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Livermore Valley Wine Country

A Thriving Wine Region in the San Francisco Bay Area

Visitors are sometimes surprised to find a flourishing expanse of vineyards and wineries less than an hour to the east of San Francisco: Livermore Valley Wine Country. Sharing the picturesque canyons and ridges of the area with outposts of suburbia, the welcoming sight of vines and tasting rooms defines the quality of life in the Livermore Valley. To the delight of residents and visitors alike, the region continues to experience a wine renaissance harking back to the golden years of early California wine history.

The Livermore Valley is one of California’s oldest wine regions and played a pivotal role in shaping California’s wine industry. 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. International recognition followed when Livermore Valley captured America’s first international gold medal for wine in 1889 at the Paris Exposition — putting California on the world wine map.

Soon the area boasted over 50 wineries, playing a leading role in the state’s enology and viticulture. Innovations developed in the Livermore Valley include overhead irrigation, mechanical harvesting and roller crushing in the vineyard. Livermore Valley wineries were the first to bottle varietally labeled Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Petite Sirah. Nearly 80 percent of California’s Chardonnay vines trace their genetic roots to a Livermore Valley clone.

Attracted to the rich winemaking tradition, climate, soil and geography, new vintners and winegrowers are working alongside fifth-generation winegrowers to create a Livermore Valley wine renaissance. The region now has over 5,000 acres of vineyards and over 50 wineries, with several more poised to open. Wineries vary in size from limited-release, 100-case labors of love to 400,000-case industry heavyweights, and grapes range from familiar Merlot and Chardonnay to Italian, Rhone and Spanish varieties. The award-winning wines of the Livermore Valley can be found around the globe.

The Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association (LVWA) invites Bay Area residents and visitors to experience the Livermore Valley Wine Country. In addition to a myriad of happenings at the individual wineries, the association hosts several major events each year showcasing the talent, energy and fine wine of the Livermore Valley American Viticulture Area (AVA).

Contact the LVWA office for tickets and more information about these events and the wineries at 925.447.WINE (9463) or www.LVwine.org.

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