If you are looking for the best wine tour in California it is not in Napa or Sonoma; you need to head straight to Livermore.
The Livermore Wine Trolly is fun and fascinating. It is by far the best wine tour in California.
Livermore is a charismatic town 35 miles east of San Francisco California. The downtown is full of amazing restaurants, charming coffee cafes and one of a kind shops. With it’s eclectic, welcoming vibes you cannot help but smile as you walk down the tree-lined streets of this historic town. Livermore is home to over 50 wineries but is often overshadowed by well know Napa and Sonoma. However, in my opinion, Livermore is the must-visit wine destination in California. Think of it as the young, funky hipster of the wine group. With the Mediterranean climate; Chardonnay, Petite Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Burgundy and Bordeaux styles of wine all do very well in the area, with Livermore producing some of the best wine in the state.
The best wine tour in California is offered in Livermore and it takes you on your experience by trolley. The Livermore Wine Trolley picks you up in downtown Livermore in an old-fashioned trolley car and takes you to three wineries in the area. The wineries change daily so you are not sure which ones you will stop at until the day of the tour.
We were very fortunate on our tour and we were served up a tour full of class, beauty and charm.
Wente (The Class)
The moment you step foot off of the trolley onto Wente grounds class and elegance surround you.
Wente Vineyard is the country’s oldest continuously operated, family-owned winery and this year they are celebrating their 135th anniversary.
The grounds contain their own caves that naturally cool & store the wines as they age away from the Mediterranean climate. Wente offers private wine tastings, wedding receptions and wine courses right in the caves. Something very classy about this winery is their commitment to environmental sustainability. All of their tasting rooms are drop off spots for Cork ReHarvest a program designed to recycle wine corks. The vineyard has living soils that use recycled organic hydrolyzes fertilizer to eliminate the use of tractors, they are using natural oils to control pests, convert waste from the kitchen into biodiesel fuel, and use drip irrigation to reduce water usage. Creating amazing wine while making huge efforts to help the environment, very classy Wente!
If possible try to plan your trip around one of their summer concert series in their gorgeous natural outdoor amphitheatre. Sipping on delicious wine, while listening to enchanting live music, nestled in the heart of the Livermore Valley, does life get any better than that!
Rios-Lovell Winery (The Beauty)
Perched on a hilltop this winery offers panoramic views of the Livermore Valley.
This is where we had our amazing gourmet lunch, which allowed us more time to take in the spectacular views. Afterwards, we were able to enjoy our wine tastings as we walked around the beautiful grounds and we were even privileged enough to get to stroll among the vineyards.
Your tour guide will have to drag you back on the trolly kicking and screaming as you could easily sip the day away here, trying different wines and enjoying the spectacular view and peaceful atmosphere.
Cedar Mountain Winery (The Charm)
Cedar Mountain Winery drips with charm. The winery makes hand-crafted small lot wines and hosts a smaller winery with the wine owners and makers right on site. Earl and Linda Ault are the owners and winemakers and are one of the main reasons why this is the best wine tour in California. They were both trained in science but their passions lied in food & wine so they decided to open a winery. They are two of the most genuine and friendly people you would ever hope to meet. Earl suggested a wine from the tasting menu that I would not have chosen myself and thus started my love affair with California Zinfandel wines. After the tour the two of them sat and sipped with us, talking about their love for wine, Livermore and the people they get to meet each day. Cedar Mountain Wine was amazing, but the flavour was definitely enhanced by the genuine joy that this couple had for making delicious wine that people would truly enjoy.
The class, beauty and charm of Livermore are what sets it apart from the more well known wine destinations in the state. This trifecta is what makes it the best wine tour in California. Not only will you experience amazing wine, you will also be immersed in authentic wine culture and a passion for creating something that can be shared. Cheers to that!
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