1933 was a banner year for Phillip and John Bargetto. Prohibition finally ended, and the brothers were able to reopen their winery in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Originally from Piedmont, Italy, Phillip and John embraced their passion for growing northern-Italian varietals, twining their hillsides with vines of dolcetto, nebbiolo, and refosco grapes.
Now run by the Bargetto family's third generation, the winery continues to cultivate these same grapes as well as two of Santa Cruz's more well-known varietals, chardonnay and pinot noir. Its most heralded wines hail from the 40 acres of trellised vines at Regan Estate Vineyards, which produces balanced yet concentrated fruit thanks to its sunny hilltop location, loamy soil, and cool breezes from thousands of naturally occurring ceiling fans.
Controlled aging in new-French- or American-oak barrels imbues some of the winery's reds with lingering finishes and toasty sweetness, and stainless-steel barrels ensure that the whites retain their vibrant acidity. Although most of the wines display a more approachable style, the La Vita line embraces the family's Old-World routes, featuring complexly tannic and age-worthy blends of Phillip and John's favored dolcetto, nebbiolo, and refosco grapes.
As she twinkle-toed her way across stages in countries from France to Brazil to Japan, internationally lauded dance teacher and choreographer Joy Smith's moves have enraptured audiences in music videos, TV shows, and music tours. At her studio, Santa Cruz Dance Company, she strives to impart a similar passion for dance in students of all ages and abilities. She fosters an encouraging environment in which they can learn the steps and lay the foundations for a lifetime of fitness. Along with a team of instructors, she teaches budding performers the fundamental techniques of ballet, contemporary jazz, acrobatics, and musical theater. The instructors incorporate these techniques into choreographed dance pieces and help students learn to express themselves through the movements—a skill they can use to show their feelings about their favorite roller coaster being put to sleep.
She also calls on her years of dance experience to help whip adults into shape during Zumba classes, an effort which has earned her Good Times' award for Best Aerobic Instructor. As a master trainer, she fires up fitness dance parties with her easy-to-follow blend of aerobics and Latin dance. She takes her training a step further by certifying and licensing Zumba trainers throughout Northern California as a Zumba Education Specialist.
Fueled by an enthusiasm for wine and the visual beauty of the Santa Cruz Mountains, Wine d'Tours' owners Diana and Ken Sharma organize tasting tours that celebrate local viticulture. During shared tours, groups accompany docents to three wineries located in Santa Cruz and the surrounding areas. The full-bodied flavors of cabernet and merlot dance across palates while guides reveal the details of wine production at vineyards such as Bargetto Winery, Soquel Vineyard, and MJA Vineyards. Tour groups comprise anywhere from 6–15 visitors, and each day's tour peruses different wineries, allowing avid explorers to revisit the tour for an experience as distinctive as the finish of a vintage Fanta grape.
When Forest Roberts was 9 years old, he built a boat in his backyard with money saved from his paper route. Since 1989, Roberts has participated more officially in the maritime industry, working water-related jobs from commercial diving to boat building—and often living aboard boats—before opening his sailing-charter company in 2006. Today, California Classic Sail operates from Santa Cruz on the shores of Monterey Bay, earning praises from previous passengers and a Santa Cruz Sentinel feature story.
Roberts’s background in the building industry helped him recognize the superb craftsmanship in his current yacht, Sarah. The builder, William Garvie—who named the vessel after his granddaughter—constructed the 52-foot-long boat based on a line drawing published in an early 20th-century yachting-magazine spread. Made of wood instead of the fiberglass many modern boats are made of, its vintage style and wood hull set it apart from other Santa Cruz charter vessels. Dubbed a “Sharpie” for its long, narrow shape, rather than an ability to leave permanent wakes, the graceful yacht zips through the bay waters on chartered trips for groups of up to six. Passengers can relax onboard as Roberts steers, or choose to learn basic sailing maneuvers through hands-on instruction. Roberts can also tailor trips to special occasions such as engagements and birthdays, and can sail during many times of day, including more-scenic mornings and sunsets.
Local coach Bob Kittle is both a fixture and good omen in Santa Cruz baseball. He nabbed the position of head coach at Cabrillo College after a 13-year stint at Santa Cruz High School, where he passed 47 players—12 of whom carried Division I scholarships—on to four-year schools. After seven Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League title wins and a community effort that saw Bill Dodge Field built, he now guides college players toward burgeoning baseball careers. He prefers to focus on the willpower behind the sport, telling the Santa Cruz Sentinel that "winning and success will take care of itself" when his students are devoted.
Bob runs the Santa Cruz Baseball School as a year-round venue for players to hone their on-the-field skills. Through the nonprofit organization, he coaches kids with private lessons, high-school leagues, and recruiting tips to impress colleges, such as how to tell the difference between a diamond and a parallelogram. The school's summer camps engage 7- to 14-year-olds with game-play drills and speed-boosting techniques. Past instructors include Neil Walton of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and Lauren Gagnier of the Detroit Tigers.
Capitola Surf and Paddle sends adventurists of all ages out along the coast of Capitola Village, an intimate area known for its family-friendly beaches, shops, and restaurants. The business provides both private and group paddleboarding lessons, during which seasoned standup paddleboarders share the tricks of the trade while teaching fundamental techniques. Whether taking a lesson or cruising across the tides, visitors enjoy scenic marine views and waters that, barring a whale mosh pit, usually remain pleasantly calm.