Quick Take:

With more than 35 wineries participating, the Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association’s passport program has returned from its COVID layoff. A $90 investment gets holders complimentary tastings and other perks, and kickoff events are happening Saturday at Chaminade and elsewhere.

This story was originally featured in this week’s Lily Belli on Food newsletter. Be first the first to hear about food and drink news in Santa Cruz County — sign up for Lily’s email newsletter here and text alerts here.

After a pause due to COVID-19, the Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association has relaunched its popular passport program for 2023. The passport, which costs $90, gives holders access to complimentary tastings at participating wineries and the opportunity to join exclusive events throughout the year.

The association is hosting a Passport Celebration on Saturday, with a kickoff event at Chaminade Resort and Spa featuring Aptos Vineyards’ wines and samplings of other local vintages. Passports will be available for sale on site.

Other events being held that day as part of celebration include:

  • Live music and specials on wine for passport holders at Burrell School Vineyards & Winery.
  • Live music at Cooper-Garrod Vineyards at Garrod Farms.
  • A “bottle your own wine” event from 1 to 3:30 p.m. at La Honda Winery.
  • The chance to sample barrel tastings of the 2022 chardonnay future at Villa del Monte Winery.

“We are excited to be relaunching due to the overwhelming consumer popularity,” said Keiki McKay, executive director of the Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association. “Passport is the ultimate way to explore the wineries in our geographically large region, providing access to over 35 participating wineries any day a participating winery is open.”

In the past, the association has issued over 1,000 passports annually. Passports are valid for one year.

Jessica M. Pasko has been writing professionally for almost two decades.She cut her teeth in journalism as a reporter for the Associated Press in her native Albany, NY, where she covered everything from...