A few weekends ago I had the ultimate staycation in Livermore Valley Wine Country and it was epic. Every year in July, Taste Our Terroir is the most eventful weekend to visit the region. From what I’ve heard from the winemakers, it just keeps on getting better year after year. The weekend kicked off with an amazing wine and food pairing competition where guests and distinguished judges could vote on the best duos. In the days that follow, visitors can enjoy several other events centered around tastings, pairings, and cooking techniques.
As a Bay Area native who hadn’t ever experienced any of the wine offerings in Livermore, I got the best possible crash course learning about the region. Here are the highlights and my ultimate guide on getting the most out of what Livermore Valley has to offer.
Where To Wine Taste
- Murrieta’s Well: one of the most gorgeous wineries we visited on our trip! The main building is the most picturesque farmhouse with both rustic and glam accents. I would envy anyone getting married here! The patio area was equally as perfect, adorned with painted tiles, huge umbrellas, Adirondack chairs, and a lawn perfect for a game of cornhole. I recommend ordering a tasting flight, a cheese board, and just soaking in the ambiance.
- The Steven Kent Winery: the cellar-style tasting room at The Steven Kent is the perfect retreat on a hot Livermore day. The standout wine here was the cabernet franc and the staff was very generous with sampling extra pours from bottles not on the menu.
- Nottingham Cellars: their 2014 cabernet sauvignon paired with a smoked brisket French dip by Sauced BBQ & Spirits won the best basic pairing of the night at LVTOT. I’ll definitely be back soon to drop by their tasting room which is open Thursday through Sunday, 11am – 5pm.
- Retzlaff Vineyards: their 2015 rosé was a huge standout at LVTOT. They are family- and dog-friendly and are open everyday except Wednesdays. Picnic areas may be reserved in advance for groups or 8 or more.
- 3 Steves Winery: of all the winemakers we met at LVTOT, one of the three Steves was unforgettable. These three guys came together with one mission in mind: to make amazing wine. Their 2013 cabernet sauvignon was delicious and I’m eager to visit them soon to try more.
- Ehrenberg Cellars: another winemaker we didn’t get to visit after LVTOT, however we loved sampling their cabernet sauvignon at LVTOT. For more of a family owned boutique winery vibe, give them a visit. They’re open 12-6pm Friday through Sunday.
- Wente Vineyards: Wente is one of the most well known Livermore wineries. Their wildly popular summer concert series is something I totally want to come back for.
Where To Shop
- San Francisco Premium Outlets: the best outlet mall in the Bay Area, and I’ve been a fan since 2013! Some of my favorite stores are Saks OFF 5TH, Bloomingdale’s Outlet, Barneys New York Warehouse, J.Crew Factory, and Banana Republic Factory. There are over 130 stores to browse, so come early for the best parking and be ready to shop!
- KJCAPPAREL: this adorable boutique was started by two friends wanting to inspire women to feel their best by wearing what makes them feel beautiful and empowered. They offer a curated selection of clothing, swimwear, shapewear, and accessories so there is truly something for everyone.
Where To Stay
- Hyatt House Pleasanton: this was our homebase for the weekend and it was about a 15-20 minute ride from everywhere on our list. Hyatt House is a suite hotel where rooms are equipped with kitchens and spacious living areas to make your stay extra comfortable. We also loved the pool, patio area, and free parking.
How To Get Around
- Uber: your designated driver, on demand. I use Uber almost daily getting around the city, and Livermore was no different. Few wineries are walkable in the valley, and an Uber is usually only a 5-10 minute wait once summoned.
- BART: did you know Livermore Valley is the only BART-able wine region in California? To get to the region in the first place, I recommend BART. Depending on where you stay overnight, your hotel may provide a shuttle service to and from a BART station.
- Livermore Wine Trolley: while we didn’t get around to it on this trip, the wine trolley is the most popular method of transit for wine tasting. It looks super fun and is both smart and affordable.
The wine tasting options in Livermore offer something truly for everyone. Livermore is the perfect place to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. It was such a treat to experience and explore. Thanks for reading, and happy travels!