The seeds for Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard were planted when a young man by the name of Ken Burnap (above) took a prom date out to one of the finest restaurants in San Antonio, Texas. Ken ordered a bottle of wine and mangled the pronunciation of the French wine. The very snobby and pretentious wine steward humiliated Ken with his reaction and in the manner of most of us when barely out of our teens, Ken vowed to learn as much as he could about wine and go back and show that wine steward a thing or two.
The very next day he set off to find and read every book he could get his hands on that had anything to do with wine. In no time at all he was totally captivated with the subject of fine wine. He soon forgot about the snobby wine steward but had gained a fascinating hobby that would become the passion of a lifetime.
Through the years Ken’s favorite variety became Pinot Noir – Pinot Noir from Burgundy, that is. Ken was perplexed with how it could be that Pinot Noir from France could be so amazing, while California Pinot Noir was pretty much universally not very good at the time. So he started to do research on Pinot Noir.
This was the early 1970’s. A great majority of the wine produced in California came out of Napa Valley, including most California Pinot Noir. Through his research, Ken came to the conclusion that the reason most California Pinot Noir was so bad was that it was grown on the floor of Napa Valley which was the wrong climate to grow Pinot Noir. So he started to look at regions in California that might be better suited to good quality Pinot Noir.
Ken lived in Orange County, in southern California. He owned an industrial contracting firm and ran a restaurant called The Hobbit, which he founded. Purely as an excuse to travel to beautiful locations in northern California, his hobby became exploring different areas that he thought would be excellent for growing great quality Pinot Noir. The way he puts it, he never had any conscious intention of starting a winery. He had developed a list of about 13 criteria that he felt were necessary to have in a vineyard site in order to produce top quality Pinot Noir. In these trips to Northern California he started looking at property that might meet those criteria. Very quickly, his main areas of focus became the Russian River Valley and the Santa Cruz Mountains. He felt these would be the best places to grow Pinot Noir in California.
Join us THIS week, and taste through Ken's vision; the passion and the brilliant wines from the Santa Cruz Mountains!
Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyards "Bailey's Branciforte Ridge Vineyard"
Pinot Noir 2014 - $36
Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyards "Branciforte Creek Vineyard"
Pinot Noir 2014 - $49
Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyards "Pierce Ranch"
Petite Sirah 2015 - $25
Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyards "Luchessi Vineyard"
Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 - $59
4-pack price: $169