Daycation to Our Local Wine Country
LIVERMORE, NAPA & SUISUN VALLEY – Travel anywhere within the United States and you will find California wines on the menu. Here in our local region, we’re lucky enough to be a day trip (or less) away from where many of these wines are grown, harvested and produced. While I support wine tasting as a year-round activity, now that Mother Nature has eased her grip on the rain, it’s a great time to plan a winery visit.
With hundreds of wineries to choose from so close to home, we’ve selected a few in Livermore, Napa and Suisun Valley to get you started. Pack a picnic lunch, or create one along the way with gourmet food items sold in local delis downtown, and you’ll have all the ingredients for a wonderful Mother’s Day afternoon.
Livermore Valley Wine Country
Crooked Vine & Stony Ridge Winery 4948 Tesla Road, Livermore
Family owned and operated, Crooked Vine & Stony Ridge Winery features beautifully landscaped grounds. A full-production winery, they make all their wines from grapes grown right in the Livermore Valley. From sparkling whites to award-winning red blends, they have 16 varietals in their arsenal. Winery guests can enjoy tastings, then select a favorite to savor on the front deck or garden courtyard with a picnic lunch. www.crookedvine.com
Dante Robere 1200 Wetmore Road, Livermore
Dan and Bob, the masterminds behind Dante Robere, love to share their winemaking experience and can often be found in the tasting room pouring flights for guests. Choose from two different flights, from Chardonnay to Zinfandel. Be sure to sample some of their specialty red blends, like Dante’s Inferno and Roberitage. The spacious outdoor patio is perfect for a picnic. Or, if you prefer, head across the street to Sycamore Grove Park and enjoy a picnic and stroll through miles of paved hiking and biking trails. Check out the 2.63-mile Winery Loop Trail, where you’ll see olive orchards, almond orchards, and the Olivina Winery ruins. The park has water and restroom facilities. There is a $7 fee to park at Sycamore Grove Park. www.danterobere.com
Ruby Hill Winery 400 Vineyard Avenue, Pleasanton
If you don’t want to pack a picnic, head to Ruby Hill. In addition to 11 varietals of wine, the tasting room has a deli counter with specialty meats and cheeses available for purchase. Enjoy a bite on their patio that overlooks the 150-acre vineyard. www.rubyhillwinery.net
Garré Vineyard & Winery 7986 Tesla Road, Livermore
For a full restaurant experience amongst the vineyards, Garré is an ideal choice; offering a full bar, tasting room and bocce ball. Garré Cafe serves Mediterranean-inspired California cuisine, using herbs and vegetables grown in the property’s own gardens. Open for lunch seven days a week and dinner Thursday – Sunday. The scenic setting of Garré makes it an picturesque venue for weddings, social gatherings and corporate events. www.garrewinery.com
Napa Valley Wine Country
Hagafen Cellars 4160 Silverado Trail, Napa
Founded in 1979, fine Hagafen Cellars wines have been enjoyed by dignitaries at White House State Dinners for years. Make a tasting reservation (required), pack a picnic or pick up something at one of Napa’s renowned delis and check them out for yourself. After, test your skills with a game of corn hole, giant Jenga or Yahtzee. Picnic tables are available on a first-come basis. www.hagafen.com
Pestoni Family Estate Winery 1673 St. Helena Highway South, St Helena
With 125 years under their belts, the Pestoni family may know a few things about winemaking. Their grapes come from some of the highest regarded American viticultural areas, including Howell Mountain and Rutherford. Picnic tables are available for wine tasting guests. If you’re bringing a party of five or more, please make a reservation. www.pestonifamily.com
Suisun Valley Wine Country
Wooden Valley Winery & Vineyards 4756 Suisun Valley Road, Fairfield
Solano County residents who prefer to stay a little closer to home will be happily welcomed by the Lanza family to Wooden Valley. Three generations of winemakers have worked the land with the goal of making the Suisun Valley a world-class wine region. Wines range from sparkling whites to Italian varietals. Guests may bring a picnic to enjoy on the winery property. If you prefer, check out their online event calendar to see when food trucks will be rolling in. www.woodenvalley.com
If you go: Pack a sweater. Even on hot days, tasting rooms will be cool. Bring water, wear sunscreen and a hat. It’s wedding season, so check with the winery before heading out to make sure they aren’t closed for a private event. Tasting fees vary by location ($10-50 per person). Please drink responsibly.
Your Town Daycations is a series featured in the print edition of Your Town Monthly. A version of this article was originally published in the May 2019 editions.