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Sunday, September 30, 2018

Wine Dogs Can Live it Up in Livermore

Livermore, CA
November 12-13, 2017

The Wine Dogs always look forward to the annual Wine Bloggers Conference (we are preparing for our 5th), a highlight of which are the pre- or post-conference excursions where we can truly dig into a region.

2017 brought a trip to the Livermore Valley, part of the Tri-Valley (Livermore, Amador, and San Ramon) which bills itself as “The Sunny Side of the Bay” – a welcome change from days of gloomy weather with an occasional sun break in Sonoma.  
Chris Chandler of the Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association notes Livermore is very Dog Friendly.

As soon as she boarded the bus, Ecco knew she had chosen wisely. In her overview of the region, Chris Chandler, Executive Director of the Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association, noted the region is VERY dog friendly. 
A glance through the winery guide bears that out – with 30 of the 43 wineries listed including a paw icon indicating dogs are welcome. Paws up!
Check out Livermore Valley's Wine & Wags event on June 2, 2019. 28 wineries participated at the first annual event last year!
Ecco searches out the "Mother Vine,"  at Concannon 
Deep Roots: Livermore Valley’s roots as a wine-growing region run deep. English merchant Robert Livermore planted the first commercial vines in the 1840s. He was followed by the Wente, Concannon, and Wetmore families in the early 1880s. Concannon's "Mother Vine" is the source of 80% of all California Cabernet Sauvignon while Wente's clone 4 is the source of the majority of the 100,000 acres of Chardonnay planted throughout California. In 1889, Charles Wetmore's Cresta Blanca Vineyards won the Grand Prize at the International Exposition in Paris for his first Sauvignon Blanc vintage, putting Livermore (and California) wine on the world map.
Ecco helps Jim Concannon celebrate his 85th Birthday and Concannon's 134th consecutive Cabernet harvest
CEO Carolyn Wente is focused on rgw 5th generation now entering the family business.
Ecco brought home an outstanding Sauv Blanc from Murrieta’s Well, a property dating to 1884 and now owned by the Wente family where the bloggers enjoyed lunch paired with stand-out wines.
Ecco checks out the 1884 property that serves as a tasting room at Murrieta's Well
Climate and Terroir: The Ghielmetti Vineyard offered a perspective on the aspects of geography and terrior that make Livermore a great wine region – the high mountain valley (900 feet above sea level), rocky soil, and east-west orientation. The Altamont Pass keeps cool air from the Bay in Livermore, creating an excellent ripening climate characterized by warm days and cool nights.
Ecco explores the Ghielmeti Vineyard with winemakers Steven Kent (Steven Kent Winery), Mark Clarin (McGrail Vineyards) and Collin Cranor (Nottingham Cellars)
Urban Pioneers: Livermore also boasts a thriving urban winery scene. Arriving first was Longevity Wines, which features a funky tasting room filled with antiques. You will be welcomed by owner Phil Long and winery dog Press-ton, a Havenese featured as “Mr. November” in the 2017 SPCA Critter Catalogue. Next door is the Wood Family Vineyards, with their signature station wagon logo.
Ecco with Phi Long of Longevity Wines, Livermore's first urban winery.
Ecco with Longevity's Press-Ton, aka "Mr. November"
More to Do: Want to do more than taste? Check out the Wente Winemakers Studio. Ecco tried her paw at winemaking and came up with a lovely red blend while learning what goes into choosing the right grapes. 

Livermore also boasts the first Ice Cream Trail. Restaurants open their patios to four-legged diners, and downtown Livermore features the Smooches Pooches boutique – a Yorkie never knows when she’ll need a new bow.

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