She was quick to accommodate my request to take some of the Mediterranean herb back to my RV to use for cooking. Maria Testa Martinson is the winemaker, the manager, the mom, and the backbone of Testa Vineyards and Winery. She is proud of her family history and is often heard telling the story of how Testa Vineyards came about to its many visitors, the wine lovers, the Harvest Host members, the local supporters. I was not the first to fall in love with Testa Vineyards.
The rolling hills of old growth vines can be seen from Highway 101 as you enter Calpella, California. Testa Vineyards was established in 1912 by Maria’s Grandparents, Gaetano and Maria Testa, immigrants from Gallarate, Italy. Guests enter the ranch off N. State St. near the center of the small town. Harvest Host members are asked to park at the bottom of the hill next to an antique 1930s International Harvester pickup truck just below the vineyard. A short walk up the hill, then, reveals the result of a five generation passion for this land. There are plenty of tables on the tasting room’s patio to choose from which overlook the garden, the endless rows of vines, and a pond complete with a quintessential row boat tied to a short dock. Phil, fifth generation of the Testa family, explained the wines then helped us order a tasting. It’s the perfect place to be on a pleasant spring day for relaxing and unwinding from travel.
At the end of the day, the doors close, the Testa family retreats to their own homes, and those Harvest Host members staying the night on the property walk down the hill with additional purchased bottles of wine. The old dog, Bentley, was left behind as a sort of host for the night. After grilling salmon with lemon and the rosemary from the Testa garden, we were free to roam the property. The setting sun made perfect light on such a gorgeous landscape. We discovered many antique treasures on the ranch along with greetings from a couple of barn cats. The original 1927 craftsman style Testa Farmhouse had lodgers for the night making my desire to peek in the windows impossible. Maria’s oldest daughter, Kasandra Martinson Brooks, sums up our exact experience, “You feel and see the history of our home and our family during your stay.”
No, I was not the only person to fall in love with Testa Vineyards. Dozens of Harvest Host members have as well. Their comments written in the many reviews on the Testa page reflect our experiences exactly. They state that Testa is a lovely, peaceful spot, has a beautiful atmosphere with delicious wines, and that they will be back. Michelle B writes, “We are forever ruined on any other white wine.” Testa’s positive Google Reviews continue with comments like: breathtakingly beautiful, Maria is awesome, nothing salesy, Great wine tasting experience. Brian D, a Google local guide writes, “Wonderful atmosphere and a huge award winning selection of wine! The staff on hand was very helpful and knowledgeable.” Our experience at Testa Vineyards creates a deep gratitude for our Harvest Host membership. Thank you to Maria and her family for creating a memorable time that we will take with us down the road for many miles.