Featuring Wente Vineyards, Cuda Ridge Wines, Darcie Kent Estate, Longevity Wines & Rosa Fierro Cellars.
Sip your way through Livermore Valley Wine Country, located just a few miles from the stunning California coast and due east of the iconic San Francisco Bay.
Livermore is known as a relaxed and approachable wine country destination with reasonable tasting fees. It’s also one of California’s oldest wine regions – celebrating its 140th anniversary this year.
Robert Livermore planted the first commercial vines in the area in the 1840s. And while both Wente and Concannon founded their wineries in the early 1880s, those fifth-generation grape growers exist alongside new members of the Livermore Valley wine community, which now totals 40 member wineries.
In Livermore you can still enjoy quality wines without the bigger price tags of the neighboring regions of Napa and Sonoma, with tasting fees averaging $20 per person. Similarly, tastings don’t generally need to be booked weeks or months out, and very often the winemaker may be the one pouring.
Below is a taste of five solid wineries in the Livermore Valley to visit, each with different tasting experiences, plus a delightful place to lay your head at night while you visit the region.
The Wente tasting room is an idyllic setting for the legacy winemaking family of Livermore. Tastings are hosted both indoors in their tasting lounge or on their expansive patio.
Check their calendar for live music dates on the property. And while there, be sure to dig into their Chardonnay offerings, as the Wente Chardonnay clone is the source material for over 70% of the Chardonnay grown in the United States!
Tasting experiences range from $30 for a basic tasting, up to $95 per person, which includes food pairings.
Started by Phil Long and his late wife Debra, the husband-and-wife team forged their path in the wine world with the Longevity tasting room, which opened in 2008. Debra has since passed, but Long continues to run Longevity.
They have a large tasting room in the “Vasco Row” area of Livermore, that feels like a barn, with wood paneling from floor to ceiling, string lights, and regular live music acts on their small indoor stage.
Long is the winemaker and president of the Association of African American Vintners (AAAV). His son, Phil Long Jr. is the assistant winemaker for the Longevity brand. A tasting of 6 wines runs $20.
Cuda Ridge Wines
Larry Dino started making wine at home in 1999 and describes his journey with winemaking as “a hobby gone wild”. Named after the Barracuda muscle car, Cuda Ridge is a quaint place for tasting that feels almost like you are in Larry and Margie’s living room.
They focus on Bordeaux style wines with old world character. The Cabernet Franc and Merlot are both standouts. A tasting of 5 wines runs $20.
Darcie Kent Estate Winery
A fifth-generation vintner and artist, Darcie Kent’s great great grandfather came from Switzerland to the US in 1875 to pursue a career in winemaking. Like her grandfather, Darcie uses her original art for the labels for all Darcie Kentwines.
The tasting room is inside the historic purple barn on the property. Visitors enjoy panoramic views of Livermore’s wine country from the terrace, one of the most peaceful settings in all of Livermore.
A tasting flight of 4-6 wines start at $20. For an evening experience, visit their sister property, the Almost Famous wine lounge and live music venue.
Rosa Fierro Cellars
Livermore local Rosie Fierro started working in wine tasting rooms in 2009. From there she got bitten by the wine bug and helped the winery she was at with harvest and in making their Port-style wine. Eventually Fierro started making her own wine in a local facility with the help from local winemaking mentors. Rosa Fierro Cellars was born in 2014.
The tasting room is modest in size and homey. The wine labels feature Rosie’s beautiful original photography of the unique patterns left by the wine lees on the bottoms of round stainless-steel tanks. A tasting of 7 wines runs $20.
Purple Orchid Wine Country Resort & Spa
The Purple Orchid Wine Country Resort & Spa is a quintessential B&B experience on a 24-acre property with only 10 guest suites. Each room is named, which adds to the feeling like you’re in an old school bed and breakfast that was once someone’s home. Breakfast is freshly prepared and made to order each morning and there is a spa onsite with a full-suite of amenities.
There are thoughtful touches throughout the property, including cozy in-room fireplaces, plush robes, and a Gathering Hour with wine, cheese, and an olive oil tasting each evening. This summer the resort will host a “Music in the Orchard” summer concert series through September.
Rates average $249-$499
A slower pace and approachable wine country awaits you in the beautiful Livermore Valley. Pair your visit with wine, food, live music and enjoy the warm welcome.