Delicious Wine, Welcoming Hosts and Bucolic Picnics Are Found an Hour South of Silicon Valley

By contrast, Geoff and Chantelle Mace, the owners of Calerrain Wines, greeted guests themselves on a recent Saturday at their tasting room in the middle of a tiny vineyard on the outskirts of Gilroy. Mr. Mace offered pours of a 2021 pinot noir from grapes grown in the Paicines area, about 35 miles away. Like many local winemakers, Mr. Mace procures grapes from growers in different regions and makes the wine himself. Perhaps it was the flowers that Mr. Mace said they recently planted, or maybe because the tasting room is behind the house where he and his wife live, but the experience reminded me of the rustic family-owned vineyards I have visited in southern Italy. About 10 miles away, the tasting room at Lightpost Winery in Morgan Hill can be found in a ho-hum office park. But what it lacks in pastoral ambience, it made up for in intellectual heft. There I met Sofia Fedotova, an electronics recycling entrepreneur who made money in tech before becoming a vintner. In 2018, she opened Lightpost and teamed with Christian Roguenant, who grew up in Burgundy and is Lightpost’s head winemaker. Lightpost planted a vineyard in Morgan Hill seven years ago but, for now, mostly gets its wine grapes from growers in the Santa Cruz, Monterey, San Luis Obispo, Russian River and Paso Robles regions. Ms. Fedotova poured me a taste of her favorite cabernet sauvignon. We talked about what to serve it with (she said steak, I suggested rack of lamb) and, for another 20 minutes, we discussed the area’s weather patterns, soil chemistry and the challenge of farming in today’s climate.