Friday, August 31, 2018

A fantastic Taste Our Terroir in Livermore Valley

The 2018 Quest for Food and Wine Pairing Excellence of Taste Our Terroir, Livermore Valley’s premier food and wine affair, took place from July 26.  It provided food and wine lovers a chance to check out the best of Livermore Valley.   Judges this year included Jim Gordon of Wine Enthusiast Magazine; Ellen Fort, Editor of Eater SF and Ian White of San Francisco Magazine. In addition, guests had the chance to taste all pairings and then cast votes for People’s Choice awards for Best White and Best Red Pairings.  The winners were:

Best Classic Pairing: Mitchell Katz winery and Atria Senior Living 

  • Mitchell Katz 2013 Speechless Cabernet Sauvignon Blend from Livermore Valley paired with Wagyu ribeye topped with barrel aged Shoyu and fresh grated horseradish from Atria Senior Living

Most Innovative Pairing: Wood Family Vineyards and First Street Ale House 

  • Wood Family Vineyards 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon VIVA from Livermore Valley paired with Indian Fried Chicken Frankie Curry fried chicken, pickled vegetables, spiced aioli and fresh cilantro from First Street Ale House.

Judges’ Best Pairing: Longevity Wines and Backdoor Bistro

  • Longevity Wines 2017 Pinot Blanc from Livermore Valley paired with shrimp Aguachili and local melon on a chili dusted potato chip with avocado crema Aguachili from Backdoor Bistro

The coveted People’s Choice Awards were given to: 

Best White Wine Pairing: McGrail Vineyards and Attraversiamo 

  • McGrail Vineyards 2017 Kylie Ryan Rose from Livermore Valley paired with Mexican street corn, local Brentwood corn, mayo, pimento, pine nuts, lime, chives topped with spicy Chicharron from Attraversiamo

Best Red Wine Pairing: Wood Family Vineyards and First Street Ale House 

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

Livermore Valley Wineries Blessing of the Grapes

Harvest has begun in Livermore Valley and the winemakers from throughout the valley gathered with local clergy on Wednesday, August 21, in the traditional “Blessing of the Grapes” ceremony at Murrieta’s Well Winery.  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.

The Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association is continuing the tradition at the beginning of harvest each year, this year at the beautiful refurbished Murrieta’s Well Winery.  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, Deacon Dave Rezendes of St. Michael’s Catholic Church, Rev. Kenneth Kovacs of Catonsville Presbyterian Church 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 their religion. 

The clergy invited the winemakers and audience to join them in the Blessing of the Grapes for this year’s harvest. As the attendees gathered afterwards to celebrate with some wines and cheeses from Murrieta’s Well, we learned that many of them have already started the harvest and several told this reporter that they were heading to the fields afterwards to check on the ripeness of the grapes soon to be harvested.

For more information: Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association

Friday, August 24, 2018

Harvest Wine Celebration in Livermore Valley September 2

The sun has been shining all year, the grapes are now ripening and the winemakers are starting to harvest in Livermore Valley as they begin to prepare for the 2018 Vintage.  On Sunday of Labor Day Weekend, September 2 from noon to 5 p.m., Livermore Valley wineries will be celebrating the exciting crush season and 37 years of the Harvest Wine Celebration.  Each winemaker hosts activities including wine tasting, arts, crafts and music.  Many will also have additional tastings on Monday as well.  Wine lovers have come from all over the Bay Area and beyond for the past years to enjoy this unique event.  Don’t miss this exciting celebration of winemaking and agriculture here in the heart of the Bay Area.

Tickets are $40 in advance and $45 on September 2 at participating wineries.  Tickets include wine tastings, commemorative Livermore Valley Wine Country GoVino glass, wine discounts and activities.

Some of the special harvest activities include:

  • Vineyard Tours at Murrieta's Well
  • Cork demonstrations at Retzlaff Vineyard
  • Guided tour of the vineyards at Page Mill winery discussing organics, and the transition to biodynamic farming!
  • Aroma bar at Big White House Winery
  • Bottle your own Cuvee at Eckert Estate Winery
  • Barrel and food pairing at Wente Vineyards
  • Discussions with the Winemaker at Wood Family Vineyards

For additional information:

22nd Annual Livermore Airport Open House & Air Show will Feature Tasting of Award-Winning Local Wines

The 22nd Annual Livermore Airport Open House & Air Show will offer a full day of fun for the whole family with wine tasting by Livermore Valley wineries, a fabulous display of aircraft, vintage cars, music, local vendors and an array of food options. Wine tasting ticket packages are available in advance at

On Saturday, October 6, from 10am to 4pm at the Livermore Municipal Airport, 18 local wineries will each pour two of their wines among displays of military, classic, experimental/homebuilt and aerobatic aircraft and vintage cars. Air Show guests also will enjoy mobile gourmet foods presented by Food Truck Mafia, activities for kids and many performances and “flybys” by:

  • Renowned air show pilots, including Vicky Benzing Aerosports, Wild Thing Air Shows, Rich Perkins’ Marchetti and Jacquie B Airshows
  • Military/warbird planes
  • Parachute demonstration jumps

Available online at and at the event, the Livermore Valley Flight package of $20 in tasting tickets and a commemorative Livermore Valley Wine Country GoVino wine glass is $20. Participating wineries will offer both 1oz tastes and 4oz glasses of wine at varying price points.

The Livermore Airport Open House & Air Show is open to the public and all ages are welcome. Guests wishing to partake in wine tasting must be 21+ with a valid ID, regardless of age. Commemorative GoVino wine glasses ($5) and individual wine tasting tickets ($1) will be available a la carte at the event. For more information, visit

Participating wineries include: Bent Creek Winery, Boa Ventura De Caires Winery, Concannon Vineyard, Crooked Vine Winery, Darcie Kent Vineyards, Eagle Ridge Vineyard, Elliston Vineyard, Fenestra Winery, Garré Vineyard and Winery, Leisure Street Winery, Longevity Wines, McGrail Vineyards, Murrieta's Well, Nella Terra Cellars, Page Mill Winery, Vasco Urbano Wine Co., Wente Vineyards and Wood Family Vineyards.

Family Winemakers 2018 Tasting at the Midway in San Francisco

Family Winemakers will host its annual tasting of family-produced and hard-to-find California wines on Sunday, August 26th 2018 at the Midway in San Francisco - 900 Marin Street.   The Sunday tasting is a one day event of award-winning small, family-owned wineries that create wines from many of the state's fabled wine growing regions.  Great Wine -- A Family Tradition!

The Family Winemakers Tasting has been one of the largest wine tasting events in the Bay Area and is the primary event for smaller family run wineries to showcase their wines for media, trade and discerning consumers.  In most cases the wines will be poured by the actual winery owners or winemakers. 

Imagine the opportunity to taste some of the finest wines in California offered by 60 wineries.  You'll find upwards of 40 different varietals or blends from 60 of California's famed appellations.  If you can’t get to the wine country let them come to you! Whether you’re adding to your wine list, retail shelves or your private cellar, this is an opportunity to Taste California!

Consumer tickets start at $60 and are available only at  Early Access tickets for $90 provide admission to the full tasting from 12p.m. - 5p.m.