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iso: thoughts on wineries worth visiting in livermore. . .REPORT

my so and i were looking to get out of the city this weekend and maybe do some wine tasting in livermore. we've done the napa/sonoma thing many times and had heard that the livermore ares was less touristy and worth visiting.

has anyone been there recently? any recommendations for places to visit, wineries and maybe even a place to stop for lunch (store to pick up yummy grub and blanket-laying location or restaurant)?

thanks in advance!

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  1. I would suggest Mitchell Katz winery on Vineyard. They have beautiful grounds, a few picnic tables and a very nice tasting room. Tenuta has nice grounds, but I do not enojy their wine very much. For food, I would suggest Trio @ Stony Ridge on Tesla. Garré Vineyards & Winery is very nice too. They serve gourmet lunches too.

    1. I liked Thomas Coyne when I was there. Barn-like building slightly elevated with good views out its doors. Very casual. Good wines. I also enjoyed Mitchell Katz--very big, posh, Napa style tasting room.

      1. When we lived in SF a few years ago, we quite enjoyed Cedar Mountain's Duet blend and Cab Sauvignons.

        1. How about the Santa Cruz Mountains instead? David Bruce, Mount Eden, Ridge and Varner are all great wines. It's one of the best places in California for pinot noir and chardonnay.

          1. My family visited Chouinard a few years ago and really enjoyed it. Nice site, nice people, and a very high "hit" rate across the whole range of offerings: http://www.chouinard.com/index.html

              1. Page Mill Winery recently moved out to Livermore. Haven't visited their new location, but I enjoyed their wines and staff when they were on the Penninsula.


                1. I like Fenestra and Livermore Valley Cellars for tastings. They both have fun people at the tasting rooms.

                  Stony Ridge has nice outdoor seating with decent sandwiches.

                  1. thought i'd report back:

                    we braved the 95+ degrees to make it to 3 wineries as well as lunch at trio at stony ridge.

                    trio: dissapointing. food was mediocre and service was horrible. admittedly there were a number of large groups (baby showers etc) and they seemed to be under-staffed, but after waiting 15 min after ordering an app and 2 sandwiches while our stomaches digested themselves everything came out at once. actually, i think that the food there would improve vastly if they 1. stopped pushing the dried out roasted garlic with everything, 2. got a better bread supplier.

                    cedar mountain: loved it! the wine and port were both delish, the staff and proprietors helpful and very friendly. the perfect small-winery tasting experience.

                    steven kent: this place belongs in napa. the tasting room is very pretty, cave-like and very cool which was much appreciated on this sweltering day. h/w they charge $5 each to taste, which is not waived if you purchase bottles. tasting charges + rich bottle prices put this place way out of my grad-student budget. plus side: heard about unfiltered chardonay. they weren't pouring it, but apparently produce it. i'd never heard of such a thing and now must try it! anyone had it, or know where i can get it?

                    thomas coyne: loved it. disclaimer: i am from pittsburgh. thomas coyne is from pittsburgh. enough said :)
                    seriously though, they were pouring their rhones which were great (bought a bottle of the quest blend). mrs. coyne is a sweet heart and as i mentioned before mr coyne and i had a lot of football to talk about. highly recommend it!

                    bonus tidbit for those with any connection to the 'burgh: the coynes are producing a blend called confluence, the make up of which i can't recall, but the pittsburgh skyline is on the label (the old one with 3 river stadium still there)! get it? confluence. the 3 rivers. yinz git out to livermore n'at.

                    1. Unfiltered Chardonnay is nothing new. K&L Wine Club in San Francisco used to carry Newton Unfiltered Chardonnay, which wine critic Robert Parker raved about. I see they currently have none in stock.
                      Other wineries make it.