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Surf City University

Learn more about wine from the master winemakers of the Surf City Vintners.

This group of vintners has over 150 years of winemaking experience!
Take the opportunity to learn from their passion and knowledge.
And get your diploma in sip-ology!

All classes are held Sundays, 12:00-2:00 at the instructor winemaker’s tasting room/winery.
Classes can be taken individually or as a series. All classes include wine tasting.



Individual classes are $30 each; $25 for wine club members of any of the Surf City wineries.
Those signing up for all five classes will receive a tasting card to all Surf City wineries valued at $60.

To Register:

Register at any of the Surf City tasting rooms, call 831-435-3000, or fax the Registration Form to 831-325-0425.

For more information and details:

Call 408-353-2278, or email


Class Schedule

See full course descriptions and details below.

Date Class Instructor Location
March 13 Wine Tasting 101 Michael Sones Sones Cellars
March 20 Sparkling Wine Barry Jackson Equinox Champagne Cellars
April 3 Burgundian Varieties Jerold O’Brien Silver Mountain Tasting Room
April 17 Iberian Varieties Jeff Emery Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard
May 22 Rhone Varieties Jimmie Moore Bonny Doon Vineyard

March 13: Wine Tasting 101
with Michael Sones, Sones Cellars
12:00-2:00, at Sones Cellars

Sones Cellars
412 Swift Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
phone: 831-420-1552

Learn the basics of tasting and evaluating wines. There will be a brief discussion of the five senses related to the appreciation of wine, as well as the human experience of flavor. Taste samples of acidity, bitterness and astringency. Learn how to identify tannins, oak, fruit and where all those funny wine terms come from. Begin to develop an appreciation of your own wine style. A number of different wines and styles will be sampled during the class.

About Michael Sones: Michael has over 15 years experience making wine in the Santa Cruz Mountains. He made a mid-life career change from cruise ship photography in 1993, attending UC Davis to follow his already-developed love of wine. His first job out of UC Davis was at Ridge Vineyards in Cupertino, followed by Bonny Doon Vineyards in Santa Cruz and David Bruce Winery in the Santa Cruz Mountains. He is currently the Winemaker at Bargetto Winery in Soquel, as well as the Owner/Winemaker, along with his wife, Lois, of Sones Cellars on the west side in Santa Cruz. He enjoys the seasonality of the winemaking year and working with the incredible grapes grown in our local area.


March 20: Sparkling Wine
with Barry Jackson, Equinox Champagne Cellar/Bartolo
12:00-2:00, at Equinox Champagne Cellar

Equinox Champagne Cellar
427 Swift St.
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
phone: 831-423-3000

Learn about the production of sparkling wine and taste different sparkling wine styles. This course will cover:

About Barry Jackson: Barry has been making wine since 1979, when he started with Paul Masson. He started his Equinox label for sparkling wine in 1989 with the first vintage harvested from Trout Gulch Vineyard. Five days later the Loma Prieta earthquake struck and more than half of the fermenting juice was lost. What remained was released in 1993, and we have enjoyed sparkling wines from Equinox ever since.

The tradition of champagne production in the Santa Cruz Mountains extends back in time to the last quarter of the 19th century with Paul Masson winning awards in Europe for his "Eye of the Partridge" (Oeil de Perdrix) champagne. That tradition was carried on by Martin Ray through the middle of the 20th century until his death in 1976. The flame of champagne was re-kindled in 1989 by EQUINOX and by Michael Martella at Thomas Fogarty Winery. Other wineries have followed suit as the tradition extends into the 21st century.


April 3: Burgundian Varieties
Part I: Pinot Noir, Old & New Worlds
with Jerold O'Brien, Silver Mountain
12:00-2:00, at Silver Mountain's Tasting Room on Ingalls St.

Silver Mountain’s Tasting Room
402 Ingalls St., Ste. 29
Santa Cruz 95060
phone: 831-466-0559

This class will focus on Pinot Noir (old and new world); Chardonnay may be offered in a later class series.

Jerold O’Brien has travelled the world as a military pilot and brings to this course his firsthand knowledge of Burgundy (the region and the wine!), and 40 years experience as a winemaker. You will have the opportunity to hear his stories and learn about:

You will taste six different Pinot Noirs and Burgundies, comparing California regional differences, French Burgundies, and an aged Pinot.

About Jerold O'Brien: Jerold has been making wine for over 30 years. As a military pilot he travelled the world and had the opportunity to learn about wine and terroir. He decided the Santa Cruz Mountains was the place to be, and upon acquiring an abandoned orchard he founded Silver Mountain in 1979. The vineyard has been certified organic by the CCOF since 1989, and grows Chardonnay (Mt. Eden clone), Pinot Noir (Swann clone), and Merlot. At 2100’ elevation, the site produces distinctive mountain winegrapes and offers spectacular views over the forests to Monterey Bay. The Surf City tasting room in Santa Cruz was opened late in 2009. Silver Mountain is a leader in organic and sustainable vineyard and winery practices, with the largest solar array in the Santa Cruz Mountains, part of the ‘Triple Green Canopy’ at the winery.


April 17: Iberian Varieties
with Jeff Emery, Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard / Quinta Cruz
12:00-2:00, at Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard / Quinta Cruz

Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard /
Quinta Cruz
334–A Ingalls Street
Santa Cruz 95060
phone: 831-42-6209

Taste the exciting and exotic grape varieties that come from Portugal and Spain. These remarkably under-known wines have tastes and aromas that are a distinct departure from other European-based varietals.

In this class we will learn about many of these grape varieties and also compare Old World & New World wines of the same grape variety. Taste and learn about:

Side-by-side comparisons:

About Jeff Emery: Jeff is Winemaker / Proprietor of Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard. Jeff has been making wine for Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard for 32 years. In 2006 he launched a sister brand, Quinta Cruz, dedicated exclusively to featuring grape varieties originating from Portugal and Spain that are now grown in California. It is the first, and so far only, brand in the U.S. to feature all Iberian varieties.


May 22: Rhone Varieties
with Jimmie Moore, Bonny Doon Vineyard
12:00-2:00, at Bonny Doon Vineyard

Bonny Doon Vineyard
328 Ingalls St.
Santa Cruz 95060
phone: 831-425-4518

Learn about the amazing blending styles of the Rhone valley through a Rhone Ranger's eyes and taste elusive Rhone varietals like Cinsault, Mourvèdre, Carignane and others. Enjoy this excursion into Old World wines made from California grapes, beautifully paired with artisanal cuisine from Bonny Doon's dining room. Instructor: Jimmie Moore, Bonny Doon Vineyard.