Vintner John Schumacher at Hallcrest VineyardsBusiness Cover Economy 

Emergence: Opening Doors, Reopening Hearts, and Changing Hands in the Santa Cruz Mountains

By Mary Andersen and Julie Horner

Good news for mountain shops and restaurants! For now. At the end of June, Santa Cruz County Public Health Officer, Dr. Gail Newel, made two significant announcements that will impact the viability of local businesses: The reopening of beaches, and by extension, the return of tourists and the July 6 expiration of the Shelter-in-Place (SIP). With mobility restrictions lifted, businesses can decide the level to which they wish to open their doors to locals and visitors within the confines of the county’s modified requirements for customer and employee safety. SLV businesses have, for the most part, taken the various orders in stride or found ways to adapt thanks to a close-knit community intent on supporting local merchants. These new relaxed orders, however, come with the caveat that public health metrics must continue to be met or the threat of another shutdown will loom. In the meantime, new businesses are opening, our favorites are reopening, and some are boasting new ownership.

Hallcrest Vineyards

Hallcrest was established as a family retreat in Felton in 1880 by the Hall family. Chaffee Hall planted his first grapes in 1941 and bottled his first vintage five years later. At that time, there were only three wineries in the Santa Cruz Mountains; 40 years before the region was recognized as its own appellation. In 1987, John and Lorraine Schumacher bought the site and began bottling small lots of chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir, and syrah. In addition to its award winning wines, the Felton winery is renowned for its outside patio seating area with sweeping natural views.

In May, in the midst of the pandemic, the winery debuted their 2019 California Rosé Blend in crowlers and by the bottle. The Rose is a blend of sangiovese, carignane, valdiguié, and merlot grapes harvested in October 2019. “These reds were all crushed into 1 1/2 ton fermentors, using the saignee method. We bled off the juice of the rosé the following day from each fermentation and started a long, cold ferment process in the tank, blending each of the above four varietals as they were picked and crushed. After fermentation, we stirred up the settled yeast at the bottom of the tank known as a Sur-Lie  process. Allowing the resulting Rose’ blend to have greater texture and flavor along with the complex fruit aromas of the wine,” John said. A customer survey indicated that customers preferred the wine to be unfiltered, categorizing it as “RAW”, a trend on the rise in the industry.

John provided this description of the Rose:

Color: Beautiful pinkish soft hazy color that nicely refracts the light in the glass.

Nose: wafting strawberry, raspberry and rhubarb aromas along with hints of guava, grapefruit, and jasmine flower.

Mouth feel: cream soda, off dry, with soft texture of tannins along with the above fruits in the aroma, additional floral characters and fermentation bouquet.

The tasting room is open again with social distancing protocols in place at 379 Felton Empire Road. Visit Sunday, Monday, Thursday, Friday 11-5pm, Saturday 11-6pm. More at hallcrestvineyards.com.

A Leap of Faith: Boulder Creek Antiques at Mac’s Place

Glenda Mecredy has been buying and selling antiques and collectibles at Boulder Creek Antiques for almost 17 years. As of June 8th, Glenda and her friends Meg Aliano and Ali Norrbom became the new owners of the store with its famously recognizable “Mac’s 100 Year Old Place” painted in big letters across its historical facade. “We are beyond happy and can hardly wait to get back to business,” Mecredy said. New owners, new name, Boulder Creek Antiques at Mac’s Place celebrated its grand reopening on July 2, 2020.

“For the past two years we have been co-managers for the shop owner, Chris Flynn,” Mecredy said. “Our passion runs deep for the business.” Glenda has bought, sold, and collected since the 70s. “I had a shop in Ben Lomond called Petticoat Junktion in the late 70s, early 80s.” Glenda’s space in the Boulder Creek store is called “Glenda’s Corner.” Chris Flynn ran the business for 18 years, now she and her husband Bill are retiring. “When Chris was ready to let go,” Glenda said, “We took it on. It was a great leap of faith with the COVID shutdown.”

Business partner, Meg said, “I love every aspect of the business, from the thrill of hunting for the treasure, to the satisfaction of researching an item’s history, and then the pure joy of artfully displaying it. We make an effective team, as we bring different skills to the partnership and complement each other’s management styles.”

Partner Ali has been a dealer at Boulder Creek Antiques for 12 years “It was time to step up so that Chris could retire to focus on her Etsy shop. I’m so looking forward to our Grand Opening”

Visit the store at 13164 Highway 9 in Boulder Creek. 831-217-5060.

Felton Mercantile: A Collective of Local Handmade Goods

Cherme Wurtz opened the Felton Mercantile on Highway 9 earlier this year offering local art and handcrafted jewelry, candles, and herbal apothecary goods. When the county received SIP orders, Cherme quickly switched gears to offer handmade protective masks, botanical super-healer soap, handmade herbal sanitizers, and other quarantine care packages, which were mailed, personally delivered, or available for curbside pickup. The turning point came Mother’s Day when tourists began to return and in-person restrictions were eased, allowing  distance shopping. “We embrace the makers and artists in the community. And we have a zero-waste bulk refill station for shampoo, conditioner, soap, lotions, bath salt, tea, and hand sanitizer,” she said. 

The Felton Mercantile sells on Instagram @feltonmercantile, and there is a Shopify store for her handcrafted CBD goods at ccapothecary.com. Visit The Felton Mercantile at 6257 Highway 9 and online at feltonmercantile.com. 831-600-5529. A Grand Opening is in the works.

Hands in the Creative: Boulder Creek Native Fulfills Local Need for Needful Things

With a degree in Fashion Design and creative roots in the garment industry, Wendy Manley has just signed the lease on her next chapter. Color Wheel Art and Craft Supply will open its doors this summer in the space artfully occupied for 40 years by Blind Pilot Jewelers in downtown Boulder Creek.

“People are staying home and need something to do with their hands. Sure, everybody can order online, but otherwise they have to go over the hill or to Santa Cruz to find art supplies,” Manley said. She plans to stock high quality paints, paper, canvas, pens, brushes, fabric, yarn, and sewing and knitting supplies.

“Knowing that this is an artist community, the original idea was to be a local source for artist supplies and crafts for kids and families.” Pleasantly surprised by resounding community feedback and looking at having a larger sewing section than originally thought, she plans to expand initial offerings to include yarn, knitting, and embroidery materials. “Embroidery is kind of a thing right now,” she says. “I’m going to try to focus on natural materials from local sources.” 

“I am still working at my accounting job from home.” Before the pandemic, she used to commute to Watsonville every day, something she didn’t want to do anymore at this point in her life. “I can do this business that I love, and still continue to do my “day job” until I don’t have to anymore. It’s just a great relief to step away from the grind. I want to keep my hands in the creative world, providing something that’s needed, that will work for everybody. That’s what it’s about. I’m really looking forward to being part of the community.”

Color Wheel Art and Craft Supply is located at 13120 Highway 9, Boulder Creek. colorwheelllc@gmail.com.

Hallcrest Vineyards, The Felton Mercantile, Boulder Creek Antiques

Clockwise from upper left: Hallcrest Vineyards Tasting Room & Patio, The Felton Mercantile, Boulder Creek Antiques new owners: Glenda Mecredy, Meg Aliano, Ali Norrbom, with property owner Jim Lee.

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