At 2,600 feet up in the Santa Cruz Mountains, one might expect to find sprawling views of the ocean and surrounding forest and not flourishing vineyards. Yet there are more than 70 wineries dappling the hills at various altitudes, privy to the dewy, cooling breezes of the sea and the richness of the rocky soil. The San Francisco Chronicle speaks to their scattered presence, deeming them "less a cohesive wine region than a patchwork of vineyards." Still, this characteristic isolation has resulted in "a perfect laboratory for winemaking not held hostage to fashion"—no one style dominates in this rustic setting.
Pinot noirs and chardonnays populate the western front, and the east yields cabernets, merlots, and zinfandels. The majority of the vineyards are small and family owned—a fact reflected in their meticulously bottled libations and the matching sweaters of their holiday photos—but though they exist in chosen hermitage, many of them welcome visitors to their scenic sites. They host weddings, festivals, and open events such as Pathway to Pinot Paradise, a self-guided tour of the pinot noir hotspots.
Toque Blanche supplies home chefs with a selection of fine cookware for fashioning domestic delectations, earning it the best kitchenware title on the 2010 San Francisco Baylist. Cuisine artists can kit out kitchens with clay La Chamba pans, made of mica-infused black clay that absorbs and diffuses heat (starting at $19.95). Mandolin slicers from Kuhn-Rikon ($19.99) cut veggies into perfectly sliced 1/8-inch pieces and keeps fingers intact. Gadget collectors can evade metric-system mind games with a stainless-steel, seven-piece measuring-cup set from RSVP ($32.99), and opt for an ovenproof meat thermometer from CDN ($10.99) to monitor the fevers of fire spirits.
The Futon Shop specializes in organic convertibles. They pull this off with 100% chemical-free mattresses stuffed with USDA-certified organic cotton, pure Dunlop natural latex, and soy-based foam. Best of all, all mattress, including their memory foams and gels are handmade in San Francisco, cutting down on The Futon Shop's carbon footprint by eliminating lengthy shipping journeys.
Since 1997, the owners of Naturally Organic Sleep have been stocking their store with chemical-free organic mattresses and bedroom accessories. The store features the full collections of the Natura, Nature’s Sleep, and Magniflex organic lines both in their showroom and in their online store. In addition to being sustainable and environmentally friendly, their products allow customers to sleep better knowing they are not exposed to chemicals or forced to count genetically modified sheep.