Wizard of Ahhhs

Deep in the Santa Cruz mountains, you have to search hard for a sign that says "Ahlgren." But…

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Deep in the Santa Cruz mountains, you have to search hard for a sign that says “Ahlgren.” But keep your eyes peeled, because that sign leads to Dexter and Valerie Ahlgren’s one-of-a-kind family home and winery. In the ’70s, the Ahlgrens ditched their day jobs in Silicon Valley and moved to the mountains to pursue their grape desires, making their house a haven for wine making and tasting. The man behind the curtain is Dexter, who buys their grapes from select vineyards and transforms them into really tasty wines. After welcoming you into their home, the couple serve free sips in their cellar, where you’re surrounded by barrels of aging wine. The Ahlgrens staunchly defend the honor of merlot; they also sell robust cabs and the little-known tre vini-rossi. Redwoods and barrels and wines–oh my!

Ahlgren Vineyard, 20320 Hwy. 9, 831-338-6071. Open Saturdays 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm. There are more than 50 wineries in the Santa Cruz region. More information.

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