My recent trip to Northern California was the perfect escape from the Arizona heat. While in California, we wanted to explore some wineries but going to Napa Valley was just too far from where we were staying. I was happy to find Testarossa Winery which is truly a hidden treat in downtown Los Gatos, California.
A Little History of the Winery
In 1888, Jesuit Fathers and Brothers of Santa Clara University built the Novitiate Winery to fund their seminary college. And it was interesting to learn that during prohibition, they were one of only a few wineries to stay open because they made altar wine. Flash forward to 1986, they decided to shut down the novitiate winery and would lease the property to winemakers. Then in 1997, Rob and Diana Jenson moved their home production to the Notviaitae. The Jensens started Testarossa in their garage in 1993 with only 25 cases of wine.
The Winery Tour
If you know me at all, you know I love wine! I especially love Chardonnay and 40% of Testarossa’s production is Chardonnay! But I can admit I don’t know a whole lot about the winemaking process. Back in college, I took a bar and beverage class when I was 19 and learned all about wine, beer, and spirits. Since I wasn’t old enough to drink a lot of the information went over my head. Taking this guided tour of Testarossa’s wine cellars brought back so much of what I learned in college and more! The tour takes you from the grapevine, all the way through their on-site bottling center. We even got to enjoy a bottle of chardonnay throughout the tour of the property. The tour takes about an hour from start to finish (maybe a little less since I was taking a lot of photos). Once we finished the tour, we started the wine tasting!
The Wine Tasting
Once we finished the winery tour, we did the wine tasting in the members-only club which was a covered balcony with twinkle lights that overlooked the green scenery. We tried five wines: 2 Chardonnays and 3 Pinot Noirs. We also had the five-cheese plate and the fruit plate which paired nicely with the wines we tasted. The overall experience was outstanding! Like I mentioned before, I don’t know a lot about wine but our server explained each wine to us which made everyone feel comfortable with the tasting. There was also a live band playing downstairs which created a great atmosphere to relax and enjoy great wines. If you are in Northern California, Testarossa is a must see.
Fun Fact: Testarossa means “red head” in Italian!
Photography by Jordan Hibbs Photography
Disclaimer – I did receive a free wine tasting in exchange for a review but I express all my own opinions in this blog.