After a crushing year of closing down, reopening and closing again and having very little outdoor space in her original location between Hong’s Gourmet and Florentine Trattoria, Ruthe Roberts has reopened her wine tasting room at a new location on Big Basin Way.
The Ruthe Roberts Wine Collective now occupies the former site of Stiletto’s Wine Bar in the Saratoga Village. Roberts chooses the wines she pours from her personal favorite winemakers, most of whom are local. Many have been with her since she opened the business in 2012, including Baccarossa, Baiocchi, DeVincenzi and Naumann.
Roberts’ approach is to provide access to varietals from up-and-coming winemakers. Wines are offered in flights that allow guests to compare different wines and discover new favorites. From the outset, Roberts envisioned a place where connoisseurs would find new wines to love, and where smaller wineries could showcase their offerings to a new set of appreciative palates.
Currently, these offerings include a juicy Assiduous Pinot Gris from the Regan Vineyard in Corralitos and a lively carbonic merlot from a vineyard in Los Altos, made by Assiduous winemaker Keegan Mayo, was assistant winemaker at Testarossa before moving to Bargetto in Santa Cruz.
There’s also a vermentino from Urban Legend, a Naumann Vineyards rosé of merlot, and Tercero Wines’ “Aberration,” a blend of cinsault, grenache and carignane. Also popular are her selection of bubbles, including three from the custom sparkling house Rack & Riddle.
Roberts recently added a 2019 Pelio chardonnay and the 2018 Pelio “Lindsey Cuvée” pinot noir from a vineyard in Carmel Valley. She says there’s more to come.
“My customers are really into different types of wine,” she adds. “There’s so much chardonnay and pinot noir around here and I carry some of those, but I want them to try something new, like the rosé of Lagrein Pet Nat from Piedra Creek.”
Perseverance, fortitude and customer loyalty have carried Roberts through this last stressful year. “It was scary, to be honest. But my customers hung in there and supported me. It feels good to be in a situation where I have lots more outdoor space and a more flexible indoor area now.”
Since she opened at the new location in March, Roberts says, business has been “better than in the old spot on a good day. Not sure whether that’s due to the lack of tasting rooms now or people are just eager to get out, but it’s been really busy.”
The joint Lexington and Mindego Ridge tasting room in the Saratoga Village recently closed, as did Big Basin Vineyards’. Lexington is available to taste at Fogarty Winery, and Mindego Ridge is open by appointment at their vineyard on Alpine Road near La Honda. Big Basin Vineyards is open for tasting on weekends at their Memory Lane winery in Boulder Creek and is set to open a new tasting room in Santa Cruz.
Meanwhile, Roberts’ collective tasting room flourishes.
“I can’t believe it’s been nine years!” she says with her easy, warm laugh. “But I love it more than ever. Now that I’m in this new space, it’s a whole new chapter. I’m so stoked, I’m planning to do this for a long, long time. No retirement in my future!”
The Ruthe Roberts Wine Collective, at 14527 Big Basin Way, is open Friday-Saturday, noon-5 p.m., and on Sunday, 1-5 p.m., with the last seatings at 4:30pm. Call or text 408-504-4013 for a tasting reservation. For more information, visit https://www.rrwcwines.com.