Picchetti Ranch

Picchetti Ranch, site of an historic winery and popular tasting room, is wilder than you'd think.

The picturesque entrance to Picchetti Winery, with its towering eucalyptus trees and wooden farmhouses, is an ideal spot to drink and lounge in the open grass. But the 308-acre open space hides easy and friendly hiking trails just behind its simple farmhouse. The trails themselves can be mixed, but usually offer good views of the valley below coupled with mellow hiking. The versatility gives Picchetti an added charm—how may opens paces offer great wine as a reward for a beautiful hike into the Cupertino foothills?

Even within the open space itself, there is a divide amongst its gentle 3.7 miles in trails. The open space allows hikers and horses, but dogs and mountain bikers are forbidden. Children often dart around the first mile of the Zinfandel Trail with their families, and the trail has a populated feel.

That doesn't mean the wild things aren't wandering the hills of Picchetti Ranch Open Space Preserve. In September 2014, a 6-year-old boy was attacked by a mountain lion in broad daylight—and just a few yards from his family on Zinfandel Trail. By winter 2015 the trail was open again, but families would do well to heed the mountain lion warning signs, especially during times of drought, when animals desperate for food venture closer to civilization than they normally would.

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As you travel farther into the preserve, the trail narrows and the vegetation changes from high grassland to a wide variety of oaks and huge bay laurels in tight groves, creating shade and providing beautiful latticework designs near the canopy. The Zinfandel Trail connects with Stevens Creek Park and offers great views of the Stevens Creek Reservoir. Red-tailed hawks cruise the skies looking for prey, and black-tailed deer browse in the forest near the entrance to Stevens Creek Park. Both the park's trails are short in-and-out affairs.

In spring the few peach and apricot trees close to the winery attract jays and other birds. Founded in the early 1870s, Picchetti Winery, with its tasting room (open daily 11am-5pm) and gracious lawn perfect for picnics, operates today as a popular place for weddings, parties and scenic wine tasting excursions.

IDEAL PLACE TO: Plan a wee hike or ride on horseback followed by a glassa wine. Or maybe the other way around—just use common sense.

LEAVE THE DOG AND BIKE AT HOME: Neither is welcome here.

WORDS OF WISDOM: Those mountain lion warning signs? They’re for real. Watch the tykes when out on the trail.

CREATURE COMFORTS: Wine, restrooms, wine, a payphone, wine, ample free parking. Wine.

BEST TIME TO GO: Spring, when the fruit trees are in bloom.

—Ryan Willard

Picchetti Ranch Open Space Preserve, Monte Bello Rd, Cupertino, CA. 650.691.1200. Learn more at the official Picchetti Ranch Open Space Preserve website. Find a map of the area here.