Discover the Unique Wines of the Livermore Valley with a Wine Trolley Tour


I found myself on board the heated, vintage-style Livermore Wine Trolley singing ‘California Love’ along with LED lights, when I had least expected it. Along with a group of new acquaintances, I had the opportunity to sample a flight of five award-winning wines from Las Positas Vineyards, located in Wetmore Road, paired with delicacies prepared by their executive chef. On pleasant weather days, most wineries offer open patio tasting which makes this experience an outdoor one.

On this wintry Sunday, we are grateful to be able to partake in a most civilized variety of adventure: the $ tour of the historic Livermore Valley, which includes three winery stops and a designated driver, Fernando, who is endowed with the presence and panache fitting of his former career as San Francisco ers announcer. This tour provides a fresh, comprehensive look at a wine-growing region oftentimes overlooked by many Bay Area natives. Despite living only minutes from this valley, I have come to know it quite well over the years. I have been fortunate enough to interview winemakers, pick up bottles of wine, and even judge competitions.

Participants of this formal tasting experience had the opportunity to sample fourteen wines from three different estates, including the renowned Concannon Vineyard, enabling them to reconnect and observe the terroir of Livermore Valley. It also highlighted how much these wines have progressed, especially when savoring some of the newer varietals being grown in the valley, such as Verdelho and Cabernet Franc. On this chilly day, attendees gathered at Garré Vineyard & Winery, a family-owned establishment on Tesla Road. The winter rainfall had transformed the hills from golden brown to lush moss green, while morning fog still encapsulated the vineyard.

At the Garré Vineyards, we were honorably welcomed to partake in a formal wine tasting experience. While sipping glasses of delectable off-dry sparkling, our guide Martel enlightened us on the history of the winery and owner-winemaker Bob Molinaro. We were informed that his Italian father and uncles had generated red wines from grapes smuggled from Napa Valley, which also served as an inspiration for Mr. Molinaro to establish the winery in the s as a tribute to their legacy. As part of the tasting, we sampled soft, plummy sangiovese and primitivo from estate grown grapes, which inspired both admiration and admiration.

My acquaintances and I were delightfully guided by Martel to a table, being asked not to advance prematurely in the succession of five wines and accompanying two-bite morsels. As we were just beginning to acquaint ourselves with one another, the educator-like atmosphere sparked mutual chortles over draughts of a robust, striking syrah. Martel did an admirable job elucidating the distinctive attributes of each variety and prodding us to return to the selection, experimenting with different wines alongside the tomato basil soup, grilled vegetable flatbread, and other edibles. “Do not let us direct your palate,” she proclaimed. “Discover what pleases you.

Upon our arrival at Garre’s Winery, we were generously presented with a % discount on the already reasonable prices for their wines. Furthermore, Fernando graciously offered to keep our purchases until our tour concluded. We then took our seats as he informed us of our next destination – Las Positas Vineyards, five miles east, owned by Lisa and Lothar Maier. The estate comprises of acres of various vines, including barbera, merlot, tempranillo, verdelho, chardonnay and mourvedre. In addition, the winery has recently opened a full-service lounge, offering seasonal flatbreads and other wine-friendly snacks, accompanied by live music.


In conclusion, the experience of wine tasting with Martel was an enlightening and enjoyable one. Traditional methods of wine tasting were subverted in a truly innovative way, giving us the freedom to taste the wines and find our own favorite combinations with the two-bite morsels. We recognized our own individual tastes independently, learning about ourselves and being able to discover what pleased our palates.


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