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Discover the Wineries of Santa Clara Valley, Part 3: Exploring the Wine Trail

The 30-mile Santa Clara Valley Wine Trail is a loop that runs through Gilroy, Morgan Hill, and San Martin. It includes most of the 30 wineries that are a part of the Santa Clara Valley Wine Association. There are 25 Wine Trail signs to guide you along the way, with names of wineries, mileage to the wineries, and arrows to point the way.

Not all of the 30 wineries that are members of the Wineries of Santa Clara Valley Association are on the loop itself, but they are all labeled on the Wineries of Santa Clara Valley map, which you can download from the Wineries page of the Visit Gilroy website, or you can pick up a paper copy in our California Welcome Center in Gilroy. Some of the outliers are on smaller roads within the loop, while others are a little farther outside the perimeter. They are all worth checking out.

Award-Winning Wines on the Santa Clara Valley Wine Trail

California is the greatest producer of wine in the United States, and the fourth greatest producer of wine in the world. Santa Clara Valley’s wine grape production accounted for over $13 million in 2020. With some of the oldest vineyards in the U.S., the Santa Clara Valley wineries are among some of best, with many awards to show for it. While many of our wineries have earned various medals for some of their wines, and over 90 points for some varietals from sources such as The Wine Enthusiast and The Wine Spectator, here we’ll highlight just a few of the most prestigious award-winning wineries with some of the highest ratings.

Lightpost Winery wine bottles in a row
Lightpost Winery

Lightpost Winery of Morgan Hill has earned ratings in the 90s and numerous awards for their wine, including platinum and double gold awards. Solis Winery in Gilroy has also scored several wines in the 90s and has received multiple double gold awards for their wines. A handful of other wineries have earned double gold awards and ratings in the 90s for some of their outstanding wines, including Church Creek Cellars in Gilroy, Guglielmo Winery of Morgan Hill, Clos la Chance Winery in San Martin, and Satori Cellars of Gilroy. The Martin Ranch Winery and Fortino Winery in Gilroy have also earned high scores and gold awards for several of their wines.

Unique & Unusual Wines on the Santa Clara Valley Wine Trail

The Santa Clara Valley is most known for Cabernet Sauvignon wines. However, local wineries have a large selection of other varieties to offer in the red and white categories, along with rosé options. But there are some truly unique wines that you cannot miss if you are visiting the Wineries of Santa Clara Valley.

  • Dessert Wines: Kirigin Cellars in the Santa Clara Valley offers a delicious coffee and chocolate-infused dessert wine called Vino de Mocca. If chocolate really is your thing (how can it not be?!), there is also a “Cocoa Delight” wine available at Creekview Vineyards.

 

A bottle of Vino de Mocca Kirigin wine on a counter with wine bottles in cubby holes in the background
Vino de Mocca by Kirigin Cellars

 

  • Specialty Wines: Hecker Pass Winery is the only one in the valley to offer the classic Italian wine, Chianti. Solis Winery is the only winery on the Wine Trail to provide another Italian (award-winning) wine, Fiano. Fortino Winery and Guglielmo Winery both offer a California-inspired almond sparkling wine.
A bottle and wine glass of Fiano on top of a wine barrel
A bottle of Solis Winery’s Italian Fiano wine.
  • Fruity Wines: Calerrain Winery, Lightpost Winery, and Sarah’s Vineyard seasonally offer a light, crisp, lemon-lime flavored wine called Albariño, made from Spanish grapes. Another unique, fruit-flavored white wine produced by Clos la Chance is the Colibri (which means hummingbird in French), with pineapple and pink grapefruit flavors. Two wineries, Casa de Fruta and Fortino Winery, have several selections of fruit-flavored wines, including apricot, raspberry, plum, blackberry. Casa de Fruta also features its very popular pomegranate wine and pomegranate sparkling wine.
Casa de Fruta Pomegranate sparkling wine group of bottles with a Santa decoration over them on a table
Casa de Fruta Pomegranate Sparkling Wine

 

  • Great Gifts for Wine Lovers: If you’re planning to share some wine with a group or pick up a unique gift, you can get an old-fashioned growler of a red blend wine (the equivalent of 2.5 bottles) at Cinnabar Winery. If you want to give back while purchasing some wine, Guglielmo Winery has a few wines with a portion of the sales donated to charities. If it is around the holidays, Guglielmo Winery also has the perfect gift: a collectible, red-blend Christmas wine with a festive holiday label.
Guglielmo white wine bottle purchase for a cause
Guglielmo Winery’s Proud Pour Sauvignon Blanc: Proceeds from every bottle help fund wild oyster reef restoration across North America.

Get a Wine Trail Pass to Explore 30 Different Santa Clara Valley Wineries

You can purchase a Santa Clara Valley Wine Trail Pass for just $90. It is good at 30 wineries along the Wine Trail. The Wine Trail Pass is good for three 1-ounce pours at each winery, and it has a $450 value. The best part is that it is good for one whole year from the date of purchase. Stop by the California Welcome Center in Gilroy to purchase a pass or buy at one of the wineries along the Trail or on the Wineries of Santa Clara Valley website: Santa Clara Valley Wines — Wineries of Santa Clara Valley (santaclarawines.com). Wine Trail Passes make great gifts, too.

Santa Clara Valley Wine Trail Passes with Corks in two barrels and a wine bottle

Plan Your Wine Tasting Tour of Wineries of Santa Clara Valley

Ready to go wine tasting in Gilroy? Be sure to plan at least a weekend stay to visit as many of our amazing wineries as you can. Check out our Great Garlic Getaways for a sample two-day Wine Tasting Weekend itinerary or plan your own custom tasting tour.

 

Find More to Explore in Gilroy

In addition to all the great wineries, you’ll find lots more to do in Gilroy, California! For inspiration, check our list of 33 Things to Do in Gilroy and Great Gilroy Getaways trip itineraries. Book a budget-friendly hotel room so you can stay a night or two and try even more wineries in Gilroy.

When you visit, be sure to stop by the California Welcome Center Gilroy. Our friendly staff can help you pick the perfect place to eat and find other fun places to explore. We also have unique gifts and souvenirs of your trip to Gilroy and the Golden State.

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