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Jun 8, 2013 10:22 PM

Livermore: Wente Vineyards Estate Beef

At a dinner party last weekend, one of the other guests turned out to be a manager at Wente Vineyards in Livermore. This was my chance to get more details about the estate-raised cattle I’d heard about. Have any chowhounds tried this beef?

While he’s not directly involved with the restaurant or the cattle program, he could still address most of my questions and had no trouble telling me when he did not have the details. The herd’s about 80 head, grazing on two different pastures on the property. The cattle are grass fed, and their finishing diet is supplemented with some grain but no corn. And each gets a bottle of red wine a day to enhance marbling and the flavor of the meat! They stay on the pasture until they’re sacrificed at a Stockton slaughterhouse and do not go to a feedlot.

He said that the estate beef served in The Restaurant is prime grade and dry aged. He suggested that I stop by for lunch to try the burger. A strip steak is also available on the dinner menu. He also mentioned that more than 80% of the restaurant’s sourcing is from a 30-mile radius. The estate garden provides 25 to 40% of the produce.

Dinner menu

The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards

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  1. "Each gets a bottle of red wine a day" -- amazing!

    A variation on premium Japanese cattle practice. A popular 1970s beer book that I have shows a memorable photo of a cow looking rather eager, while a handler pours a bottle of beer into its mouth. Caption "Kirin beer fattens Kobe beef."

    3 Replies
    1. re: eatzalot

      I read somewhere that the wine diet is a French technique. Hope to hear a first-mouth report from somebody.

      1. re: Melanie Wong

        Hard to believe they give 29,000 bottles of wine a year to their cattle!

        1. re: Ruth Lafler

          The wine's only in their finishing diet.