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Discover the Wineries of Santa Clara Valley, Part 2: Diverse Geography, Features & Activities

The Santa Clara Valley boasts over 30 wineries and tasting rooms, from Gilroy in the south to New Almaden in the north. Each one is a unique destination that offers a special experience for wine lovers, live music fans, foodies, families, and adventure-seekers.

Diversity of Santa Clara Valley Wineries

While the variety of wineries in the valley is diverse, most are family-owned. There are large wineries with acres of greenery and beautiful landscaping, overlooking vineyards and golden tree-covered hills. There are wineries hidden in the forests, with towering redwoods all around.

Creek and redwoods photo of Fernwood Cellars winery

Some wineries are perched on the tops of hills, with scenic views as far as the eye can see. The Santa Clara Valley also has welcoming, boutique wineries tucked in backyards where you can sit right next to the vineyards and stay a while, often visiting with the owners. One winery even sits in the former vicinity of a cinnabar—or quicksilver—mine.

Satori Cellars

You’ll find wineries with soothing fountains, large metal sculptures, rainbow-themed colors, a giant wine glass you can take a photo in, artistic labels designed by family members, a bar with pennies covering the entire counter under glass, and even one winery with a creek running through it.

Lion deocrated three-tier water fountain at Lion Ranch Winery

There are wineries that use dry-farming techniques practiced for generations, while others incorporate the most modern technology in the production process.

With such a variety of wineries to choose from, there really is something for everyone—so you may need to visit them all.

woman sitting in giant, plastic wine glass with giant wine bottle nearby

 

Events and Activities at the Wineries of Santa Clara Valley

The wineries of Santa Clara Valley have a variety of enjoyable events and interesting activities to offer, including:

  • Live Music: Many wineries offer live music outdoors during the warmer summer and fall months, with some still hosting concerts throughout the cooler months (thanks to covered outdoor areas and space heaters). They’re a great place to unwind and get your groove on.

 

Two men singing while playing their guitars

 

  • Activities: A few wineries have bocce ball courts, cornhole, or horseshoe pits, while one hosts cricket matches and car shows. During the holiday season, many wineries in Gilroy and the Santa Clara Valley offer arts and craft boutiques with handmade gifts and other special items for sale. You can sip and shop at the same time, while also supporting local businesses. Other special events at wineries have included paint nights, yoga classes, and special cooking or crafting nights—such as creating a succulent garden or learning how to make a charcuterie board or chocolate truffles. Grab a friend and sign up ahead of time for one of these many fun activities. Check the Visit Gilroy Upcoming Events calendar for the latest updates.
Young lady and a man smiling at a table while making chocolate truffles at Fortino Winer
Chocolate truffle making class at Fortino Winery

Three dogs at a winery with musical sculpture in background

  • Kid-Friendly Wineries: A large percentage of wineries welcome children in the outdoor areas. Lightpost Winery even has an indoor family-friendly room with TVs, headsets, and coloring books for kids and a seating area for parents to wine taste. Stefania Winery has winery cats and welcomes children, but (for obvious reasons) is not dog-friendly.
Lightpost Winery Family room with tvs on the walls, a table and chairs, a bar with colorful stools, and a circular seating area with benches and bean bags for kids to sit
The indoor family room at Lightpost Winery.
  • Epicurean Experiences: Sipping a delicious wine is not the only epicurean experience available at the Santa Clara Valley wineries. There are also amazing foods to be enjoyed along with your wine. From wood-fired pizzas to varied charcuterie options, you can pair some tasty treats with your wine. Some wineries have special holiday meals, cheese-and-wine pairing events, and even an on-staff chef or local caterer who creates different menus each weekend. Still other wineries occasionally invite food trucks to supply their savory foods to accompany your wine tasting. For those who enjoy indulging in wine and good food, our wineries will not disappoint. Many of the Santa Clara Valley Wineries will even allow you to bring your own food to enjoy while you sample delicious wines.

 

Charcuterie board with meats and cheeses

 

To learn more about the 30+ wineries in Gilroy and the Santa Clara Valley, go to the Wineries page on the Visit Gilroy website or read these additional blog articles:

  • Discover Santa Clara Valley Wineries, Part 1: Fascinating Facts You May Not Know
  • Discover Santa Clara Valley Wineries, Part 3: Exploring the Wine Trail

 

Plan Your Wine Tasting Tour of Santa Clara Valley Wineries

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.

  • Lodging: Gilroy has plenty of choices for lodging, so check our listings of Hotels and RV Parks and Campgrounds to choose the best option for you and your traveling companions. Many wineries in Gilroy are dog-friendly; if you are bringing a four-footed friend along, you’ll find plenty of Dog-Friendly Places to Stay in Gilroy.
  • Wine Passes: Be sure to stop in at the California Welcome Center Gilroy (conveniently located in Gilroy Premium Outlets) to purchase a Santa Clara Valley Wineries Wine Trail Pass and pick up complimentary winery maps, brochures, and coupons to the local wineries. We cannot wait to welcome you to Gilroy and will be happy to guide you to some of the best wineries in California along the Santa Clara Valley Wine Trail.

  • Restaurants: If you are staying a while, you will need some good nourishment between wine tastings. You’ll find fantastic restaurants and cafes along the Road to Garlic and the Gilroy Taco Trail; or check out the complete listing of all dining options on our Restaurants web page. We also have printed copies of all maps and guides at the California Welcome Center Gilroy.

 

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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