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Thomas Fogarty Winery

Santa Cruz Mountains AVA

Even the selection of the site for Fogarty’s first vineyards was considered innovative by the wine industry.

The Thomas Fogarty Winery & Vineyards has existed for nearly four decades and has served as a model for wineries of the Pinot Noir/Chardonnay genre. Its founder, Dr. Thomas Fogarty, was also a noted inventor within the medical field and is credited with the creation of the Fogarty Embolectomy Catheter, a device that revolutionized modern medicine.

While the first grapes were planted in 1978, Thomas Fogarty Winery & Vineyards’ initial release came in 1981. Even the selection of the site for Fogarty’s first vineyards was considered innovative by the wine industry.

Thomas Fogarty chose property on Skyline Blvd., directly west of Stanford University where he was a surgery teacher. The property lies at around 2,000 feet in the Santa Cruz Mountains and has become one of the prime growing areas for ultra high quality Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in all of California. Of the total 360-acre estate, some 30 are planted in these varietals along with small quantities of Merlot and Sangiovese. The site’s extremely long and cool growing season along with ample exposure to the sun allow these vines to enjoy almost perfect growing conditions. In 2000, the Fogarty Family planted an additional 10 acres of Bordeaux varieties on a sunny ridge 20 miles to the south, high above the town of Los Gatos.

Dr. Thomas Fogarty began as a home winemaker in the early 1970’s, and Thomas Fogarty Winery & Vineyards has grown into a major winemaking entity for this historic part of the Santa Cruz Mountains. The winery produces around 12,000 cases annually, and has earned more medals and high scores with its wines than anyone can actually count.

The modern Thomas Fogarty Winery & Vineyards production is around 80 percent estate bottled, a high ratio for an ultra-premium winery.

“We don’t foresee Thomas Fogarty growing anymore,” related Tommy Fogarty, son of Dr. Thomas Fogarty. Tommy is the person who has run the winery for the past eight years. “We feel comfortable we can continue to produce the quality we have achieved in much the same manner as before.”

Has anything changed at Thomas Fogarty Winery & Vineyards?

“Not really,” he replied. “We still do things in the traditional manner. We use as little manipulation as possible in the cellar and let the fruit and wines speak for themselves. What we have done in the past ten years is to pick our fruit a little earlier. We were getting fruit that was a bit too ripened. By picking earlier, we are getting the best fruit expression possible.”

Tommy Fogarty has been working in the winery since he was 10, when he planted the first Chardonnay vines. He carries two degrees (a viticulture degree from Sonoma State University and a business degree from St. Mary’s College) that he has used in his role as winery owner.

He points to the company’s original winemaker, Michael Martella, as the driving force behind Thomas Fogarty Winery & Vineyards’ enduring success. While Martella handed over the reins as everyday winemaker to Nathan Kandler several years ago, he continues with the company as a consultant.

The Fogarty Winery property is also something to behold. Originally intended to become a kiwi farm, the place was transformed into grapes after Thomas Fogarty experienced some Grand Cru Burgundies from his friend at Stanford, George Burtness.

“My father was inspired by the depth and complexity of the wines,” Tommy Fogarty continued. “He saw the strides that David Bruce and some of the earlier Santa Cruz Mountain pioneers were making in Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays and set out to make wonderful wines for himself.”

Were Fogarty wines attempting to copy those of Burgundy?

“No, not really,” he added. “Let me put it this way. Everyone making a wine has a design ideal, an inspiration. Take a classical pianist from Poland, one that studied at the Polish Conservatory. He would not say he was copying Chopin, but his entire experience would be based on Chopin, and it would be impossible for him not to be influenced.”

“The same idea applies to making our wines. Burgundies are the finest examples of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in the world, so it would be natural that they would have an impact on us.”

Tommy Fogarty is also pleased with the fact that the Santa Cruz AVA is finally getting the recognition it has long deserved. A number of wineries have begun utilizing Santa Cruz fruit for their really top wines and the appellation has also begun receiving major plaudits from critics and periodicals.

“The quality has been there for a long time,” Fogarty concluded. “For some reason it has taken longer than it should have to become popular. Way too long.”

We couldn't agree more, which is why we are excited to offer Thomas Fogarty Wine to our Platinum Wine Club members.

Map of the area

Dear Platinum Wine Club Members,

Picture of Dear Platinum Wine Club Members,

It is with great excitement that we offer to you our authentic, terroir driven 2012 Chardonnay from the Santa Cruz Mountains. Thomas Fogarty Winery was founded by world-renowned inventor Thomas Fogarty in 1978, pioneering grape-growing on the Skyline Ridge. This area boasts the most prestigious plantings of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in the Santa Cruz Mountains and is considered one of the world’s premiere regions for these two varietals.

Our now 30+ year-old Estate Chardonnay vineyards are planted on a complex series of rock-strewn mountain soils. We farm with respect for the land and focus on fostering the health of our soil’s ecology, which maximizes the site-expression in our wines. We take a non-interventionist and light handed approach to winemaking (native yeast fermentations and a prudent use of French oak), further allowing for maximum influence from the vineyard. Our Chardonnay tends to have higher natural acidity than most California Chardonnay and makes for a more elegant, but still full-flavored, wine.

We hope you enjoy your selection and encourage you to visit us at our mountain estate in the Santa Cruz Mountains.


Nathan Kandler

Dear Platinum Wine Club Members

Picture of Dear Platinum Wine Club Members

It is with great excitement that we offer to you our 2007 Lexington Meritage, Santa Cruz Mountains. This wine is our finest or “tête de cuvée” blend from the top lots of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc from each vintage. Thomas Fogarty Winery was founded by world renowned inventor Thomas Fogarty in 1978 and began producing wine in the 1981 vintage. The original Winery Estate is planted to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, but in the year 2000, the Fogarty Family planted 10 acres of Bordeaux varieties on a sunny ridge 20 miles to the south. Perched high above the town of Los Gatos and overlooking the rugged wilderness of Big Basin and Castle Rock state parks, our Gist Ranch Estate is one of the highest new plantings of Bordeaux in the state. This high elevation (up to 2,400 ft.) densely planted vineyard is the inspiration for Lexington.

Lexington is selected from the finest barrels within our best lots. This hyper-stringent process restricts the blend to a fraction of our total production, ensuring upmost quality. Lexington is refined 3-4 times throughout the aging process, with the first assemblage made at first racking. Aged in tight-grained French Oak for nearly 2 years, this wine is ideal for current consumption or for stockpiling in your cellar.

We hope you enjoy your selection and encourage you to visit us at our mountain estate in the Santa Cruz Mountains.


Nathan Kandler

Michael Martella - Winemaker

Picture of Michael Martella - Winemaker

Dear Platinum Series Members,

The 1997 Santa Cruz Mountain Chardonnay is a wine that beautifully expresses all the diverse elements created by the specific interplay of mountain soil, cool, coastal air and brilliant sunlight that grace this unique appellation. The majority of the grapes that make up this wine were sourced from our four estate Chardonnay vineyards which lie at 2000 feet elevation, only twelve miles from the Pacific Ocean. The well drained, sandy-loam soils of these vineyards and an extremely long growing season in 1997 gave our grapes the opportunity to mature slowly, developing intense flavors as they achieved an ideal balance of sugar and acidity. This crisp, citric twist of acidity should be appreciated as a signature of our exceptional viticultural region.

The wine underwent 100% malolactic fermentation and was barrel aged for eight months, resulting in a harmonious medley of ripe, rich fruit and toasty oak. Stirring the barrels sur lees has added a lush texture to its body. I truly feel that this Chardonnay makes an exceptional complement to many lighter dishes, including fish, pasta and shrimp. Please enjoy this wine in the context of good food and great friends.


Michael Martella