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12 Livermore Valley Wines You Need to Drink Now

In Northern California wine country, Napa Valley and Sonoma County get all the attention.  Another wine region I love is Livermore Valley, an easy drive from San Jose and Silicon Valley, and 35 miles east of San Francisco.  Livermore boasts 50 plus wineries and is still growing, with about eight new wineries that launched in the past 5 years.

Why do I love LV wine country?  Great wines are a big draw, but what’s even better is that most wineries are small and family owned.  That means you have a good chance of the winemaker or owner actually pouring your wine, which happens rarely in Napa or Sonoma (unless you make an appointment, but I digress).  Because these wineries are not as well known, you don’t get huge crowded tasting rooms or bus loads of tipsy visitors.  The roads are not clogged with tourists as they are in Napa Valley, especially in the summer.  There’s plenty to do besides taste wine, from playing golf or bocce ball to biking and eating well.

DRINK – Barrel tasting in Livermore Valley

ll Livermore Valley is one of my favorite wine growing regions in northern California. It’s easy to get to and is not over run with traffic and tour buses (not yet anyway!) If you’re not familiar with this area, it’s south east of San Francisco, in what the locals call the East Bay. As in many wine regions, there’s an annual barrel tasting weekend, where you can visit the wineries, talk to the winemaker and taste barrel samples. The first stop was at Bent Creek Winery, where they were not only offering samples, they were also doing a blending demonstration. You first tasted samples of Cab from barrels with two types of wood — French and Hungarian oak. There is a difference, one was rounder and softer (French oak) the other much bigger in tannins (Hungarian oak). Then you blended the two samples and the result — it tasted better…