If you’re a wine lover like myself and you live in or are visiting the San Francisco Bay Area, then you’re in luck with this Livermore winery guide. Now, you may be wondering if you’re in the Bay Area why wouldn’t you just go to Napa? Well, for one Livermore isn’t very far. Secondly, there is something about these local Livermore wineries that make them so special. You have the opportunities to create relationships with the Owners and winemakers while enjoying delicious wines. It’s all about personal experience, however. So here is a list of some of my favorite wineries that I’ve been to so far in Livermore Valley.
This is the first winery that I experienced in Livermore and it easily became a favorite. Not only is it one of the more affordable wineries, but it also has such a small family feel to it. You instantly feel welcome. They have an indoor tasting room as well as outdoor seating but the best part is their open vineyards. You can walk throughout them which is not only great for pictures but just beautiful to sip wine while you take a stroll.
Las Positas Winery has really come a long way from when I first visited, but COVID probably has a lot to do with that. They have delicious wines, an indoor tasting room, and now they also have an outdoor seating area. If you’re familiar with the hot Livermore weather, you’ll know it’s not always ideal to sit outside. However, any winery that gives you that option is a winner in my book. You also have a beautiful view of the rolling hills in the background at this location as well.
McGrail is perfect for a family friendly winery day. They have a huge grassy area in the front where families can picnic on the lawn, drink wine, and let their kids run around. In the back, there is lounge seating with games such as a life size Jenga game which is super fun. This area is more for the adults if you want to steer clear of the kiddos. They also used to have lots of events as well which will probably resume when things open up again. These included live music, food vendors, and special wine releases.
Rios-Lovell is a more laid back type of winery. This isn’t the kind of place that you would go all out and get dressed up for but that’s what is so great about it. It’s relaxed with a chill vibe where you can enjoy a flight of wine for an affordable price. They have a ton of outdoor seating that is perfect for sunny days or an indoor seating area for the days that are too hot. They also have great events where for just $20 you get a plate of food (whichever food is featured that day) and unlimited wine. I would also highly recommend trying their champagne.
If you’re going to Wente, prepare to dress up and dish out the money. They have a really good selection of red wines but they are on the pricier side of things. You definitely pay for the experience since they’re more upscale. They also have a restaurant that is so delicious but again, very pricey. If you’re feeling like you want to splurge, I would suggest trying them out. It’s great for special occasions if anything like birthday or anniversary dinners. They also have concerts here so be on the lookout for that when things open up again.
Ruby Hill is another higher-end winery but it can be well worth it. During my visit here, one thing that stands out is that they give you a tasting straight from the barrel which was so good. Pre-COVID they offered a barrel room experience which is only $25 per person for a group of 6 or more which includes light snacks and a tasting. It’s a great place to plan a small party when we can do that again.
If you’re into croquet, low key vibes, and lounging with wine, Charles R Vineyards is the perfect place. This winery is at the end of the road so it’s easy to be missed but you won’t want to. It offers such a chill environment with an affordable tasting that it is the perfect spot to end your tasting day. You can also work your wine off with a little game of croquet as well. Or if you don’t know how to play like myself, it’s a fun way to hit a ball.
I’ve been to this winery a few times now and each time, I’ve enjoyed it just as much. They’re not offering tastings anymore because of COVID so if you get a glass, I would recommend the reds. They have an outdoor picnic seating area with benches, shade from the sun, and beautiful views of the hills in the background. Also, if you’re lucky, chances are you’ll meet at least one of the Steve’s while you’re there.
If you give Tenuta Vineyards 30 minutes, you’ll be friends for life. Or so their motto says. But it really is true because they’re so friendly. The best part is that this is a Woman Owned winery so it really stands out to me. I’ve never met the Owner but I have met her significant other. He is not only the face of the operations but more than likely the one to become your friend. If you go to Tenuta, chances are you may not be super impressed by the wines, but the service will keep you coming back over and over.
Livermore has more than 45 wineries so this is just barely scratching the surface. However, hopefully it’s a good start to your Livermore winery guide and will get you going for the upcoming Summer months. If you need a little outfit inspo, follow along in my fashion journey on the liketoknow.it app to get ideas for what to wear for your upcoming wine tasting.