Embark on a delightful weekend adventure to the charming Livermore Valley, a hidden gem boasting not only sun-drenched rolling vineyards but also a rich tapestry of women-led and boutique wineries waiting to be discovered.
Nestled just 45 minutes outside the bustling heart of San Francisco, this wine lover’s haven offers an enchanting blend of beauty and flavor. Get ready to explore the scenic landscapes, indulge in exquisite wines, and uncover the unique stories behind some of the valley’s best-kept secrets.
Join me on a journey that combines the warmth of hospitality with the artistry of winemaking, making your weekend an unforgettable experience in the world of wine!
Where To Stay in Livermore
During my recent visit to Livermore, I stayed in the charming Purple Orchid. With the holiday decorations up, it felt like something straight out of a Hallmark movie! I was ready to fall in love.
The Purple Orchid Wine Country Resort & Spa is a sanctuary of rustic elegance, set amongst lush olive orchards, beautifully manicured gardens, and rolling vineyards. It’s tranquil, with the perfect blend of luxury and comfort.
They also have a beautiful pool and relaxing hot tub, plus free breakfast.
Livermore: Day One Itinerary
Arrive in Livemore and check into your hotel. Then, get ready! A day of adventure and wine tasting awaits. Our first stops are iconic Livermore wineries.
Darcie Kent Estate Winery
Darcie Kent is a family-owned boutique winery founded by fifth-generation vintner and artist Darcie Kent.
Known for its small-lot, handcrafted wines, the vineyard cultivates a variety of grapes, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Franc, using a minimal intervention approach to highlight the region’s distinct terroir. Each bottle features original artwork by Darcie, combining the family’s passion for art and winemaking.
I absolutely oved their charming tasting room, with artwork by Darcie decorating every square inch. It was a true artists’ paradise!
McGrail Vineyards & Wine Tasting
Nestled in the heart of Livermore Valley, McGrail Vineyards is a must-visit gem for wine enthusiasts. Known for their warm hospitality and exquisite wines, this family-owned winery focuses on premium, estate-grown Cabernet Sauvignon… although I fell most in love with their Chardonnay!
The vineyard practices sustainable farming methods and is dedicated to producing high-quality wines with a focus on single varietal, small lot wines that truly express the uniqueness of the terroir.
Murrieta’s Well is one of the most well-known wineries in Livermore and is a historic winery dating back to 1884. It’s part of the Wente Family Estates (also iconic!) and is known for sustainable farming practices and an artisanal approach to winemaking, specializing in blends and single-varietal wines.
The estate, named after Gold Rush-era bandit Joaquin Murrieta who discovered the property’s artesian well, offers a unique tasting experience in a refurbished historic building, featuring a range of high-quality wines and exclusive small lot offerings.
Murrieta’s Well is not just a winery; it’s a journey into the heart of Livermore’s winemaking legacy. Immerse yourself in the rich flavors and stories that make Murrieta’s Well a captivating destination for wine enthusiasts seeking both tradition and innovation.
Dinner: Locanda Wine Bar
Locanda provides a unique guest experience by blending old-world hospitality with authentic recipes. These recipes harmoniously unite traditional Italian and contemporary creative cooking styles in a warm, inviting atmosphere.
Everyone recommended their Zucchini flowers, and I have to agree – they were incredible! You can’t go wrong with anything on their menu. Plus, I love that they have local wines on their wine list.
Livermore: Day Two Itinerary
Start day two of your Livermore winery itinerary off with a visit to another iconic stop – Concannon Vineyard.
Concannon is known as the granddaddy of California Cabernet Sauvignon—clones that came from its rootstock have been used in 80% of California’s Cabernet Sauvignon.
Founded in 1883, Conconannon helped California Cabernet achieve international recognition and is home to America’s first Petite Sirah. It’s one of my favorite wineries here and I can’t recommend it enough to wine nerds who love history! And even if you don’t… it’s a beautiful property with fantastic wines.
Lunch: The Cheese Parlor
To say I’m obsessed with this stop is an understatement. I never knew there was so much to learn about cheese, but I got to talking with The Cheese Parlor owner and proprietor Brandon Wood, and now I can’t stop nerding out about it.
His collection and assortment of cheese is unmatched. Locals recommend his rotating sandwich features, or you can opt for a cheese plate that he’ll curate specifically to your palate.
The shop embodies Livermore’s small-town charm (several winemakers came in while we were there!) and caters to both cheese connoisseurs and casual enthusiasts.
The Steven Kent Winery
After lunch, head over to the Steven Kent winery.
Steven K Mirassou is a member of America’s oldest winemaking family. Six years before Abraham Lincoln was president, the Mirassou family was growing grapes and making wine in San Jose. Now he continues that tradition as the sixth generation in Livermore Valley.
I was absolutely blown away by Steven’s knowledge and passion for the Livermore Valley and Cabernet Franc. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever done a Cab Franc side-by-side flight before, and it was incredible to be able to experience its full range of flavors.
With a commitment to meticulous vineyard management and precision winemaking, Steven Kent Winery combines tradition and innovation to create premium, expressive wines.
Free Range Flower Winery
Located in the same building as Steven Kent, Free Range Flower Winery brings something wholly unique to your wine-tasting itinerary – Instead of making wine from grapes, owner Aaliyah Nitoto makes her wines from fermented flowers!
While flower wine may resemble traditional wine and share similar alcohol contents, its distinct taste is a unique delight worth experiencing firsthand. Ensure a spot for this fun, colorful, and vibrant adventure by making a reservation in advance – plan ahead for a memorable tasting experience.
Dinner: Bottle Taps
This dinner admittedly takes you out of Livermore, just a dash, but it’s well worth the adventure!
BottleTaps in Pleasanton, CA, is a trendy gastropub celebrated for its diverse range of craft beers and upscale pub food. This welcoming spot features a modern, casual atmosphere, perfect for social gatherings and beer tastings.
I’m obsessed with their pretzel charcuterie boards (SO GOOD) and their wide assortment of beer and cider on tap (sometimes you need to cleanse your palate with something lighter and bubbly after a day of wine tasting). They also do trivia nights, which we happened to be in town for, and it was so much fun!
Livermore: Day Three Itinerary
Start your day off with a tasting at Livermore’s newest winery – JMC Cellars. Owned by winemaker Jessica Carroll, JMC focuses on lesser-known wine varieties and brings a touch of artistry to everything she does.
As a photographer, I loved that her labels and branding are inspired by cyanotypes, a type of vintage photographic printing process that produces a cyan-blue print.
Her wines are also absolutely beautiful, and the tasting room has stunning vineyard views. This is one of my favorite stops on the itinerary!
Las Positas Vineyards
And last, but certainly not least, end your Livermore wine tasting adventure with a visit to Las Positas.
This family-owned winery is known for its handcrafted, small-lot, estate-grown wines paired with artisan food offerings. In fact, the food pairability is crucial to everything they make.
Here, wines are served via tasting towers, so you can sip at your own pace and easily revisit. Be sure to order a snack (or two!) from their delicious menu and enjoy how food-friendly everything is.
The winery also features live music regularly, so be sure to check out their calendar of events!
With over 40 wineries and continuing to grow, Livermore is an idyllic destination for wine lovers that’s closer than you might think!
It’s an enticing destination that’s close to everything and beyond your expectations, blending beautiful landscapes with a rich viticulture heritage. With its ongoing resurgence in winemaking, the Livermore Valley serves as a tribute to its illustrious past and a beacon for the future of California’s wine industry, making it an irresistible draw for wine enthusiasts.
I hope you enjoy your trip there and savor every sip. Cheers!
P.S. Curious about more winery options? Check out my post of the Best Wineries in Livermore, here!