Recently, Michael and I visited Pietra Santa, a vineyard and winery in the Hollister Hills, owned by the Blackburn family. Neither of us drink alcohol (I’m allergic to grapes), but we went there to pick up a bottle of their olive oil. I’ve tasted their organic virgin olive oil previously, and found it to be excellent, fruity with a strong peppery finish. The winery itself is very beautiful:
Pietra Santa grows grapes on 120 acres for Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Merlot, Sangiovese, Zinfandel, Dolcetto, and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Most olive farmers in this area send their olives south (usually to Modesto) to be pressed for them. Pietra Santa is different, because the owners have shipped in their own olive press. It’s an expensive process that involved bringing in two gigantic granite grinding stones, as well as expensive machinery.