Traveling through the Santa Cruz Mountains isn’t done by accident, it’s done by design. This is lofty wine country at its best, and it’s where you’ll discover all that Byington Vineyard & Winery has to offer. Besides their world-class wine, your search and discovery will reveal spectacular views, invigorating mountain air, and a winery destined to delight all of your senses.
In 1987, proprietors Bill and Mary Byington initially purchased their 95 mountainous acres to create a family retreat. It didn’t take Bill long before he planted eight acres of Pinot Noir, at the southernmost tip of this very rugged terrain. These grapes were destined to prove what grape growers know about mountain-grown fruit; that it’s best suited for crafting deliciously expressive wines. Just think about wild, native Maine blueberries that you find along the Maine coastline. As tiny as they are, they’re extremely flavorful and a delightful find. This is the same for grapes, and might now give you a bit more insight into why mountain grapes produce really succulent wines when well crafted.
Since their first harvest, the Byington grapes have implicitly proved that theory.
The Byingtons’ commitment to excellence didn’t end with grape growing, either. Once they discovered how great their grapes were, the next logical step was to experience the entire process “from vine to wine.” A winemaking facility had to be built, and they also had to find the best winemakers available, in order to begin their process of crafting superlative, world-class wines.
Although the winery was originally going to be the Byingtons’ home-away-from-home, this location segued into a gorgeous winery facility that we can all enjoy as an “escape clause” into the mountains. Don’t forget to bring your picnic lunch, because you’ll want to linger!
Winemaker Andrew Brenkwitz
A winery is only as good as its winemaker, no matter how grandiose the facility may appear to be. Years ago, the Byingtons’ found Andrew Brenkwitz, a Santa Cruz native, who attended Cal Poly. Early on in his life, Andrew knew that his destiny was to become a winemaker. In his attempt to find his perfect-fit winery, he didn’t stray outside of his own mountain-grown roots. Andrew appeared in Byington’s wine cellar during a harvest pump-over, and was handed a hose as he was being interviewed for an available job. “Hey, can you hold the hose?” was only the beginning for Andrew at Byington. It was such a natural fit that he’s worked his way though the system and years later “the rest is history.” Today, Andrew strives for excellence in all that he does to create the Byington signature wines, like Alliage, their classic Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Sauvignon with a small amount of Merlot.
Although Byington’s grapes are mountain-grown, Andrew strives for soft quality wines that are immediately approachable. He’s focused on bringing consistency to the Byington wines, and yet allowing each vintage to develop its own expression, because that’s the nature of grape growing. Each vintage brings nuances that also add to the flavors of every different variety.
With only a 10,000 case production each year, Andrew states, “I have an intimate knowledge of each wine that I craft, because it’s all so manageable. I know what’s inside of every barrel, and work to blend all the flavors when it’s time to decide what that year’s vintage is going to be. My mountain fruit is softer and more elegant, and it’s wonderful to be working with such expressive fruit. The quality of my experience at Byington is reflected in the quality of their wines. It’s important to me that we get back to the art of aging, and not have over expressive wine over-take the food aspects.”
From corporate events to wedding celebrations, Byington Vineyard & Winery offers a full range of available experiences.
A stunning wedding location, Byington offers a bride and groom the natural beauty of the Santa Cruz Mountains and a location where food, wine, and their guests can experience a wine country perfect union. Byington has a private bridal suite that takes one’s breath away. The wedding hill is placed at the highest position at the winery, overlooking Monterey Bay. Following the ceremony, guests are invited to the VIP suite, where hors d’oeuvres are served with Byington wines. Nineteenth century antiques accent this majestic room, which also serves as a winter wedding location. Dinner and dancing take place in the barrel room, which also has vineyard views.
All of the above quickly transforms into areas that serve a corporate event in grand style for team building, meetings, or any special occasion that your company might need or want. Contact the winery for full details at (408) 354-111, Ext. 212.
It’s the Byingtons’ dedication to a high-quality vine-to-wine experience that put Byington on the national radar screen for fine wines. And, as they continue with their original aspirations, it’s what continues to keep them well positioned. They’ve never wavered in their quest for making the best wines available. The only thing really lofty in their quest for high quality is their Santa Cruz Mountain location… In their quest for “only the best will do,” they’ve succeeded by deliberate and devoted design.