As part of our trip to Gilroy in July, we did a fair amount of wine tasting and made a few really nice discoveries. All of the wines that we tried are local to the area, either in Gilroy, Morgan Hill or on the coast in Monterey or Santa Cruz. Many of the wineries in this area are small, so their products don't appear in many stores. They also don't get nearly the "play" that the wineries from the Napa Valley do. It's a shame, because some of these could easily rival their more famous cousins.
Sadly, I can't recall the specific wines (that's my SO's job), but I can mention a few of the wineries. The first is Guglielmo, which is a small family-run winery in Morgan Hill (halfway between Gilroy and San Jose.) We tasted their wines at the Gilroy Garlic Festival wine tent, so we didn't visit the winery on this trip. One of our goals for the trip was to find a decent California Pinot Grigio and we found several, including the one from Gugliemo.
We went back to Guglielmo on our longer vacation and did a more thorough tasting at the winery. We came away with some port that I'm really looking forward to. They also have a couple of very nice sparkling wines. Anyone planning a wedding would do well to look at the Extra Dry -- it's very good and the winery price is $7.95/bottle, which is pretty reasonable and it's far superior to the cheap swill that so often is served.
Another winery is Bargetto. We visited their tasting room in Monterey and there we found another good Pinot Grigio, a Viognier, a Syrah and another good Port. They also carry Chaucer's Mead and we got some of that as well. I brew mead myself and wanted some commercial ones to compare with.
All in all, it was a very productive trip. I strongly suggest that if you like wines, you try some of these small wineries.
By the way, the Governator has declared September 2006 to be California Wine Month.