Friday, September 2, 2016

Harvest Wine Celebration showcases Livermore Valley wines

For 35 years, people have gathered in historic Livermore Valley wine country over Labor Day Weekend to enjoy the fruit of the vines. Wine lovers from around the Bay Area descend upon Livermore Valley to partake of the Harvest Wine Celebration.  Since this event is only open to ticket holders, do not miss out on this fantastic event and get your tickets now.

Harvest Wine Celebration is on Sunday, September 4 and Monday, September 5 between noon and 5 p.m., local wineries will offer Livermore Valley’s best wine, food, art and music to ticket holders.  Advanced tickets are $45 each (day of the event tickets are $55).  Tickets include a commemorative Livermore Valley wine glass, admission and tastings of at least two wine varietals at each of the participating wineries, parking and official event program.  Non-drinking tickets are $5.  They are available on-line at the Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association, and several local wineries.

On Sunday, all of the participating wineries will be featuring various events including food, music, vendors, special tastings and more.  Many of them will also have special activities on Monday in addition to the tastings.  For a list of activities at each winery and to learn which ones are accepting the wristband for Monday, please check out the Livermore Valley Winegrowers website.

For the 2016 festival, 30 wineries will host festivities at their tasting rooms across Livermore Valley, and six more wineries will be pouring at either Concannon Vineyard or Wente Vineyards on Tesla Road. All locations will offer wine tasting, fresh food vendors, local artisans and festive music. Wineries are open only to ticket holders with event wristbands.

Wineries hosting Harvest Wine Celebration festivities at their tasting room locations:
Note that this year there will not be tasting hubs at Wente and Concannon and visitors are encouraged to visit the multiple winery locations to experience the wines.  Also, the Livermore Wine Trolley is again offering shuttle service between four west-side wineries, Fenestra, Dante Robere, Las Positas and Cuda Ridge.  

For more information:  
www.LVwine.org or call 925-447-WINE


Blessing of the Grapes takes Livermore Valley into harvest season

As harvest begins in Livermore Valley, winemakers throughout the valley gather with local clergy in the traditional “Blessing of the Grapes” ceremony.  This year they gathered at the 3 Steves Winery on August 17 for the ceremony.  This was a great locatio overlooking the hundreds of acres of vineyards in the valley. The custom of blessing the first fruits of the harvest can be traced back to Old Testament times and has been practiced for centuries in wine producing countries around the world.  

Chris Chandler, Executive Director of the Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association led the event, joined with Pastor Steve Wilde of the First Presbyterian Church of Livermore, Father Mark Wiesner of St. Charles Borromeo of Livermore and Rabbi Larry Milder of Congregation Beth Emek of Pleasanton.  Each member of the clergy told about how wine and grapevines have a special meaning in religion.  

Pastor Wilde stated, “With the harvest there is a lot in which we have control and much that we don’t.  We are grateful that we live in such a beautiful valley and that wine is a central piece in the sacrifice and teachings of Jesus.”

Father Wiesner also noted the importance of wine in Jesus’ teachings stating, “One of the first signs of what Jesus can do was converting water to wine”.   Rabbi Milder pointed out that making wine is an act of faith and we thank the growers, winemakers and others in making wine and it reflects the magic of sunlight.

As the attendees gathered afterwards to celebrate with some wines and cheeses, we learned that many of them have already started the harvest and many told this reporter that they were heading to the fields afterwards to check on the ripeness of the grapes soon to be harvested.



Friday, July 22, 2016

Check out Livermore Valley's newest winery, Leisure Street



Leisure Street tasting room opened this past March at 503 Leisure Street which is just off Vasco Road in an industrial zone a stone’s throw from I-580.  The owners are insurance brokers Rick and Kelly Volpatti.  In fact when they decided to open their winery, they moved their insurance offices from downtown Livermore to a site next door to the winery. 

Kelly and Rick have always loved wine and a few years ago Steve Burman of 3 Steves winery suggested that she try to make her own wine.  They jumped at this chance and found that winemakers of Livermore Valley are a family with a passion for making wine that reflects the great style and variety of Livermore Valley.  Several winemakers were there to help her produce her first Chardonnay.  Besides the Steve’s of 3 Steves, she had help from Mark Clarin, the award winning winemaker at McGrail, plus Collin Cranor of Nottingham Cellars and Rhonda Wood of Wood Family.  They all provided her an education in winemaking and in crafting her wines.  They have grown from a half of ton of Chardonnay that first year to 5, 8, 12, and now 18 tons of grapes, resulting in over 1000 cases.  They have also picked up several barrels of wine from the Thomas Coyne Winery estate, especially some of the great Rhone style grapes that Thomas used to produce. 

Now as new winemakers, owning their own insurance brokerage, developing their winemaking skills and building two companies simultaneously, Rick and Steve definitely are not on Leisure Street yet in their careers. 


Their 2013 GSM with 50% Grenache, 35% Syrah and 15% Mourvedre, a very nice Rhone style blend wine.  I hope you enjoy the nice blend of fruit on the nose and the palate with cherry and blueberry, combined with the spice of the Syrah and backed up by the earthiness of the Mourvedre.

A fantastic Taste Our Terroir in Livermore Valley

The 2016 Pairing Competition of Taste Our Terroir, Livermore Valley’s premier food and wine affair, took place from July 221, provided food and wine lovers a chance to check out the best of Livermore Valley.  This event was sold out and 700 attendees got to sample wines and food from local wineries and restaurants.  Judges Deborah Parker Wong of The Tasting Panel Magazine, culinary instructor and author Linda Carruci and wine writer and educator Fred Swan tasted 18 gourmet food and wine pairings at Livermore Valley’s Taste Our Terroir event. In addition, guests had the chance to taste all 18 pairings and then cast votes for People’s Choice awards for Best White and Best Red Pairings.  The winners were:
 
Best Classic Pairing: Rodrigue Molyneaux and Gan Restaurant
  • Rodrigue Molyneaux 2013 Chateau Molyneaux Merlot, Livermore Valley (winemaker: Garry Rodrigue)
  • Wedding Cheeks with a Charred Korean Pepper Soubise, Crisp Potato and Pickled Red Daikon (chef: Peter Jee-Oh Chung )

Most Innovative Pairing: Dante Robere Vineyards and Lazy Dog
  • Dante Robere 2013 Roberitage, 50% Syrah 50% Cabernet Sauvignon Livermore Valley (winemakers: Dan Rosenberg and Bob Bossi)
  • Minced Chicken in Lettuce Spears with a Sweet Hoisin Sauce (chef: Adrian Rodrigues) 
Judges' Best Pairing: Wente Vineyards and The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards
  • Wente Vineyards 2014 Small Lot Serenity, Livermore Valley (winemaker: Karl D. Wente)
  • Berkshire Pork Sausage with Bing Cherry Mostarda and Riesling Fermented Kraut (chef: Mike Ward)

The coveted People’s Choice Awards were given to:

Best White Wine Pairing: Longevity Wines and Johnny Garlic’s
  • Longevity Wines 2015 Pinot Blanc, Livermore Valley (winemaker: Phil Long)
  • Won Ton Taco with Ahi Tuna, Mango Jicama Salsa, Wasabi Cream and Eel Sauce (chef: Ulises Rodriguez)

Best Red Wine Pairing: McGrail Vineyards & Winery and Beets Hospitality Group 
  • McGrail Vineyards and Winery, Cabernet Sauvignon, Livermore Valley (winemaker: Mark Clarin)
  • 12-Hour House Smoked Dry Rub Brisket with Homemade Smoky Paprika Pimento Cheese in a Crispy Risotto Shell (chef: Clay Brunton)

Over the following three days wineries across Livermore Valley will host cooking classes, blending sessions, vineyard tours and other unique experiences highlighting the region’s terroir. Most of these events were sell-outs.


A fantastic Taste Our Terroir in Livermore Valley

The 2016 Pairing Competition of Taste Our Terroir, Livermore Valley’s premier food and wine affair, took place from July 221, provided food and wine lovers a chance to check out the best of Livermore Valley.  This event was sold out and 700 attendees got to sample wines and food from local wineries and restaurants.  Judges Deborah Parker Wong of The Tasting Panel Magazine, culinary instructor and author Linda Carruci and wine writer and educator Fred Swan tasted 18 gourmet food and wine pairings at Livermore Valley’s Taste Our Terroir event. In addition, guests had the chance to taste all 18 pairings and then cast votes for People’s Choice awards for Best White and Best Red Pairings.  The winners were:
 
Best Classic Pairing: Rodrigue Molyneaux and Gan Restaurant
  • Rodrigue Molyneaux 2013 Chateau Molyneaux Merlot, Livermore Valley (winemaker: Garry Rodrigue)
  • Wedding Cheeks with a Charred Korean Pepper Soubise, Crisp Potato and Pickled Red Daikon (chef: Peter Jee-Oh Chung )

Most Innovative Pairing: Dante Robere Vineyards and Lazy Dog
  • Dante Robere 2013 Roberitage, 50% Syrah 50% Cabernet Sauvignon Livermore Valley (winemakers: Dan Rosenberg and Bob Bossi)
  • Minced Chicken in Lettuce Spears with a Sweet Hoisin Sauce (chef: Adrian Rodrigues) 
Judges' Best Pairing: Wente Vineyards and The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards
  • Wente Vineyards 2014 Small Lot Serenity, Livermore Valley (winemaker: Karl D. Wente)
  • Berkshire Pork Sausage with Bing Cherry Mostarda and Riesling Fermented Kraut (chef: Mike Ward)

The coveted People’s Choice Awards were given to:

Best White Wine Pairing: Longevity Wines and Johnny Garlic’s
  • Longevity Wines 2015 Pinot Blanc, Livermore Valley (winemaker: Phil Long)
  • Won Ton Taco with Ahi Tuna, Mango Jicama Salsa, Wasabi Cream and Eel Sauce (chef: Ulises Rodriguez)

Best Red Wine Pairing: McGrail Vineyards & Winery and Beets Hospitality Group 
  • McGrail Vineyards and Winery, Cabernet Sauvignon, Livermore Valley (winemaker: Mark Clarin)
  • 12-Hour House Smoked Dry Rub Brisket with Homemade Smoky Paprika Pimento Cheese in a Crispy Risotto Shell (chef: Clay Brunton)

Over the following three days wineries across Livermore Valley will host cooking classes, blending sessions, vineyard tours and other unique experiences highlighting the region’s terroir. Most of these events were sell-outs.


A fantastic Taste Our Terroir in Livermore Valley

The 2016 Pairing Competition of Taste Our Terroir, Livermore Valley’s premier food and wine affair, took place from July 221, provided food and wine lovers a chance to check out the best of Livermore Valley.  This event was sold out and 700 attendees got to sample wines and food from local wineries and restaurants.  Judges Deborah Parker Wong of The Tasting Panel Magazine, culinary instructor and author Linda Carruci and wine writer and educator Fred Swan tasted 18 gourmet food and wine pairings at Livermore Valley’s Taste Our Terroir event. In addition, guests had the chance to taste all 18 pairings and then cast votes for People’s Choice awards for Best White and Best Red Pairings.  The winners were:
 
Best Classic Pairing: Rodrigue Molyneaux and Gan Restaurant
  • Rodrigue Molyneaux 2013 Chateau Molyneaux Merlot, Livermore Valley (winemaker: Garry Rodrigue)
  • Wedding Cheeks with a Charred Korean Pepper Soubise, Crisp Potato and Pickled Red Daikon (chef: Peter Jee-Oh Chung )

Most Innovative Pairing: Dante Robere Vineyards and Lazy Dog
  • Dante Robere 2013 Roberitage, 50% Syrah 50% Cabernet Sauvignon Livermore Valley (winemakers: Dan Rosenberg and Bob Bossi)
  • Minced Chicken in Lettuce Spears with a Sweet Hoisin Sauce (chef: Adrian Rodrigues) 
Judges' Best Pairing: Wente Vineyards and The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards
  • Wente Vineyards 2014 Small Lot Serenity, Livermore Valley (winemaker: Karl D. Wente)
  • Berkshire Pork Sausage with Bing Cherry Mostarda and Riesling Fermented Kraut (chef: Mike Ward)

The coveted People’s Choice Awards were given to:

Best White Wine Pairing: Longevity Wines and Johnny Garlic’s
  • Longevity Wines 2015 Pinot Blanc, Livermore Valley (winemaker: Phil Long)
  • Won Ton Taco with Ahi Tuna, Mango Jicama Salsa, Wasabi Cream and Eel Sauce (chef: Ulises Rodriguez)

Best Red Wine Pairing: McGrail Vineyards & Winery and Beets Hospitality Group 
  • McGrail Vineyards and Winery, Cabernet Sauvignon, Livermore Valley (winemaker: Mark Clarin)
  • 12-Hour House Smoked Dry Rub Brisket with Homemade Smoky Paprika Pimento Cheese in a Crispy Risotto Shell (chef: Clay Brunton)

Over the following three days wineries across Livermore Valley will host cooking classes, blending sessions, vineyard tours and other unique experiences highlighting the region’s terroir. Most of these events were sell-outs.


Friday, July 15, 2016

Santa Cruz Mountains wineries invite wine lovers for Passport in July

Santa Cruz Mountains is a unique treasure in the South Bay with a mixture of wonderful wines and beautiful scenery.  A drive through the mountains on Passport day delivers a relaxing afternoon as you explore the wines in this wild region.  It is home to over fifty great wineries producing legendary wines.  Take a drive through the idyllic Santa Cruz Mountains on Saturday July 16 Noon to 5:00 p.m. to visit some of the small wineries hidden among the trees.  Passport is always a great time to visit Santa Cruz Mountains wineries - from Half Moon Bay to Gilroy - your experience is bound to be unique and memorable. Passport holders will be invited to tour the facilities, meet the winemakers, and sample the fruits of their labors - including special wines poured only for participants in the Passport Program! From mountain top vistas to passing llamas along the winding drive through the Santa Cruz Mountains each winery has a flavor that will leave you wanting more.

Information about Santa Cruz Mountains Passports
  • Passport Days occurs four times a year on the third Saturday of January, April, July and November.
  • Wineries generally closed to the public are only open on Passport Days.
  • Passport is your opportunity to meet our legendary Winemakers of the Santa Cruz Mountains and taste some fabulous terroir driven wines.
  • Use the MAP in the Passport as a rough guide only. Please make sure to read the directions for each individual winery.
  • At each winery you visit, a page of your Passport will be given a unique commemorative stamp.
  • You must have your Passport to have your tasting fee waived at each participating winery.
  • Many wineries have limited access and parking. Before hiring a stretch limousine or bus, call the wineries you propose to visit and make arrangements.
  • Passports can be purchased at any participating winery.


For more information, or to order your passport, visit the Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers web site at http://scmwa.com/event/july-2016-passport/  You can also purchase a Passport at any participating winery.

Participating Wineries in the Santa Cruz Mountains Alfaro Family Vineyards, Armitage Wines, Bargetto Winery, Beauregard Vineyards, Big Basin Vineyards, Bonny Doon Vineyards, Bottle Jack Winery, Bruzzone Family Vineyard, Burrell School Vineyards, Byington Winery, Cinnabar Vineyards, Clos LaChance Wines, Clos Tita Winery, Cooper-Garrod Vineyards, Dancing Creek Winery, Domenico Wines, Equinox Wine Cellars, Fellom Ranch Vineyards, House Family Winery, La Honda Winery, La Rusticana Vineyards, Left Bend Winery, Loma Prieta Winery, McHenry Vineyard, Michael Martella Wines, MJA Vineyards, Muccigrosso Vineyards, Muns Vineyard, Naumann Vineyards, Nicholson Vineyards, Odonata, Poetic Cellars, Portola Vineyards, Radonich Brothers Vineyards, Ridge Vineyards, Roudon-Smith Winery, Russian Ridge Winery, Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard, Sante Arcangeli Family Wines, Savannah-Chanelle Vineyards, Ser, Silver Mountain Vineyards, Silvertip Vineyards, Stockwell Cellars, Storrs Winery, The Mountain Winery, Villa del Monte Winery, Windy Oaks Estate Vineyards & Winery, Woodside Vineyards, Wrights Station Vineyard & Winery and Zayante Vineyards.

For directions and to make sure where each winery is pouring for Passport, visit the Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers website.

For more information: