Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, we live amongst several world class growing regions. You probably have heard of Napa Valley, and maybe even Dry Creek Valley, but have you heard of Livermore Valley?
With over 130 years of vinious history, Livermore is a secret worth sharing. The first families in the Livermore Valley are still some of the most well known – Concannon and Wente. Arriving in 1883, they pioneered grape growing in the region, and set the stage for what would become a hotbed of innovation and trailblazing. Today, there are over 50 wineries in Livermore, each making their stamp in the valley.
Recently, Livermore came to the city, when several wineries hosted a trade tasting and seminar. Being able to listen to a third generation Wente, and hear the history of Concannon Vineyards from John Concannon is a treat worth traveling for, but luckily I didn’t have to.
While Wente has expanded beyond the sprawling vineyard visitors center to launch Wente’s Winemaker Studio, where you can play winemaker and blend your own wine, take classes, and hone your aroma skills. But, while the grandfathers still stand tall, there are also smaller wineries that are making their mark in Livermore.
One of these is Page Mill Winery, which was previously located in Woodside, has been making wine since 1976. Continuing the production of quality wines in Livermore, Dane Stark continues this tradition using grapes primarily harvested from Livermore Valley. Today, Page Mill focuses on Livermore Valley fruit, and makes excellent Cab Franc and Syrah.
Another personal favorite is Steven Kent Winery. As I’ve reviewed before, Steven Kent balances tradition and trailblazing, while making Bordeaux style blends, highlighting how Livermore can produce world class wines.
Vasco Urbano Wine Company sees the terroir for Rhone style wines in Livermore, and they do so beautifully. Their mission is clear, to produce excellent Rhone style wines that express the Livermore Valley. Using innovative farming practices and renegade winemaking techniques, the resulting Syrah, Grenache, and rosé are beautiful.
With over 50 wineries in Livermore, there is something for everyone. Just over an hour from San Francisco, and easily accessible by public transit, it’s a must visit for any wine lover!