You know Napa and Sonoma, now it's time to explore the historic wine region that's home to the first California wine ever to win a French competition. Next week, Livermore's “Taste Our Terrior" is a perfect opportunity to visit.
At the region's premier event, choose from a wide range of experiences and meet local chefs, winemakers, and winery families, like the McGrails, who won “Best Red Wine of 2012” at the SF Chronicle Wine Competition, the largest competition of American Wines in the World. Here are a few of our top picks for the weekend:
This creative competition pairs local winemakers with 20 top Bay Area chefs, who compete for awards and bragging rights. Guests sip, munch, and mingle while chefs create custom dishes, all designed to pair with local wines. Obviously the main goal of the day is to enjoy tasty cuisine and get a decent buzz, but your vote also counts towards the People's Choice award. Thursday, July 18, 6-9 pm, $85, Casa Real Event Center.
Image Courtesy of Steven Kent Winery
Steven Kent Winery makes some of the best wines in Livermore, and while my personal favorite is the Pinot Noir, they also make one heck of a Cabernet Sauvignon. So if you’re into Cabernet, this is your chance to learn a great deal of general information about this famous varietal, while comparing the specific characteristics of three prized vineyards and their wines. Sound good? You’ll also dig “Let’s Talk Cabernet” on Saturday. Friday, July 19, 4 - 5:30 p.m. $45 Steven Kent Winery.
Image Courtesy of Cuda Ridge Winery
This is your opportunity to put a personal spin on the beloved Bordeaux-style blend. Larry Dino, winemaker of Cuda Ridge Winery, will give you everything you need to create a wine straight from the barrel, while you soak up the “research” with hearty appetizers. Saturday, July 20, 1:30 - 3:30 p.m. $60 Cuda Ridge Winery.
Image Courtesy of McGrail Vineyards
If you’re interested in winemaking but want to skip all the fuss, this laid-back yet high-end experience will suit you just fine. McGrail Vineyards has been packed and popular since winning the SF Chronicle Award for best red, but the family and team haven’t let it go to their heads. Winemaker Mark Clarin is about as down to earth as the come, and will personally squire you through vineyards, from the crush pad to the barrel room, for an educational tour and tasting. Sunday, July 21, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. $35 McGrail Vineyards and Winery.