Welcome to the Livermore Valley, one of California’s oldest wine regions. Located just 45 minutes east of San Francisco and reachable by BART, the Bay Area’s rail system, everyone can find a wine here, thanks to more than 50 wineries varying in size, style and selection. The Mediterranean climate of the Livermore Valley means the area can be enjoyed year-round — but when summer arrives, so does a palpable feeling of excitement with the many special events in the region.
Begin your first day with a delicious breakfast in downtown Livermore. Whether you’re looking for locally grown fare that’s light and fresh, or a hearty plate of down-home biscuits and gravy, you’ll find it at any of the towns many restaurants.
Then, head to Las Positas Vineyards, located only a few minutes away. A family-owned winery dedicated to the marriage of Old-World craftsmanship and New World pioneer spirit, the team at Las Positas Vineyards prides itself on small lots of estate-grown wines with unique character and exceptional quality. When you enter, make sure to take in the beauty that surrounds both the interior and exterior of the winery and event venue. Enjoy educational food and wine pairing flights, take an exclusive tour of the vineyard, and taste their award-winning wines. Don’t miss the 2016 Estate Malbec: It won the Red Sweepstakes award in the 2019 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.
Our next stop for delicious wine and breathtaking views is McGrail Vineyards and Winery. Ascend the rolling hills of the Livermore Valley until you reach McGrail Vineyards, perched atop Greenville Road. This is the ultimate California wine country destination, complete with palm trees, Tuscan-inspired architecture, and unobstructed panoramic views of Mount Diablo and the Livermore Valley. Inside the tasting room, you will find a vibrant and experienced team of McGrail wine fanatics and educators eager to have you taste their award-winning Cabernet Sauvignons, like the Reserve Cab which won the SF Chronicle Red Sweepstakes in 2012.
If uncorking a bottle for a lazy afternoon suits you best, grab a lounge chair on the covered patio and get comfortable amidst the sweeping views of the Valley. If the mood strikes, you can play a game of bocce, or go on an educational tour with the winemaker. Feel like a picnic while sipping? Snag a table on the sprawling front lawn or vineyard patio, or relax in McGrail’s exclusive Member Lounge with the Holy McGrail family for a seated tasting. No matter your idea of a perfect day in the Livermore Valley, it can happen at McGrail Vineyards.
End your day where you started by returning to Livermore’s historic downtown district. Recognized by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Downtown Livermore received the Great American Main Street Award in 2009 after an impressive revitalization made it the place to go for food, shopping and entertainment. Stroll the tree-lined streets, play in splashing fountains and explore the countless specialty stores, restaurants, wine bars, craft-beer taprooms, theaters and public parks.
July is an ideal time to visit the Livermore Valley because of the Livermore Shakespeare Festival. This festival has been a not-so-well-kept secret of the savvy culture seeker who wants top-quality theater in an environment that feels like an escape from the daily grind. This professional theater company has been producing “Shakespeare in the Vineyard” in Livermore Valley Wine Country for 15 years and, in 2015, they teamed up with Wente Vineyards to offer guests a gourmet food truck and wine bars before and during performances. This month, there will be productions of Othello and The Complete Works of William Shakespeare.
July also brings Taste Our Terroir Weekend, Livermore Valley’s premier food and wine affair that celebrates its unique “taste of the land.” From July 25 to 28, Livermore Valley wineries will offer nine events, including a food and wine pairing competition, sparkling wine and rosé events, a falconry demonstration, sustainable garden tours and a blind tasting seminar.
Information about events across Livermore Valley wine country can be found at www.LVwine.org.