Why drive all the way to Napa, when you can drive fifteen minutes up into the Santa Cruz Mountains and find some great wineries right here in the South Bay? On a whim one Saturday afternoon, Hitesh and I decided to go wine tasting and made a quick trip to David Bruce Winery. David Bruce is a small winery that specializes in a hand full of wines – mostly Pinot Noir, some Chardonnay, and Sangiovese. In a secluded location off Bear Creek Road in the Santa Cruz Mountains, David Bruce is a low-key winery that has solid good wine.
The drive to David Bruce is gorgeous. Any drive on Hwy 17 is beautiful, but this drive is especially gorgeous. You pass Lexington reservoir on Hwy 17 South before exiting Bear Creek Road to get to David Bruce Winery. This year Lexington Reservoir is looking great, full of water thanks to all the recent rains.
The winding road that leads to David Bruce Winery is not for the faint of heart. I kid you not, it’s a winding road, but so worth it. The scenery on this road is spectacular. You can stop off the road at vista points to check out the surrounding area. You can see the hills and mountains and reservoirs, and even the ocean. There is something majestic about mountains that makes us pause and appreciate their grandeur.
This poem by naturalist John Muir titled The Mountains of California is the best way to describe the feeling you get when you stand and look out at the Santa Cruz mountains and beyond from Bear Creek Road.
The Mountains of California by John Muir
Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.
Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.
The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.
All the vegetation on this road is tall and stately. You drive through Redwoods and pass through roads with beautiful homes that dot the hills here and there. In addition to Redwoods there are huge Oak trees that line both sides of the road.
On a clear day you can see as far as the city of Santa Cruz and the Monterey Peninsula. You can even see a sliver of the Pacific Ocean beyond. The picture you experience here is humbling, beautiful, and serene.
On the way back from the winery we came upon a sign on Bear Creek Road that read CamelHill Vineyards. We thought it was a winery and we could do one more wine tasting. But as it turns out it is a vineyard not a winery. Big difference! This was a vineyard of grape vines. No winery for wine tasting here. As we made a u-turn on this dirt road we came upon a stable – and guess what? There were camels here! As this was private property, and we weren’t supposed to be here in the first place, I couldn’t get too close to see the camels. But I did use my zoom on my phone to take a shot of those camels!
A visit to David Bruce doesn’t require much time. It’s an hour and a half to two hours at the most to drive to David Bruce, do their wine tasting, stop off the road to check out the scenery, and be back in time for tea.
If you want a wine tasting experience along with spectacular scenery off Hwy 17 and the Santa Cruz Mountains, I highly recommend checking out David Bruce Winery. Take your out of town visitors for an afternoon of wine tasting and beauty in nature; or just go as a family to enjoy the drive. David Bruce Winery