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Walnut Creek Magazine

Essential Guide to Wine Tasting in the Livermore Valley

Feb 02, 2022 11:30AM ● By Fran Miller
While Napa and Sonoma garner most of the attention from wine enthusiasts, the Livermore Valley is also firmly planted in grapevine roots. One of the oldest wine regions in California, the seven cities within the Tri-Valley territory—Danville, Castro Valley, San Ramon, Dublin, Pleasanton, Sunol, and Livermore—are home to more than 50 wineries.

Pioneering families like the Wentes and the Concannons recognized the area’s winemaking potential in the early 1880s and tapped into the ideal grape growing conditions—rich soil, high altitude, and maritime breeze. Soon others followed, transforming the landscape into a venerable wine producing region. Today, elegant tasting rooms and quality restaurants dot the area, making the Livermore Valley a top notch wine tasting destination.

Wente Vineyards: There is much to love about a winery with five generations of winemakers who have worked to make the wine experience accessible to everyone. Nestled in Livermore Valley's rolling hills, Wente's Tasting Lounge pours reserve and library wines paired with seasonal chef-driven small plates, all within an expansive outdoor patio. ($30 to $85pp)

Murrieta’s Well: This historic winery’s tasting room has claimed its place as a premier Livermore Valley stop—a casual yet sophisticated spot to sip and savor rich reds. Named after Joaquin Murrieta who discovered the landmark estate in the 1880’s, Murrieta's Well offers curated tastings with small plate pairings and sunset hike experiences. ($30-75pp)

Darcie Kent Vineyards: Fifth generation winemaker Darcie Kent established her winery in 1996 in the tradition of her great, great grandfather who hand painted labels for his own winery in St. Louis, Missouri. Every bottle of Darcie Kent wine features her original artwork. Kent and winemaker Julian Halasz work in unison to handcraft wines from sustainably farmed, family-owned vineyards. ($20pp)

Mitchell Katz Winery: This innovative family-run Livermore Valley winery is dedicated to producing single-vineyard wines and big cabs. Celebrate the prerelease of their 2018 Fat Boy Cabernet with live music by Toucan Jam and delicious food by Big C BBQ on February 12 at the Mitchell Katz Fat Boy Party. A Quarterly Release Party is scheduled for March 12. 

Livermore Wine Trolley: Let the Livermore Wine Trolley take the wheel during a weekend wine tasting adventure. Sip & Savor Wine Pairing Tours feature elevated food and wine pairings at three premiere wineries: Las Positas, Concannon, and Garre. ($149/pp)

Barrel Tasting Weekend: Meet winemakers, sample wine still in the barrel, and purchase futures for your wine cellar while surrounded by soaring green, mustard covered hills. Wineries participating this year in Barrel Tasting Weekend include Big White House, Charles R Vineyards, Cuda Ridge, Fenestra, The Lineage Collection, Longevity Wines, McGrail Vineyards, Page Mill, Retzlaff Estate, Wente, and Wood Family Vineyards. March 19-20, ($60 pp.) 


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