South County public officials and business people want everyone to know that Santa Clara Valley is a premier international wine region.
The Wineries of Santa Clara Valley, Santa Clara County, cities of Morgan Hill and Gilroy and both cities’ chambers of commerce hailed the newly labeled Santa Clara Valley Wine Trail as a victory for tourism and the business community as a whole at a grand opening ceremony Aug. 22.
“The wineries here are internationally award winning wineries,” said Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors President Mike Wasserman, who represents South County on the board.
“Our wineries are one of the best kept secrets in the South Bay, but it won’t be a secret much longer,” Wasserman continued. “There is no need for anyone to go outside of Santa Clara County if you want to enjoy wine.”
The ceremony was held at Guglielmo Winery in east Morgan Hill, and was attended by about 50 representatives of the different organizations that organized the Wine Trail and members of the media.
The SCV Wine Trail is a “collaborative effort” by the public and private sector to install permanent wayfinding signs on the shoulders of county roads directing motorists to the more than 20 wineries and vineyards in the WSCV association, according to WSCV President and Guglielmo Marketing Director Greg Richtarek.
At Friday’s press conference, Richtarek specifically called out Morgan Hill resident Jon Hatakeyama and Morgan Hill Cellars winery owner Mike Sampognaro for coming up with the Wine Trail idea.
Earlier this year, the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to sanction the Wine Trail with more than 70 signs pointing wine tasting visitors and residents along the route that extends from north Morgan Hill through San Martin to south Gilroy. This summer, the county’s roads and airports department began installing the signs.
“Many other wine regions already enjoy the significant boost in tourism enhanced by a clear, attractive signage,” Richtarek added. “It’s gratifying to have long overdue and proper recognition for the Santa Clara Valley.”
Gilroy Mayor Don Gage quipped at the press conference, “If you aren’t living down in South County, you’re suffering.”
The ribbon cutting ceremony kicked off a Wine Trail Celebration Weekend, Aug. 23 and Aug. 24, with barrel tastings, barbecues, winery tours, special discounts and music at wineries along the Wine Trail.
Guglielmo Winery, which was founded in 1925, is the oldest continuously family owned and operated winery in the region. Guglielmo brothers Gene, George and Gary shared this history and offered tours at the Aug. 22 Wine Trail kickoff event.
Tickets for the weekend events are $40 each, and can be purchased at participating wineries and the Gilroy Welcome Center. For more information, go to www.santaclarawines.com.