Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Taste Our Terroir in Livermore Valley Wine Country July 26-29

Taste Our Terroir, Livermore Valley’s premier food and wine affair, returns for four delectable days in 2018 as the historic region celebrates and educates wine lovers about its unique “taste of the land.” From July 26th to the 29th, Livermore Valley wineries will offer 13 different events, including the popular food and wine pairing competition, a winemaker concert, cooking demonstrations, wine tasting seminars and vineyard tours. VIP tickets grant early access to Thursday’s food and wine pairing competition. This event has always been the greatest event of the year for the Livermore Valley Wineries.  All event tickets are on sale now at

Wine Taste Our Terroir 2018 will begin Thursday night, July 26, 6-9pm with the region’s signature event, the annual quest for food and wine pairing excellence at Casa Real in Pleasanton. Twenty Livermore Valley winemakers have partnered with Bay Area chefs to compete for honors. Experts Jim Gordon of WineEnthusiast Magazine, Ellen Fort of Eater SF and Ian White of San Francisco Magazine (see bios below) will sample the gourmet pairings in a blind tasting before awarding Most Innovative Pairing, Judges’ Best Pairing and Best Classic Pairing. 

Guests will have the opportunity to taste the 20 pairings, bid on luxurious silent auction items, enjoy decadent desserts presented by Sysco and cast two votes in the People’s Choice competition for the best red and white wine pairings. VIP tickets ($125 until sold out) include a sparkling wine reception at 4:30pm with wineries pouring on the patio and access to the pairings at 5pm (one hour early). General admission tickets are $85 in advance and $95 after July 1st at This event sells out every year—there will be no tickets available at the door. 

Pairings this year for The Quest for Pairing Excellence are:

  • Concannon Vineyard | The Last Word
  • Dante Robere Vineyards | Scott Wall Chef & Culinary Consultant
  • Eagle Ridge Vineyard | Terra Mia
  • Garré Vineyard and Winery | Garré Café
  • Las Positas Vineyards | Zephyr Grill & Bar
  • Leisure Street Winery | Casse-Croute Bakery
  • Longevity Wines | Backdoor Bistro 
  • McGrail Vineyards | Attraversiamo
  • McKahn Family Cellars | The Banks Vault
  • Mitchell Katz Winery | Atria Senior Living
  • Murrieta's Well | Murrieta's Well Culinary Team
  • Nella Terra Cellars | On the Vine Catering
  • Nottingham Cellars | Hop Devine
  • Omega Road Winery | The Cooperative 
  • Page Mill Winery | Millennium Restaurant
  • Retzlaff Vineyards | Salt Craft
  • The Steven Kent Winery | Sabio on Main
  • Wente Vineyards | The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards
  • Winemaker's Studio | The Grill at Wente Vineyards
  • Wood Family Vineyards | First Street Ale House

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 for tickets and details on all events, which include: 

Friday, July 27 

WENTE LUNCH IN THE GARDEN 10:30am-1pm at Wente Vineyards Join Wente Vineyards Winemakers and Master Gardener Diane Dovholuk as they take you through an experience like none other. Sip on wines created from the very vines you are standing among as you are guided though the vineyards. Afterwards, rest your feet and feast on a delectable meal made with fresh ingredients from Wente Vineyards' on-site organic herb and vegetable garden. [$115] -more- 

COOKING WITH CHEF CHAD WELSH 12pm-2pm at Mitchell Katz Winery Meet us at Mitchell Katz winery for a food curing demo by Chef Chad Welsh. Chef will present a live demonstration on how to cure two different varieties of Salmon; one with fresh dill and black pepper, and one with beets that give the fish a great color. [$50] 

WINEMAKER CONCERT WITH MARK CLARIN AND DANE STARK 6-9pm at Chandler Vineyards Join us for a special night at Chandler Vineyards. Experience the terroir of the vineyard through a rare comparative tasting of Page Mill Winery and McGrail Vineyards’ Chandler Vineyard Chardonnay wines. Winemakers Mark Clarin and Dane Stark will share their musical talents throughout the evening. Spend your night wine tasting, dancing and dining on delicious hors d’oeuvres. [$100] 

A WELL AGED EVENING 7-9pm at Rios Lovell Estate Winery Banquet Hall Guests will begin the evening in the banquet hall of Rios Lovell Estate Winery with a short lecture dedicated to Ports and Port making. The night will continue with Port tastings from the barrel, paired with delicious chocolates and an array of fine cheese. [$45] 

Saturday, July 28 

YOGA IN THE VINEYARD 10am-12pm at Retzlaff Vineyards Lawn Start your morning off with some relaxing Yoga on the lawn at Retzlaff Vineyards. Your yoga instructor will guide you through an hour of stretches, followed by a tasting of wines from Retzlaff Vineyards, Page Mill Winery, Nella Terra Cellars, Omega Road Winery and Nottingham Cellars. Guests are asked to bring their own mat, towel and water. [$30] 

BEES AND BEADS AT EL SOL WINERY 1:30-3:30pm at El Sol Winery Join the Sol Sisters at el Sol Winery for a fun and creative jewelry making experience—all skill levels welcome. Tools and supplies provided for you to make your choice of a lariat, choker, bracelet or earrings. After handcrafting your jewelry, enjoy honey tasting and bee keeping demonstrations with a live, working colony. [$45] 

CONCANNON VINEYARD’S 135TH ANNIVERSARY LANDMARK TOUR 4-6pm at Concannon Vineyard Join Fourth Generation Vintner John Concannon for this fun and fascinating winery experience which includes a walking tour of the stunning 135-year-old landmark vineyard estate and unique topiaries that Ernesto, chief landscaper, has been carefully curating for over thirty years. You will enjoy a special tasting of four award-winning Reserve wines while learning why Concannon is a wine pioneer in California Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah. Complete this memorable tasting experience in a historic setting where Estate Sommelier LeeAnn Kaufman will guide you through a featured wine paired with an exquisitely prepared, small bite. [$55] 

FROM PAST TO PRESENT, A SPIRITS TASTING 6-7:30pm Step back into the 1800s with a live and educational demonstration of the process of spirit distillation. Eckert Estate Winery and Artisan Spirits invite you to engage in a historical overview of the distilling process of brandy, gin, absinthe and liqueur productions. Admire rustic 100-year-old props and tools that were used to produce a number of unique spirits and partake in three different aroma bars and tastings. Challenge your palate in a new way, and see which spirit is your favorite. [$40] -more- 

SUNSET LOBSTER DINNER 6:30-8:30pm at Darcie Kent Vineyards Start your evening by sampling Livermore Valley award winning wines from Darcie Kent Vineyards, McKahn Family Cellars, Fenestra Winery, Wente Vineyards and Page Mill Winery while watching the preparation of a typical East Coast Lobster Bake. The table will be filled with fresh Maine lobster, prawns, sausage, corn on the cob, garlic, artichokes, potatoes, bread and lots of butter. Put on your lobster bib and dig in! [$115] 

Sunday, July 24 

BOOTS ON THE GROUND, WINE IN YOUR GLASS 10am-12pm at Murrieta's Well Guests will experience true "boots on the ground" hiking through the vineyards at Murrieta's Well. Wear your hiking boots or a pair of comfortable walking shoes and get ready to see some amazing views of the Livermore Valley. After the hike, guests will taste through estate-grown wines and sample some small bites from the Murrieta's Well culinary team. [$75] 

MICROCLIMATE TASTING OF LIVERMORE VALLEY CABERNET SAUVIGNON 1:30-3:30pm at The Steven Kent Winery Experience a rare micro climate comparative tasting of cabernet sauvignon in The Steven Kent Winery Reserve Room. Multiple Livermore Valley Wineries will be pouring their cabernets for you to sample side by side. Join us to decide which microclimate terroir your palate prefers. [$65] 

A LITTLE TASTE OF ITALY 3-5pm at Garré Vineyard and Winery Conclude your weekend with an escape to Italy. Garré Vineyard and Winery is hosting an afternoon featuring special Italian varietal wines, bocce ball and antipasto prepared by Garré Café. You will sample wines from Garré Vineyard, Charles R Vineyards, Rios Lovell Estate Winery, Rodrigue Molyneaux and Mitchell Katz Winery. The event will be located outside near Garré’s picnic tables and Bocce Ball Courts. [$55] 

Taste Our Terroir 2018 Judges: 

Jim Gordon – Contributing Editor, Wine Enthusiast Magazine Jim Gordon has been covering the wine industry as an editor and reporter for more than thirty years. Gordon is a contributing editor for Wine Enthusiast magazine and past director of the annual Symposium for Professional Wine Writers at Meadowood Napa Valley. 

Ellen Fort – Eater SF A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America's Greystone campus, Ellen has spent time learning from some of the best wine educators in the country, and working in Napa tasting rooms. She is the editor for Eater SF, covering restaurant and food news in the San Francisco Bay Area. 

Ian White – Wine Director, Modern Luxury San Francisco Ian began his career in the wine industry as the Wine Country Director for 7x7 Magazine. He launched and authored 7x7's "Wine Insider Blog" and developed marketing campaigns. Currently, he is the Wine Director for Modern Luxury San Francisco magazine.

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: