Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Livermore Valley Barrel Tasting Weekend - March 20-21

Livermore Valley wineries are presenting their annual Barrel Tasting Weekend on March 20-21, Noon to 4:30 p.m. each day. Over 25 wineries are offering samples of wines still in development—direct from their barrels. Guests with special event wristbands and official glasses will receive at least one barrel sample at each participating winery. Many winemakers will be present to personally pour and discuss their young wines and offer delicious pairings with gourmet appetizers, artisan cheeses, chocolate and nuts. Live music and special events are planned at several wineries.

Barrel tasting provides wine enthusiasts of all experience levels with a fun “snapshot” of how wine evolves—from grape to glass. Guests will have the opportunity to pre-purchase some of the barrel wines at a discount, before they are bottled and released to the public (a practice known as buying “futures”). Thirteen different varietals, including the rare Primitivo and Alicante Bouschet and ever-popular Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, will be offered for tasting across the region.

The costs are $25 per person when purchased online at www.LVwine.org by March 19, or $35 per person at any participating winery during the event. The price includes at least one barrel tasting at each participating winery, one official tasting glass and a map of participating wineries.

Livermore Valley is not only one of the oldest winegrowing regions in California, but also located in the heart of the San Francisco Bay Area, making it convenient for a weekend in the country sampling great wines. 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 also captured America's first international gold medal for wine in 1889 at the Paris Exposition, putting California on the world wine map. Livermore Valley wineries were the first to bottle varietal labeled Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Petite Sirah. Nearly 80% of California's Chardonnay vines trace their genetic roots to a Livermore Valley clone

Wineries participating in the Barrel Tasting weekend include the following. For more information on events at specific wineries and their location check on the Winery Activity Guide.
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