Named for a station on the old South Pacific Coast Railroad that carried people from Los Gatos to Santa Cruz, Wrights Station Vineyard & Winery's label evokes the brand's railroad roots. Nowadays, Highway 17 drones by, drowning out everything but history.
Just five minutes from Highway 17 off Summit Road, you'll disembark straight into the 19th century. Expansive vineyard and redwood views, along with a newly renovated tasting room boasting super comfortable seating, signal you to relax. You're on railroad time now.
Winemaker Dan Lokteff, an early eBay officer who tested the platform by purchasing wine, recently moved his wine production to the Summit location from Byington Winery. He learned the basics of making chardonnay and pinot noir at Storrs in Santa Cruz. Now, at his own winery, he has restored two beautiful equestrian barns, turning them into a crushpad and winery storage facility.
Tasting here is casual, inside and out: Lean at the bar, settle into couches and chairs, or relax on the expansive deck of the 1947 farmhouse, while kids of all ages play bocce on the lawn. There's even a toy train set indoors.
If you ask nicely, Lokteff might take you to the "secret" minicellar in the vineyard where the prior owners stored their dust-covered collection. Sit beneath the vine arbor, in the shade of ancient redwoods, enjoying the breeze, the view and a glass of wine.
The details: 24250 Loma Prieta Way, Los Gatos. Open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays to Sundays and by appointment. www.wrightsstation.com.
The sips: The 2010 Estate Chardonnay No. 9 ($25), a nickname for a loose train, delivers aromas of lemon curd, pear and apple. The 2010 Estate "Far Away Block" Pinot Noir ($39) fell victim to a heat spike of 112 degrees on Sept. 3. As a result, it has 15 percent alcohol but it's plenty pretty with ripe strawberry-rhubarb pie aromatics and flavors of raspberry, chocolate and sugaryfig bars.
Nearby: Regale, MJA.
-- L. Ness, Correspondent