The Livermore Valley has long been a premier wine region since the mid-1800s. Vintners recognized the region’s climate and terroir as suitable for grape growing. In fact a Livermore Valley wine was the winner in of America’s first Gold Medal for Wine in the 1889 Paris Exposition. To honor this great winemaking and grape growing heritage, the Tri-Valley Conservancy has sponsored “Livermore Valley Uncorked”, an annual wine competition that is open only to wines made from grapes grown in the Livermore Valley.
This writer was honored to be one of the judges in this year’s competition along with other local wine writers, sommeliers, wine makers, wine educators and restauranteurs. It was exciting day working with the other judges as we tasted 126 Livermore Valley wines from 36 different wineries. Each winery was allowed to submit up to 5 wines to be judged in twelve categories. The winners in the 2013 competition are:
The top winners are:
- Best in Show: Ruby Hill Winery, 2009 Petite Sirah
- Best White Wine: 3Steves Winery, 2012 Sauvignon Blanc
- Best Red Wine: Ruby Hill Winery, 2009 Petite Sirah
- Best Dessert Wine: Eagle Ridge Vineyard, 2011 Mad Cait
- Best Sauvignon Blanc: 3Steves Winery, 2012 Sauvignon Blanc
- Best Chardonnay: Darcie Kent Vineyards, 2011 DeMayo Vineyards Chardonnay
- Best Other White: Murrieta’s Well, 2011 The Whip (a blend of Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, Viognier, Semillon, Orange Muscat and Sauvignon Blanc)
- Best Cabernet Sauvignon: Rubino Estates Winery, 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserva Collection
- Best Cabernet Blend: Fenestra Winery, 2009 Conjugation (a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot)
- Best Italian Red: Ruby Hill Winery, 2009 Estate Reserve Sangiovese
- Best Syrah: Wood Family Vineyards, 2009 Madden Ranch Syrah
- Best Zinfandel: Thomas Coyne Winery, 2010 Zinfandel
- Best Other Bordeaux: Murrieta’s Well, 2011 Cabernet Franc
- Best Other Red: Murrieta’s Well, 2010 The Spur (a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Malbec and Petite Sirah)
- Best Petite Sirah: Ruby Hill Winery, 2009 Petite Sirah
In 1900 the valley was home to over 5,000 acres of vineyards and over 50 wineries. Prohibition hit the Livermore Valley wine industry drastically as the vineyards dwindled to only 1,500 acres and only six wineries. As the Bay Area was growing in the end of the 20th century and the California wine industry was expanding, many in Livermore were afraid that the valuable agricultural heritage would be lost by the expansive growth of housing. A group of people and politicians in the Tri-Valley area gathered together to develop the South Livermore Valley Area Plan to provide strong economic incentives and equitable development regulations to promote investment in viticulture and ensure that development limits be placed on agricultural lands.
Following adoption of the Plan in 1994 the South Livermore Valley Agricultural Trust (now the Tri-Valley Conservancy) to protect and steward the land within the plan. The Tri-Valley Conservancy has a mission to permanently protect the fertile soils, rangelands, open space and biological resources, and to support a viable agricultural economy in the Tri Valley area. This mission involves both acquisitions to working with willing landowners to preserve their land in the tri-valley area and through stewardship to consult with property owners about their easement.
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