Recommendations for wineries and/or tasting rooms in Santa Cruz and Monterrey?
Beauregard and Thomas Fogarty tasting rooms are open to the public. Kathyrn Kennedy, Sante Archangeli, and Ridge are all great wineries but call ahead first. Rhys is worth a mention for their quality Pinot Noirs but they are not open to the public for tasting. Santa Cruz is an awesome AVA!
Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyards & Quinta Cruz share a tasting room in Santa Cruz with some great wines. Bonny Doon focuses on Rhone varietals, which is in Davenport (just outside of Santa Cruz). The same winemaker from Bonny Doon has her new tasting room in Saratoga called Ser. That downtown strip is a good place to get a bite & a drink at the end of your tasting
The plan I would take for tasting in the Monterey Peninsula is to visit Carmel-by-the-sea. 1) 18+ tasting rooms that vary with AVA's from Santa Cruz, SLH, and Carmel Valley to name a few. 2) Quality-focused labels are a little higher here. Caraccioli, Silvestri, Wrath are just a few great options to taste from and most labels here focus on Pinot Noir for a majority of their holdings. 3) Hands down most beautiful city on the central coast. You've got about 2X7 miles of businesses and homes secluded to a forest village on a hill with a beautiful beach at the bottom of the hill. Have fun!
Storrs makes some very cool wines and has a tasting room in Santa Cruz proper (at least they used to).
Chalone is a bit of a drive, but well worth it, IMO and is situated in a spectacular location at the base of Pinnacles Monument, which is worth the trip regardless of the winery.
Soif is a very nice wine bar & shop in downtown SC. http://www.soifwine.com/
As Stephen mentioned, Ridge would be a must. I mean, Clothide Lafarge of Domaine Michel Lafarge just called it her favorite winery in Cali... now that is an endorsement! Also, i have not had the wines but i have heard a lot of great things about Ghostwriter.