When Menlo Park resident Nancy Bush was invited to join friends in San Benito County this March, she found herself at the Friends of the Library Fundraiser. The group helps support the San Benito County Free Library and promotes programs such as the Adult Literacy Program, through which volunteer tutors can help adult learners improve their reading, writing, and speaking skills.
Wooden puzzles, quilted blankets, gift baskets, planters, photos, paintings and even edible goodies were donated for the event. Through the chaos of the auctioneer probing the audience for bids and the din of laughter, Bush raised her hand.
“We were all sitting together and they called it out and next thing I knew we had it and I’m saying, ‘Okay, who wants to go?’” she said. She ended up with an afternoon tour for eight at Pietra Santa Winery.
It took a few weeks to get the group gathered up, but in the end, eight lucky guests enjoyed a Saturday afternoon at Pietra Santa, just off Cienega Road south of Hollister. The author was lucky enough to join in. The donation from the winery included a wine tasting with cheese and snacks and wandering through a wall of oak barrels containing their red wine. The tour included a visit to Pietra Santa's olive press, where they make fresh extra virgin olive oil. The winery offers the use of the press to local oil producers, when their schedule permits. In an interview, Pietra Santa's spokesperson Colleen said, "We have about tours nearly every weekend of the year. It comes to about 45 weeks a year with tours, often twice a day."
Our group also viewed the area where the vineyard's white wines are kept chilled in stainless steel containers and where the red wine is stored in oak barrels.
The Pietra Santa tour guide for the day, Selena Pereda, explained that it is still early to predict the upcoming grape season. In the mist of a light rain, the Pietra Santa vines were in view from the table and are just beginning to show the fruit of another vintage.
Colleen Gibson with Pietra Santa said she was aware our tour was to benefit the Library. She explained that the winery contributes to non-profits and local causes, particularly for youth and education. "Pietra Santa supports a lot of charities in San Benito County. We are glad were able to help support the library and see it grow," Gibson said.
Pietra Santa's wine samples were just enough to taste and compare but not enough to over-indulge. A perfect way to spend the afternoon, see the countryside and learn a little about our county wine industry. Anything for our library.