Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Share your love at the Lodi Wine and Chocolate Weekend February 10 and 11

Valentine’s Day is a time of love and a time to share with your loved one.  And it is a time to fall in love with the wines of Lodi at the exciting Wine and Chocolate Weekend in nearby Lodi Wine County February 10-11. Over 50 wineries will open their tasting rooms and are waiting to spoil your taste buds with handcrafted Lodi wines and decadent chocolates. Check the website for a list of participating wineries.

Lodi is a wonderful jewel in California’s wine regions. Many of the wineries are extensions of the wine growers that have been growing grapes in this region for many decades. As you travel through this area you are taken back to rural agricultural California. Here you will find Zinfandel grapes growing on vines that are over 100 years old and younger vines of Cabernet, Chardonnay, and a wide range of Spanish and Italian varietals. The location is ideal for wine grapes with plenty of sun and the cooling influences of the delta.

During the Wine and Chocolate Weekend, Lodi appellation wineries will please your palate, pairing hand-crafted wines with an assortment of decadent chocolate treats. Travel from winery to winery while you enjoy the winery’s hosted activities such as wine and chocolate pairings, live music, barrel tasting, cellar tours and more. Meet the local vintners and growers as they share the wine and hospitality that makes Lodi Wine Country California’s newest fine wine region! And be sure to taste some of the medal winning wines from the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

Tickets, good for both days of the event, are $55 in advance or $65 at the door of any participating winery, and complimentary for designated drivers. A commemorative wine glass, a chocolate treat from Brix Chocolate, event map/guide and admission to participating wineries is included. Hours for the event are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.

In addition, we’ve hidden more than 100 prizes including one “Golden Ticket” – good for a Lodi Wine Country getaway for two – within your complimentary chocolate treats from sponsor BRIX Chocolate so be to check upon receipt. You just might be a winner!

For more info:

Livermore Valley Barrel Tasting Weekend returns March 10 and 11

Spring is always an exciting time, particularly in the vineyards as the vines start to grow and the winemakers are welcoming visitors to sample the latest vintages.  The winemakers of Livermore are opening their doors for the annual Livermore Valley Barrel Tasting Weekend on March 10-11 (Noon to 4:30 p.m. each day). Each winery will host a unique experience during barrel tasting weekend including at least one barrel sample for each ticket holder plus other events including food and wine pairing, music and more. This is your chance to pre-purchase wines before they have even bottled (aka "futures")!

Tickets are $45 in advance or $55 the day of the event. Tickets are available online at the Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association Website.

Many Livermore Valley winemakers are offering the visitor a chance to taste some released and soon to be released wine.
Ticket Price: $45 advance / $55 day of event

Painted Barrel Trail

Sixteen wineries have partnered with local Bay Area artists to showcase the first annual Painted Barrel Trail.  Over a period of six weekends from February 1 to March 11 guests can follow the Barrel Trail, sample great wines and admire the original artwork of the barrels.  Visitors will also have the opportunity to participate in a Painted Barrel Raffle, and bring a one of a kind barrel into their home, along with a case of wine.  You can purchase raffle tickets in the participating winery tasting rooms, or in the Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association’s office starting in February.  Wineries on the trail are marked with ** in the list above.

This is a fundraiser for the Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association and appreciate your support is appreciated. The Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association encourages you to have a designated driver.

For more information about Livermore Valley wineries: Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association

Niles Canyon Railway Romance on the Rails Valentine's Day Special

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and a chance to treat your loved one to a romantic tour through gorgeous Niles Canyon while sampling some the best wine available from Livermore Valley Wine Country aboard the Niles Canyon Railway Romance on the Rails Wine Tasting Trains. On Sunday, February 11, there will be two trains, one leaving the Sunol station at 12:00 noon and another leaving at 3:00 p.m.

Bring your loved one and share a bit of romance, history, fine wine and delicious food as you experience the magic of a bygone era traveling for two hours through scenic Niles Canyon on a vintage Southern Pacific 10040 Parlor/Diner Car newly restored to its elegant 1920’s appearance.  The car is climate controlled for your comfort and attendants on board are there to assist you during the trip.  There will also be an open-air car so you can take a break outside enjoying the weather. Note that the Parlor Car is not wheelchair accessible due to the narrow passage of this vintage rail car.

Fine premium wines from Livermore Valley wineries have been hand-selected by Wine Educator Steve Ferree. The wineries represented on the Romance on the Rails are:
Steve, the WineProGuy, will be on board to provide you with information about the wines and the cheeses that are being paired. In addition hors d’oeuvre will be served.

The Romance on the Rails Wine Tasting Train is sponsored by the Pacific Locomotive Association and proceeds of the event support their railroad historic preservation programs. All seats are reserved and tickets are $80 and are available at their ticketing site.

For more information:

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Calistoga Uncorked Wine Tasting at Presidio July 20

Calistoga winemakers and owners from 30 wineries are bringing the Top of Napa Valley down to San Francisco for an opportunity to taste and purchase hard to find Calistoga AVA wines. Most of the wineries that they will be pouring do not have tasting rooms and are not open to the public so this is a chance to discover them at the picturesque Golden Gate Club in the Presidio (135 Fisher Loop, San Francisco, CA) on July 20 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. To complement their outstanding wines, food pairings with assorted artisan cheeses, charcuterie, seasonal fruit, nuts, olives, crackers and breads will be served.— you won’t want to miss this fun opportunity to learn about and taste these outstanding wines!
Participating wineries include:  2880, Amici Cellars, Baldacci Vineyards, Bennett Lane Winery, Bragg Vineyards, Canard Vineyard, Chateau de Vie, Chateau Montelena, Davis Estates, Fairwinds Estate Winery, Harris Estate Vineyards, Hindsight Vineyards, Huge Bear Wines, Jack Brooks Vineyard, Jericho Canyon Vineyard, Jones Family Vineyards, Kenefick Ranch Vineyards, Knighton Family Vineyards, Laura Michael Wines, Lava Vine/Von Strasser, Next Door Wines, Sebright Cellars, Storybook Mountain Vineyards, Summers Estate Winery, Tamber Bey Vineyards, The Grade Cellars, Tom Eddy Winery, Twomey Cellars, Voros Cellars, Weppler Vineyards
They will also be holding a Silent Auction at the event.

Tickets: $55 in advance ($75 at the door)

Friday, July 14, 2017

Taste our Terroir in Livermore Valley Wine Country July 20-23

The premier food and wine affair for Livermore Valley’s, Taste Our Terroir, is returning to Livermore Valley July 20-23 as the historic region celebrates and educates wine lovers about its unique wines.  Over the four days, Livermore Valley wineries will offer several different events, including the popular food and wine pairing competition, cooking demonstrations, wine tasting seminars and vineyard tours.  All event tickets are on sale now at

Taste Our Terroir 2016 will begin Thursday night, July 20, 6-9pm, with the region’s signature event, the annual “Quest for Pairing Excellence” at Casa Real in Pleasanton.  Wine and food judges participate in a blind tasting and present awards to the winning teams.  Be sure to cast your vote for the People's Choice White and Red pairing awards. 

VIP tickets ($125 until sold out) grant access to the event one hour early. General admission tickets are $95 at This event sells out every year—there will be no tickets available at the door.

On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, wineries across Livermore Valley will host cooking classes, blending sessions, vineyard tours and other unique experiences highlighting the region’s terroir. Visit the Livermore Valley Winegrowers website for tickets and details on all events.

For information:

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Niles Canyon Railway returns with the Livermore Valley Wine Tasting Specials

Niles Canyon Railway is offering another summer of great wine tasting aboard the popular Livermore Valley Wine Tasting Special.  They will have four runnings of the special during the summer and most will most likely sell out prior to the date of the train so get your tickets early at the Niles Canyon Railway ticket site.  Wine Educator Steve Ferree will demonstrate his passion for Livermore Valley wineries.  Each of the four trains had a collection of five different Livermore Valley wines, usually two whites, two reds and a dessert wine.  Each was paired with a cheese personally selected for that specific wine.

The passengers learn much about the history of the Niles Canyon Railway and the history of wine in Livermore Valley.    The Livermore Valley Wine Tasting Specials are a trip through History.  Each of the cars on the train was historic, refurbished by a loving group of volunteers who spend countless hours restoring them.  The route was part of the original Transcontinental Railroad.  Niles Canyon was the link from the main railroad to the San Francisco Bay since 1869.

History is also found in Livermore Valley.  It is one of California's oldest wine regions; the Livermore Valley played a pivotal role in shaping California's wine industry. Spanish missionaries planted the first wine grapes in the Livermore Valley in the 1760s. In the 1840s, California pioneers looking for outstanding vineyard sites began planting grapes in the region. Robert Livermore planted the first commercial vines in the 1840s. Pioneer winemakers C. H. Wente, James Concannon, and Charles Wetmore recognized the area's winegrowing potential and founded their wineries in the early 1880s.
Livermore Valley captured America's first international gold medal for wine in 1889 at the Paris Exposition, putting California on the world wine map, long before the famous Paris Tasting in 1976 where Napa finally caught up and won an international award. 

For more information:

Two Lifestyle wines from Mendocino Wine Company

Mendocino Wine Company is a family owned and operated group of wineries that continue the tradition of making award-winning wines using sustainable wine growing and land use practices.  In recognition of their leadership, the State of California in 2007, 2009 and 2014 awarded the Parducci Wine Cellars with the Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award (GEELA), California’s highest environmental honor.

At the Mendocino Wine Company, there is an understanding that wine is loved by many types of consumers with some focused on heritage (such as the Parducci brand), some on organic (such as the Paul Dolan Vineyards) and some just love well-made delicious wines.  The Lifestyle wines from Mendocino Wine Company are crafted for people who simply love well-made delicious wines. 

Two great wines from Mendocino Wine Company in the Lifestyle group are the Zin-Phomaniac Lodi Zinfandel and the Tie-Dye North Coast Red Blend.

The 2015 Zin-Phomaniac is produced using some of the finest 35-80 year-old vines from Lodi.  These vineyards benefit from both the Bay Area cool fog as well as the long and warm growing season of the Central Valley.  The grapes are hand-picked at optimal ripeness and then crushed and fermented with native yeast while undergoing pump overs three times a day.  This wine is a harmonious expression of fruit with flavors and aromas of raspberry, plum, dark cherry and blueberry.  You will enjoy the fine nots of molasses, cedar and vanilla and the long lingering finish.  The price is $14.99.

The 2014 Tie-Dye North Coast Red Wine Blend celebrates the Summer of Love.  It is a blend of Syrah, Petite Sirah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Grenache.  The 62% Syrah is the backbone of this wine while the Petite Sirah adds in the deep dark red and black fruit.  The Bordeaux varietals provide the smooth mouthfeel and finish.  You will love that intense ruby color and aromas of black currant, dark cherry, boysenberry, raspberry and blueberry.  The price is $14.99