Westover Vineyards is a real find hidden along the beautiful Palomares Road in the hills between Castro Valley and Pleasanton. Bill Smyth purchased this estate in 1987 with the intention of raising horses. Soon after he moved to this area he met George and Caroline Chouinard who had a winery just down the road from Bill’s Palomares Canyon ranch. Bill has invented much for the medical industry and now he wanted to use that creativity in the developing fine wine and now produces over 6000 cases a year at his winery.
Every winery needs something that makes them special and sets them apart from the almost 3000 wineries in operation in the state of California alone! Bill focused on ports as his uniqueness. Often wineries will have 2 or 3 port or dessert wines; Westover offers more ports than any other winery in the country. They have two dessert wines, five white ports and almost 20 red ports on their tasting menu. If you love port, Westover has to be on your list of local wineries to visit!
However, while ports might be the reason to visit, they are not the only wines to taste during your adventure at Westover. Start off with a very refreshing Rose Reserve California Champagne from Palomares Vineyards. It is infused with raspberry and strawberry flavors and while it might not be Dom Perignon, you can save hundreds of dollars by picking up a bottle of this delicious refreshing wine for only $16.
The 2004 Je t’aime (I Love You) Meritage from Livermore Valley is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. It is rich in dark cherry with a touch of chocolate and has a long finish. A very special wine is their 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon from Pleasanton Ridge. This wine is from grapes grown in the highest vineyard in Livermore Valley and is rich in dark cherry and blackberry, round tannins and has a touch of chocolate and cassis.
And then you move on to the ports. Bill Smyth says, “Ports are good for any time and should not just be considered as dessert wines, they are good for BBQ and steaks.”
He has a white double chocolate white port that is so rich in chocolate that you have to shake the bottle to blend the inch or so of chocolate back into the wine. The range of ports available includes ports made from Zinfandel, Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah. For your tasting pleasure, they also have a red chocolate port, red vanilla port, a red chocolate coffee port, and a double chocolate red port. At the high end is a Portuguese style port, Late Bottled Vintage (LBV) port and 10 year Tawny ports.
Westover Winery produces all their wines on site and also has space for events and weddings. Visit Westover at 34329 Palomares Road between Interstate 580 and Niles Canyon Hwy 84. They are open for tastings 12 to 5 p.m. on weekends and 1 to 4 p.m. weekdays.
For more info:Westover Vineyards