We sat down with Vic Vanni of Solis Winery of Santa Clara Valley to talk about how his family got into the wine business and also taste some wine from his winery. Vani remembers the good old days when they lived in the “Valley of Heart’s Delight,” which is now known as Silicon Valley. His grandfather had a cut flower business in Mountain View, which is now known for its hi-tech companies like Google and LinkedIn.

Vanni’s family moved to Gilroy when they bought a winery in the 1970s. His father bought a vineyard and started making wines. Today, Vanni and his brother along with their father grow a range of grape varietals and make red and white wine.

This interview was aired on TV in the USA.

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Santa Clara Wine Trail

Santa Clara Wine Trail

Santa Clara county is not only home to many Silicon Valley companies, but is also home to some of the oldest vineyards in California. Some of the vineyards in Santa Clara Valley are over 100 years old. Surprised? So was I when I discovered the Santa Clara Wine trail, which is literally a few miles south of San Jose. Thanks to the Wineries of Santa Clara Valley Wine 2015 Fall Passport program I discovered a clutch of vineyards right in my backyard. And in the process also discovered a California champagne made from almonds.


Santa Clara Wine Trail

Santa Clara Wine Trail


Nestled in the towns of Gilroy and Morgan Hill are a string of vineyards, where you can taste a range of red and white wines and champagne. Armed with maps and our passport booklets we drove down south to Gilroy in a fancy Tesla car for some wine tasting. No, the Tesla was not mine. This was a fun expedition and we hit the first vineyard within 20 minutes into our trip from San Jose. How cool is that?


Santa Clara Wine Trail

Santa Clara Wine Trail


The first one we visited was Solis Winery that took us by pleasant surprise with its selfie spot. Whoever came up with that “selfie spot,” knows the power of social media and our penchant for taking those selfies and posting them on our Facebook and Twitter pages. Did we take a selfie? You betcha, we did!


Selfie Spot

Selfie Spot


We then visited Sarah’s Vineyards, Kirgin Cellars, Fortino Wineries and Guglielmo Wineries that was founded in 1905. We planned to visit more wineries, but ran out of time. What this means is that there is another trip that we need to make south of San Jose and explore the other wineries in Santa Clara wine trail. Stay tuned for that trip.

If you plan to visit the wineries of Santa Clara Valley do check out Gilroy Welcome Center and Santa Clara Wines for timings and other information. Plan on spending at 4 to 5 hours for your trip.

Disclosure: We were invited as guests by the Gilroy Welcome Center to the Wineries of Santa Clara Valley 2015 Fall Passport event.


December Special: Food and Wine in Silicon Valley and Bangalore

December is the season to celebrate and we are doing just that with a series of interviews on food and wine in Silicon Valley and Bangalore. We are talking California wines and Chinese food in India. Now, that is a combination to think about.

Santa Clara county is home to many of Silicon Valley hi-tech companies. The area is also home to some of the oldest wine growing regions in California. Santa Clara Wineries are a hidden gem of this region and we spoke to 2 vineyards from the regions: Solis Winery and Sycamore Creek WineryBoth the wineries are located a few miles south of San Jose.


Solis WInery at Gilroy

Solis Winery, Santa Clara WInery


And from Silicon Valley wineries we zip across the Pacific Ocean to Bangalore, often known as “Silicon Valley of India,” to find out about the second most popular cuisine in the city. And what is the second most popular cuisine, whose influence has seeped into the local, traditional restaurants? Chinese. Yes, Chinese food is the second most popular cuisine in Bangalore. There is the Indian-Chinese cuisine and then there is the authentic Chinese cuisine. Chinese restaurants have been part of Bangalore from the 1960s. In the last 15  years Chinese restaurants have mushroomed all over the city, and Gobi Manchurian, an Indian-Chinese dish is now part of traditional restaurants that serve idli, dosa, vada and sambar.

What about authentic Chinese cuisine in Banglaore? For that we turned to Chef Tong Willaam of Memories of China at Taj Vivanta on MG Road in Bangalore. Chef William came from Hong Kong to India in the 1980s and has had a long association with the Taj Group of Hotels. We sat down to find out about his culinary journey into India, and also got a tour of his kitchen at  Memories of China. And after all that talking and touring we sat down to have an authentic Chinese meal courtesy of Chef Tong William.

So, stay tuned for our video interviews on wines and Chinese food.


Chef Tong William at Memories of China in Bangalore

Chef Tong William of Memories of China