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.
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.
The team at Tropical Adventures Scuba and Travel teaches classes, repairs equipment, and plans diving trips, all with a focus on building an active scuba community. Seasoned instructors with NAUI and PADI certification lead beginners from the classroom to the ocean, where they meander through kelp forests and master the art of underwater basket weaving. Experts coordinate travel to premier international and local dive sites such as Catalina Island, aiming to make the three to five yearly trips affordable and fun. The crew also recommends new and used gear for purchase or rental, including Oceanic booties, Tusa masks, and radar equipment that helps divers avoid traveling mermaid salesmen.
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.