Winemakers and local community leaders joined together on Friday August 22 for the ribbon-cutting ceremony to open the new Santa Clara Valley Wine Trail. The new Wine Trail is a collaborative effort between the Wineries of Santa Clara Valley Association and the County of Santa Clara. The new Wine Trail signs will direct drivers to some of the oldest wineries in California, nestled among local farms, orchards and horse ranches in Southern Santa Clara County.
Greg Richtarek, President of the Wineries of Santa Clara Valley opened the event telling the visitors about this cooperation with the winemakers, the County of Santa Clara and the cities of Morgan Hill and Gilroy. He states that, “we are pleased that our civic leaders stepped forward to support this new wine trail signage program. Many other wine regions already enjoy the significant boost in tourism by clear, attractive signage.” Richtarek also specifically called out Morgan Hill resident Jon Hatakeyama and Morgan Hill Cellars winery owner Mike Sampognaro for pushing through the Wine Trail idea with the County Board of Supervisors.
The Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to adopt the Santa Clara Valley Wine Trail Route. It features 70+ directional signs bearing the logo of the Wineries of Santa Clara Valley that will guide visitors to South County wineries.
Santa Clara County Supervisor Mike Wasserman states, “The new Wine Trail will help Agritourism in South County and shows that we value Agritourism and support it. I expect to see a steady increase in tourism along the Wine Trail.”
“Many Gilroy residents already know that our wines are some of the best kept secrets in our area,” said Gilroy Mayor Don Gage. “We want the rest of the region to know we produce award-winning wines, so come enjoy the wines.”
Morgan Hill Vice Mayor stated, “We are so fortunate to have so many fine wineries in this area, and the rich heritage our wine industry brings to visitors from near and far and look forward to welcoming many wine enthusiasts.”
“Seeing 70+ signs installed shows what a collaborative effort can do, said Katherine Filice of the Gilroy Welcome Center. “It shows visitors that this is a wine region that cannot be ignored.”
Then the civic leaders gathered to unveil the first Santa Clara Valley Wine Trail to the applause of the visitors and winemakers. They then proceeded to the ribbon-cutting in front of Guglielmo Winery with the help of the three Guglielmo brothers, George, Gene and Gary. The Guglielmo family were kind enough to host the event and then provided a tour of the Guglielmo Winery, the oldest continuously operating winery in Santa Clara Valley, being founded in 1925 by Emilio Guglielmo.
Following the event, we visited four unique wineries in Santa Clara Valley, including Morgan Hill Cellars, Thomas Kruse Winery, Fortino Winery and Kirigin Cellars, along with a delicious lunch at Milia’s Restaurant in downtown Gilroy. These visits show that South County can truly be a destination for both food and wine lovers.
The celebration continues this weekend where visitors are invited to the "Santa Clara Valley Wine Trail Celebration". Tickets are $40 and can be purchased at participating wineries and the Gilroy Welcome Center. Each winery will have special events for the weekend.
For more information