As a young man, Ed Castro fostered a love for wine

Published in the Oct. 14-27, 2015 issue of Morgan Hill Life

By Robert Airoldi

Photo courtesy Miramar Vineyards Tasting Room Manager Angela Russo and Miramar Vineyards owner Ed Castro in the tasting room.

Photo courtesy Miramar Vineyards
Tasting Room Manager Angela Russo and Miramar Vineyards owner Ed Castro in the tasting room.

Ed Castro was in his mid-20s when he took a trip to a cousin’s winery in Napa. Although he knew nothing about wines or the vineyards business, his parents had visited his relative’s winery regularly and so he wanted to learn why they were raving about it.

“I just fell in love with it, the whole thing,” he said of encountering the pleasant wine-making grounds. “This is my dream, I thought — a home surrounded by vineyards.”

That dream became a reality the first weekend in October when Miramar Vineyards held a soft opening attended by about 200 people who viewed the winery and sampled Castro’s wines. The property sits on a slight hill on New Avenue in the eastern foothills and offers majestic panoramic views of the valley looking west and the foothills looking east.

When he purchased the 10-acre parcel of land in 1997, he took possession of an “ugly piece of property” that had once served as a mushroom farm. Although a decrepit barn, an old house and a one-car garage and half dead trees were scattered across the property at that time, his imagination started to reshape it.

“I walked around and saw a vision in my mind,” he said. “I saw the potential and kind of knew then what I wanted to do with the property.”
So he went to work constructing a full-size basketball court/tennis court for his nephews and nieces, a bocce ball court, a covered picnic area with tables, chairs and umbrellas, a nice-sized lawn. and elegant paver stones in the outdoor wine tasting area.

The vineyards include more than 5,000 plantings — about 1,000 each on five acres — of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc, all hearty red grape varietals. Castro learned what varietals to plant from his cousin, who recommended the varietals grown at Miramar.

His first harvest came in 2007 with a barrel of Syrah he gave out to friends. In 2008, he did the same. From about 2010 to 2014, he purchased grapes while his wines were aging.

“I’d rather let them age and produce high quality wines,” said Castro.

The winemaker owns a plumbing business in San Jose which he has run for the past 24 years. That company sustains him financially and allows him to age his wines longer than other winemakers might.

The South Valley wine-making community is a close-knit one, Castro said, and whenever he has questions, his fellow vintners are happy to help.

“Everybody in the local wine industry has been just great,” he said. “We’re all friendly competitors.”

He hired winemaker Gary Robinson from Testarossa Winery in Los Gatos, and Angela Russo to serve as his tasting room manager.
“We have the complete package here,” Russo said. “We have great wines and beautiful views.”

Castro said he wants to remain small and produce a few varietals of quality wines. He’s in an enviable position right now in that he doesn’t need to quickly turn a profit.

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“We have a handful of good, quality wines,” Castro added. “We want to keep it that way.”

“There is no more beautiful, romantic, poetic industry on the planet,” said Russo. “Every bottle of wine is a celebration.”

She also knows it is the experience of tasting a fine wine as well as the quality of the vino that brings people back.

“People remember more how they feel when they visit a winery,” Russo said.

MIRAMAR VINEYARDS

Location: 12255 New Ave., San Martin
Hours: Noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday through October
Contact: (408) 686-0280