordon Bleu (Paris, France) trained chef. As a result, there are often small bites prepared as a pairing with the featured wines of the day.
“Wine is music from the vineyard …”
Bring a picnic, or afternoon snacks. Purchase a bottle (or two) and relax in the vineyard, or in the well-manicured lawn area – with pastoral views of the surrounding hillsides, and the neighboring West Side Gardens. Bocce courts are available for visitors to enjoy, and from time to time, music is played on the patio by visiting local talents. In addition to numerous annual events and seasonal parties, the winery is available for meetings and private gatherings. Adjacent to the tasting room is a small conference room, making Sarah’s Vineyard well-suited for that very strategic off-site team meeting. Call Tim ahead of time, and he might even crank up the custom-made wood fired pizza oven.
Be prepared to be surprised and delighted
The tasting room is more of a visitors center, open daily from noon to 5 p.m., featuring pictures of surrounding vineyards – from which many of the wines are sourced – artwork from local artists, artisan chocolates, handcrafted olive oils, and Sarah’s Vineyard logo items are available to purchase for the “Sara
Pleasantly Pinot and much more
Delighted to have found this winery on the scenic Hecker Pass Hwy. As soon as you cross the threshold to the tasting room, genuinely hospitable staff invite you to sample award winning wines while offering perspective and a bit of history about each varietal and vintage. Ample space allows one to remain at the bar or linger on the leather settees to enjoy their tasting and contemplate their wine purchase.
With the wines being crafted with such care and quality coupled with an engaging staff, the membership offers such value. I also appreciate Tim's member letters enclosed in my shipments. They provide a current state along with a forecast of the vineyard, with an occasional recipe to try. The pick-up parties are thoughtfully planned and well attended. Great wine, food, and fellow members!