Richard Alfaro and his wife Mary Kay enjoy the fruits of their labor. After a satisfying career as the founders of a restaurant and the wholesale baking company known under their own name – Alfaro’s Micro Bakery – the couple shifted gears in 1997, acquiring an aging 75 acre apple farm south of Santa Cruz in Corralitos, California, which they subsequently transformed into Alfaro Family Vineyards & Winery. With 56 acres currently under vine, the most-recently planted 8 acres was CCOF Certified Organic in 2010.
The hillside vineyards are located less than 4 miles from the cooling influence of the Monterey Bay in the southern end of the Santa Cruz Mountains appellation.
The Alfaro Family farms five estate vineyards:
Lindsay Paige Vineyard is named after the Alfaro’s daughter. Planted in 1998, the vineyard covers a little more than 7 acres on a north west facing hillside between 550 and 650 feet elevation. It is planted to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
Alfaro Family Vineyard is the largest vineyard at just over 16 acres and was planted exclusively to Pinot Noir in 1999. Vine density is 1361 vines per acre. The vineyard is on a south facing hillside between 500 and 650 feet in elevation.
Ryan Spencer Vineyard, named after the Alfaro’s son, was planted in 2001. It is comprised of 7 acres broken into 6 different blocks on a very steep hill between 450 and 800 feet in elevation. Grandma & Grampa’s blocks are located on the lower part of the hill and are planted to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Billy K block is planted to one acre of Merlot. La Escalera is a terraced hillside block planted to Hermitage clones of Syrah. On the top of the hill is Mrs. K’s block, which is planted to Syrah.
Mary Katherine Vineyard stretches to the summit of the property, at 850 feet in elevation, on a steep terrace with an ocean view. The vineyard is evenly split between Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. This vineyard is named after vintner/winegrower Richard’s wife and best friend with whom he has been partners in crime with for 31 years.
La Playita Vineyard – Named for its sandy loam soil, La Playita Vineyard (“little beach” in Spanish) encompasses 1.25 acres. South facing and sitting at approximately 500’ elevation next to a seasonal stream, the vineyard is at the coolest spot on the Alfaro farm. When planted in 2008, there were only about 10 acres of Gruner Veltliner in all of California, and La Playita Vineyard was the first one that was CCOF Certified.Organic in the state.
‘A’ Estate Chardonnay
The grapes for this bottling come from the Grandma &
Grandpa’s blocks of the Ryan Spencer Vineyard, the Lindsay Paige Vineyard, the Howard Vineyard and the Trout Gulch Vineyard.
The Ryan Spencer and Lindsay Paige vineyards are located in Corralitos, at the southern end of the Santa Cruz Mountains Appellation less than 4 miles from the cooling influence of the Monterey Bay.
The Howard Family Vineyard and the Trout Gulch Vineyard are located in nearby Aptos.
The grapes were whole cluster pressed directly into French oak barrels for fermentation. Each barrel from that point on was treated individually. Using a variety of cultured and indigenous yeasts the wines were fermented to dryness. The barrels were then topped up and aged on their lees. During the aging process they were occasionally stirred and underwent complete malolactic fermentation. After 8 months of barrel age, the wines were racked, blended, settled and then bottled by gravity without fining or filtration. 1800 cases were produced.
Light straw in color. The intense flavors of pear, apple and white peach are followed by a hint of lemon curd and honeyed oak. Enjoy with with fish, shellfish, poultry, or serve as an aperitif.
Rosé of Pinot Noir
The grapes were de-stemmed and placed in tanks where the grapes’ own weight did the crushing. After 20 hours on their skins, the grapes were pressed and the juice was cold-fermented in stainless steel for 4 weeks. Next the wine was aged 4 months in both neutral oak and stainless steel. 193 cases were produced.
Delicate pink in color, dry in style, with the essence of fresh raspberries, watermelon, and strawberries on the palate. This rose is a light bodied wine that is wonderful by itself as an aperitif and pairs well with poultry, fish and most meats. Best served chilled.
50% Old Vine Zinfandel from Gimelli Vineyards, Cienega Valley. 29% Old Vine Carignane from Wirz Vineyard, Cienega Valley. 13% Old Vine Sangiovese from Gimelli Vineyards, Cienega Valley. 8% Syrah from Alfaro Family “Ryan Spencer” Estate Vineyard, Santa Cruz Mountains
80% of the grapes were de-stemmed and 20% were left as whole clusters. Then they were placed into small open-topped fermenters. The must was chilled to 50 degrees Fahrenheit and cold soaked for seven days. Fermentation occurred spontaneously. No punch downs were performed. To avoid over-extraction and to keep the cap moist during fermentation we performed rack-andreturns via gravity. After fermentation the wine was pressed off directly into French oak barrels where it was allowed to undergo a natural malo-lactic fermentation. It was then aged for 17 months in 20% new French and American oak, and bottled unfined and unfiltered. 400 cases were produced.
Deep, dark purple in color, medium in body. Bright cherry, raspberry and mocha notes on the nose, with abundant baked dark fruit, stewed tomatoes, and hints of cinnamon and pepper on the palate. This wine has well-integrated tannins and is fresh and lively on the tongue, with a zesty, vivid acidity. Try it with sharp cheeses, beef, pork, sausage, meatballs, pizza and tomato sauces.
Trout Gulch Vineyard Estate Pinot Noir
Established in 1980, this dry-farmed vineyard is nestled in the Santa Cruz Mountains near the coastal town of Aptos. Its proximity to the sea assures the grapes receive the cooling influence of the Monterey Bay, which is so desirable when crafting this premium wine.
Harvested on September 13, 30 & October 4; 80% of the grapes were de-stemmed and 20% were left as whole clusters. They were placed into small open-topped fermenters; the must was chilled to 50 degrees Fahrenheit and cold soaked for five days. Fermentation occurred spontaneously. No punch downs were performed. To avoid over-extraction and to keep the cap moist during fermentation we performed rackand- returns via gravity. After fermentation the wine was pressed off directly into French oak barrels where it was allowed to undergo a natural malo-lactic fermentation. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. 20 barrels were produced.
Alfaro Trout Gulch Vineyard Pinot Noir is ruby in color with floral aromas and flavors of cherries, raspberries and strawberries. It has a silky texture with mild tannins and bright acidity. A most versatile wine, it pairs well with salmon, chicken, game birds, most meats, and mushroom dishes.