One of the reasons we chose the Santa Cruz Mountains as the center of Sandar & Hem’s work is the long, rich history attached to the region. While Napa and Sonoma may be foremost in many people’s minds as California’s leading winegrowing regions, the Santa Cruz Mountains’ winegrowing history is every bit as old and integral to the story of California Wine.
The first vines planted here were put into the ground by Catholic missionaries in the first decade of the 19th century. In the later part of the 1800s, loggers cleared huge amounts of land in the mountains, providing for the plantation of significant acreage to commercial vineyards and the boom of various European immigrant populations fueled an interest in the first plantings of major European varieties.
One of the first major operations, Ben Lomond Wine Co., managed by William Cooper won a swath of medals for his wines at World Fairs throughout the 1890s and early 1900s. Paul Masson established his sparkling wine operations as well. As with much of the wine industry in the early 20th century, the Santa Cruz Mountains suffered from overproduction, followed by Prohibition and both World Wars on either side, until a rebirth in the 1950s…
We’re so thrilled to be working in a wine region with such a rich tapestry of history and exploration. We like to think we’re contributing to the next chapter of this development, through our careful management of our vineyard sites. We work to make wines as expressive as possible of their special corner of the Santa Cruz Mountains.