The Mountain Winery in Saratoga is a California Historic Landmark and an esteemed location in the minds of many of Bay Area citizens. Impressive in its heer size and breathtaking views of the Valley below, it also plays host to the Summer Concert Series in its sweeping auditorium. The venue is incredibly versatile, providing many location options for your Mountain Winery wedding.
The first incarnation of the winery was completed in 1905 by French winemaker Paul Masson, and rebuilt again after the 1906 quake. Masson used the property to produce sparkling wine and hosted lavish parties at “The Chateau”. In the 1950’s, the winery ceased to produce wine, and instead began to host the summer concerts, welcoming many famous performers. The concert series continues, while new vineyards were replanted in 2004.
Planning your Wedding at The Mountain Winery
The trip up to the winery is exciting. After passing through affluent Saratoga, you follow the verdant, winding mountain road to the winery gates. As the view opens up below, a series of twists and turns finally takes you past the vineyards and into the main lot.
The winery is an extremely versatile venue. Two stone decks are available for your wedding ceremony, with a third deck that’s perfect for cocktails and mingling. Both the Vista and the Chateau decks can accommodate ceremonies up to 250 people, but the larger Chateau deck is spacious enough to accommodate a ceremony and a cocktail reception. Saying “I do” perched high above the valley below is quite an experience. The former chateau contains the bride’s room where you can make your preparations. If you choose to hold your reception indoors, the Grand Hall can comfortably fit over 200 people.
The Mountain Winery offers some amazing photographic opportunities, and with a little pre-planning, you should be poised to create some amazing memories at this picture-perfect wedding venue.
Going the Distance
Perhaps inspired by Masson’s overindulgence, Mountain Winery wedding photography is truly a feast for the eyes. However, the grounds are so vast that its crucial to budget enough time for a photography session. Pictures in the vineyards are always classic, but keep in mind that in the late fall and winter the vineyards are not very photogenic. A trip out to the vineyards requires driving.
Back at the winery, the sandstone architecture, crawling vines, lampposts, wooden gates and expansive views provide plenty of photographic inspiration. The key to getting the best photographs is to plan the session around the best light (early morning or late afternoon), and to take enough time to tour the winery grounds.
The hallmark of The Mountain Winery Wedding photos are the giant wooden gates that are part of the ancient entrance portal of St. Patrick’s Church from San Jose. Masson acquired this piece of structure after the quake. The trip down to the gates will require traipsing through the giant amphitheatre, which in itself can provide some interesting photo opps. Giant barrels, which make great backdrops, are scattered around the property.
Seeing the Light
As I tour the grounds with the bride and groom, I always look for interesting light, and I’m keenly aware of how it interacts with the buildings and stairwells. While the view decks and the gates do provide striking backdrops, unique Mountain Winery wedding pictures become available only if you take the time to really explore the property grounds.
A pictures says a thousand words, but a video contains thousands of pictures, so take a look at this beautiful Mountain Winery wedding video shot by Sasha Kino, San Francisco Bay Area wedding videography. Also, check out The Mountain Winery reviews on Yelp, and visit the official Mountain Winery website for more information. Keep in mind that since the winery hosts concerts and events year-round, you’ll have to sift through the hundreds of Yelp reviews to find wedding-specific ones.