On the very day Prohibition ended, Philip and John Bargetto fulfilled their Italian immigrant father's dream and opened Bargetto Winery in the Santa Cruz Mountains. This past year, a third Bargetto family generation celebrated the winery's 75th anniversary. Bargetto now stands proudly along the banks of the Soquel River as the most historic winery in the region, producing distinctive wines that are sold through local retailers, restaurants, some select national markets, two tasting rooms, and three Bargetto wine clubs.
One reason Bargetto wines are so popular lies in the land. The rugged terrain of the Santa Cruz Mountains is hard to navigate, but known for its shallow, well-drained soils and cool, marine-influenced temperatures. Bargetto Winery grows many of its grapes about 15 miles east of the winery itself, in Regan Estate Vineyards, located in the Corralitos area of southern Santa Cruz County. The 50-acre site sits atop a sun-loving knoll where it is touched by the cool breezes of Monterey Bay, which on a clear day, glimmers in the distance. Wines grown in Regan Estate Vineyards tend to be rich in flavor and have good acidity, which is important for aging. Six wines in Bargetto Winery's current portfolio come from Regan: Pinot Grigio, Regan Vineyards Chardonnay, Regan Vineyards Pinot Noir, Regan Vineyards Merlot, Reserve Santa Cruz Mountains Merlot, and LA VITA.
In keeping with the Bargetto family heritage, LA VITA (meaning "the life") celebrates northern Italy with this intriguing blend of Dolcetto, Nebbiolo, and Refosco. With each year's vintage, a unique label is released, creating an art series for wine and art enthusiasts alike. According to Vice President and Director of Winemaking John Bargetto, "LA VITA wine is our finest effort in winemaking. Each year, the wine gets richer and more complex." And each year, part of the proceeds from the sale of LA VITA goes back to the Santa Cruz community in the form of a donation to a Santa Cruz County nonprofit organization. Each spring, the winery puts on a festive release party, where the new LA VITA label is revealed, and the beneficiary is announced.
The spotlight may often rest on LA VITA, but the other wines in Bargetto's portfolio have earned glowing accolades as well. In fact, the winery's past eight vintages of Pinot Grigio have all garnered at least one gold medal, in a variety of esteemed competitions. Beyond Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Zinfandel, and LA VITA, the winery produces a line of dessert wines under its CHAUCER's label.
These award-winning wines are poured in two tasting rooms. One is located at the historic creek-side winery in Soquel, a charming venue for tours, tastings, and a variety of events and weddings. The second can be found in Monterey's popular oceanfront shopping and entertainment destination, Cannery Row.
Bargetto Winery has seen a lot of changes since it began more than 75 years ago. But the winery is still, owned, operated, and loved by the Bargetto family and a group of dedicated employees who believe in producing the finest wines in the Santa Cruz Mountains.