Mount Eden is a small estate in the Santa Cruz Mountain appellation. Mount Eden was founded in 1945 when Martin Ray, who grew up in the Santa Cruz foothills, purchased land on the 2,000-foot peak of Mount Eden. He had been influenced by the winemaking style of Paul Masson, the Burgundian winemaker who made wine in the Santa Cruz foothills in the late 19th century. Ray planted Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, which was unusual in California in the 1940s, and called his estate Martin Ray. Investors eventually took control of the winery and in 1972 changed its name to Mount Eden. Today the 47-acre estate produces about 15,000 cases of Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
Santa Cruz Mountains AVA includes high elevation territory in the counties of Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and San Mateo. The AVA follows the coast line from San Francisco to Monterey with elevations from 400 feet to 3,000 feet above sea level. There are 1,500 vineyard acres and the AVA was established in 1981. Despite the challenging terrain in these rugged mountains and hills, highly esteemed wineries have been located here since the early 20th century, when Paul Masson, a Frenchman by birth, started making sparkling wine in the area. By the 1970s vineyards were growing Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Numerous microclimates within the AVA offer viticulturists diverse growing conditions, and many varietals are grown successfully.