Inside Byington Vineyards
In 1958, Bill and Mary Byington, purchased 95 acres (0.38 km2) surrounded by redwood forests as a family retreat. In the early 1970s, a well-known Santa Cruz Mountains winemaker approached the family, wanting to lease a portion of their land for vineyards. Almost 20 years after leaving his family farm in Idaho, Bill planted nine acres (36,000 m2) of Pinot Noir on the southernmost tip of the rugged Santa Cruz Mountains terrain. Byington Vineyard & Winery was established with its vintage 1987 release.
In 2013, the Byingtons sold the winery to Benny Madsen, who has continued employing Andrew Brenkwitz as the current winemaker. Martin Hoellrigl was hired in 2014 as General Manager/COO of the winery.
In 2015 an additional Vineyard about an hour north of Sonoma has been purchased and added to the portfolio of owned vineyards. At the over 200 acre large property, highest quality Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Chardonnay are planted. This quadruples Byington’s wine production to over twelve thousand cases.
Byington crafts elegant and distinctive Santa Cruz Mountain appellation Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. Production also includes varietals from the best of California’s wine growing regions including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties.
David Bruce Winery
David Bruce Winery
David Bruce Winery was founded during the revival of the Santa Cruz Mountain wine industry between the 1950s and 1970s. Bruce selected his vineyard site because of its proximity to Martin Ray and with the belief that the high elevation and mesoclimate of the area would be well suited for growing the Burgundian wine grapes of Pinot noir and Chardonnay.
In 1975, British wine merchant Steven Spurrier selected 1973 bottling of David Bruce Chardonnay for his 1976 Paris tasting that would put Californian Chardonnays and Cabernet Sauvignon against their French counterparts from Burgundy and Bordeaux, respectively. While the overall Chardonnay category was won by a Californian wine from Napa Valley, the 1973 David Bruce Chardonnay placed last of the 10 Chardonnays being tasted.
The winery is a California Historical Landmark (#733) and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Masson originally worked for Charles Lefranc, one of a number of French immigrants who had expanded the viticulture introduced into the Santa Clara Valley by the Catholic mission fathers. After Lefranc’s death in 1887, Masson had a short-lived partnership with Lefranc’s son Henry. Masson bought out Henry’s share in the Almaden Vineyards and in 1892 Masson’s first sparkling wine was introduced at Almaden, and he eventually became known as the “Champagne King of California.”
Masson purchased the Saratoga property in 1901. He later centered his sparkling wine production here in Saratoga while other wines were developed at the Almaden operation.
In 1905, on a knoll above the winery, Masson built his house, dubbed “The Chateau,” where he developed a reputation as an unrivaled host. His wife Louise Masson was a prohibitionist and did not attend the lavish dinner parties held at The Chateau. Masson was able to weather the strains Prohibition placed on the wine industry by selling grapes to the wholesale market and by receiving a special dispensation to sell sacramental wines.
The sandstone winery was rebuilt after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, making use of sandstone blocks from the Saratoga Wine Company’s building on Big Basin Way, also destroyed in the great quake. At this same time the ancient entrance portal from St. Patrick’s Church in San Jose, which was also destroyed in the quake, was added to the structure.