Monday, January 24, 2011

The Wine Seeker's Guide to Livermore Valley by Thomas Wilmer

Thomas Wilmer has traveled around the world providing arm-chair travels with his insight on numerous destinations.  He has now given us all an insight to one of the most historic and interesting wine regions right in our own backyard in his book, “The Wine Seeker’s Guide to Livermore Valley”. 

As a personal note, this writer often meets visitors here in Silicon Valley who are looking for something to do during the weekend and usually ask for directions to Napa.  I tell them that we have great wine regions here in the heart of the Bay Area, particularly Livermore Valley, where the wines are fantastic, the tasting rooms are friendly and not packed with groups of limousines and minimal, if any, tasting fees.  Usually the winemaker themselves are there in the tasting room to tell you about their wine and the history of their vineyard. 

Mr. Wilmer does a great job of taking you into the heart of Livermore Valley, first providing you with a brief history of wine in the valley, where winemaking was a part of Livermore Valley life in the mid-1800s.  While Napa is proud of winning the judgment of Paris in 1976 (and the basis of the movie “Bottle Shock”), 

Livermore Valley was winning awards at the Paris Exposition almost 100 years earlier in 1889!  Many of the earliest wineries in California were in Livermore and still exist today, including Wente and Concannon.  The Wente Chardonnay clone is the foundation for Chardonnay throughout California. 

His book continues with an examination of 39 wineries in this region, telling the reader about the history of the winery, introducing them to the winemaker and examining their winemaking philosophy.  This is not a book reviewing each wine, but rather a travel guide to introduce you to the wineries of Livermore Valley and invite you to visit the individual wineries, meet the winemakers and sample their award winning wines on your own. 

The writer continues with a tour of other activities for the wine lover to do in this wine region including review of wine shops, lodging, restaurants, events and other things to do in the region such as the Niles Canyon Railway wine tasting specials, the Livermore Valley Wine and Cycle Tours, Livermore Shakespeare Festival at Concannon Vineyards and more.  This is definitely a book for any wine lover in the bay area to keep handy and use as a source when visitors arrive or just to determine what to do on a sunny California weekend.

This book is available at most Livermore Valley tasting rooms or from RiverWood Books

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