When the opportunity arises we generally take it (when wine is involved). Having to be in the Gilroy area this last week late one morning, and with no plans for the rest of the day, it just seemed like a good enough reason to go experience a couple wineries that we have not been to before. With the decision to do it out of the way next up was who is open on a Tuesday that has not been visited recently? A quick search of the twitter list and first up was Fortino Winery located at 4525 Hecker Pass Rd. The sign out front is big and easy to see so you will have no problems finding the place.
The winery and the vineyards have been here since the 1930s and were purchased in 1970 by Ernest and Marie Fortino. The purchase was influenced by and because the surrounding land was highly reminiscent of his hometown, Calabria, Italy. In 1995 Ernest passed on the responsibilities of running the winery to his son, Gino, and daughter, Teri. Over the years the vineyards have expanded and now stand at about 50 acres, half of which are still dry-farmed like the original plantings to produce flavor-intense grapes. A good size comfy feeling tasting room, with a good selection of wine related items for sale make this a good stop on any wine tasting Adventure of the area. They also have a great entertainment / event / wedding areas. Between the Redwood Terrace and the Barrel Room they have it covered.
With a broad spectrum of wines being poured, there is bound to one or more to please every palate. From a crisp apple nosed Riesling and a very interesting Black Muscat Blush to the Carignan (from the oldest vines, dry farmed and the one we purchased) to a Carbono as well as some more typical varieties like Cabernet Savignon and Zinfandel. If bubbly is your choice they have an Extra Dry Champagne and an Almond Champagne which seems to be quite the hit. Open 10:00am to 5:00pm Tuesday through Saturday and 11:00am to 5:00pm Sunday and Closed Monday, go by and tell em we sent you.
Just a little ways down the road is the Solis Winery. Solis winery has been a working winery since the late 1920's. This somewhat unassuming tasting room building is hiding a secret. It has one of the nicest deck / view ares of almost any winery we have visited in the area. In 1980, the Vanni family purchased the land and has been running Solis Winery ever since. David and Valerie Vanni originally ran the business with their family and friends, but once they were confident enough their sons, Michael and Vic were ready, they transferred the responsibilities to them and they have done a great job as evidenced by the increasing number of awards won each year.
There are many events hosted at the winery and as an example coming up on the weekend of August 31st - September 2nd the Syrah and Sausage Grill event Labor Day Weekend. Now on this weekend you head on over the the winery and purchase a bottle of Syrah for $35 for non members or $21 for club members (good reason to join their club) and along with opening the bottle and providing you glasses to drink that nice Syrah you will also get two gourmet sausage sandwiches and two pasta sides.
If that wasn't enough there will be live music (from 12-4:30pm) to help you enjoy the wine, food and fabulous view. Try all of the wines since your already there and find your favouite. We purchased a bottle of the 2010 Zinfandel with some BBQ in mind. Take a group and maybe buy a bottle of their lovely delicate (by port standards) port to finish the day. Go on by and have a taste and let em know we sent you!
Happy Tasting Adventures,
Kiwi & Koala