Hike by Rob Lehman, originally published in the October 2009 issue of Bay Nature magazine
The historic Picchetti Winery is the main trailhead for leisurely hiking through the Picchetti Ranch Open Space Preserve, surrounded by Stevens Creek Reservoir, Fremont Older Open Space, and Stevens Creek County Park in the foothills of Cupertino. The Picchetti brothers, Secondo and Vincenzo, settled here in 1877 on 160 acres nestled under Montebello Ridge. The Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District purchased the homestead, ranch buildings, and brick winery in 1976.
The park's compact 306 acres feature 3.7 miles of easy hiking through native oak woodlands and chaparral, as well as remnant fruit and nut orchards. Peacocks stroll the winery's lawn, and loop trails gain a mere 350 feet in elevation to the knoll at the top, providing an excellent vista of the Santa Cruz Mountains, Santa Clara Valley, and San Francisco Bay. The Bear Meadow Trail leads to a seasonal pond that's home to salamanders, tree frogs, and newts. The Zinfandel Trail is the longest and leads to Stevens Creek County Park. The Santa Clara County Historical Heritage Commission restored the brick winery, which is open to the public for group activities and tasting of wine that is still bottled under the Picchetti Brothers label.
Getting there: From Interstate 280, take Foothill Expressway southwest 3.5 miles on Foothill Blvd/Stevens Creek Road, then right on Montebello Road. The parking lot is a half mile up on the left.