sfcwc logoWine enthusiasts listen up, here’s the list of Livermore wine winners that stole the spotlight at the 2013 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. Below are six reasons why red wine and white wine lovers should get in their cars and go visit the Livermore Valley, situated amongst  rolling, vineyard filled hills. Just print, snip, and clip this wine list and take it with you when  tasting at some of these award-winning wineries. By the way, all of these winners use grapes from the Livermore wine region, so with each sip, you will be tasting a pure expression of this historic Livermore Valley.

The Old Guards

Like most wine regions, there are always anchor wineries that have reigned for decades. Wente Family Vineyards, still owned by the original clan, spans the valley. Four winning brands: Tamas, Murrieta’s Well, Nth Degree, and Wente can be found at their respective tastings rooms. Don’t forget to visit the award winning restaurant and golf course!

Gold: Chardonnay $10-14.99, Cabernet Franc $39.99

Silver: Chardonnay $20-24.99, Cabernet Sauvignon $20-24.99

Bronze: Cabernet Sauvignon up to $14.99

Concannon Vineyard, the front door to the wine conglomerate, The Wine Group, has been a feature in Livermore since the turn of the century. Visit the tasting room and don’t forget to eat at the Underdog Wine Bar!

Silver: Chardonnay $15-19.99, White Blend over $15, Syrah $25-29.99

Bronze: Chardonnay $20-24.99, Petite Sirah $20 & over, Cabernet Sauvignon $60 & over

The Mover and Shakers

Literally, this winery has moved! Mitchell Katz Winery which formally resided in a winery that was once a pile of rubble and then completely rebuilt, has moved to another corner on winery row. Just past Concannon, Mitch has found a place to open doors to his award winning wines!

Gold: Merlot $20-24.99

Silver: Chardonnay $15-19.99, Petit Sirah $20 & over, Port

Cuda Ridge sits in a lone island amongst a sea of family-friendly neighborhoods, but don’t let that deter you. Walk up and be greeted by this friendly husband and wife duo who treat guests to some of the best Bordeaux style wines that keep winning!

Silver: Petit Verdot, Merlot $25-29.99, Cabernet Franc

Bronze: Syrah $25-29.99

Formed by three good buddies, all named Steve, their wines are sold out of Swirl, a local wine bar in downtown Livermore. 3 Steves Winery is a newbie to the wine scene, these guys produce some great wines and give Livermore excitement that new doesn’t necessarily mean green.

Silver: Cabernet Sauvignon $25-29.99

The Historians

Occupied by the century-old George True Winery building, in 1980 Lanny and Fran Replogle purchased this badly neglected and abandoned winery and refurbished the building which now houses the winery and tasting room. Visiting Fenestra Winery steps your back in time and gives you a glimpse of what the wine region once was.

Double Gold: Bordeaux Blend $40-49.99

Gold: Red Varietals

Silver: Port, Cabernet Sauvignon $25-29.99, Grenache, Petit Verdot, Syrah $20-24.99, Petite Sirah $20 & over, Red Blends up to $14.99

Bronze: Pinot Grigio $15.99 & over

Serving wine out of the historic Chateau Bellevue Winery, Thomas Coyne Winery, also named after the winemaker, started his own label in 1989. In 1881, the building was designed by French engineer Alexander Duvall and then after sitting for decades, refurbished by Coyne before reopening in 1994.

Bronze: Grenache

The Good Neighbors

Occasio and Nottingham all sit within a stone’s throw from each other, in fact they are next door neighbors. Their store-fronts are in warehouses, but you won’t be disappointed by each winery’s uniqueness amid the scant surroundings.

Occasio Winery

Gold: Zinfandel $35-39.99, Merlot $30-39.99

Silver: Sauvignon Blanc $20 & over

Bronze: Cabernet Sauvignon $35-39.99, Chardonnay $25-29.99, Merlot $30-39.99, Petite Sirah $20 & over

Nottingham Cellars

Double Gold: Rhone Blend

Gold: Bordeaux Blend $40-49.99

Silver: Viognier $20 & over, Cabernet Sauvignon $35-39.99, Petite Sirah $20 & over, Malbec, Chardonnay $25-29.99

Bronze: Cabernet $40-49.99 & $50.59.99

The Stars

Last year, McGrail Vineyards won the holy “McGrail” (also the name of their wine club!) and brought home the 2012 Sweepstakes Red Wine from the 2012 SFCWC. Visit their tasting room with sweeping views of the Livermore Valley.

Silver: Cabernet Sauvignon $35-39.99

The Steven Kent Winery is no stranger to good scores and medals and that is because the Cabernet Sauvignon produced out of this winery can be considered some of the best coming out of the Livermore Valley. Situated smack in the middle of winery row, this winery will treat you to what Livermore can achieve.

Best of Class: Cabernet Sauvignon $60 & over

Silver: 2009 Folkendt Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Livermore Valley $60 & over

Bronze: Petit Verdot

The Hidden Gems

Off the beaten path, this quaint winery sits on 5 acres in the south side of Livermore Valley. Rodrigue Molyneaux Winery (nicknamed RM by the locals), has only enough room for about 20 people at a time, but that just means that you get some of the best service in the valley.

Silver: Cabernet Sauvignon $40-49.99

Bronze: Sangiovese

Bent Creek Winery is located down a small road off the “other” winery row in Livermore. Off Vasco Road, turn right on to Greenville, and follow the signs. Great staff and owners (four total!) will take your through a special experience nestled in one of the micro- valleys that run through Livermore.

Double Gold: Petite Sirah $20 & over, Cabernet Sauvignon $25-29.99

Gold: Syrah $20-24.99, Zinfandel $25-29.99

Bronze: Red Blend $25-29.99, Cabernet Franc

If I were an eagle looking to build my nest, I would look no further than Eagle Ridge Vineyard. One of the more eastern wineries, Eagle Ridge is a must-stop spot. The tasting room if filled with trinkets to look at and buy and because of its distance from other wineries, it isn’t well-traveled which means one-on-one experience with the winemaker!

Bronze: fortified wine

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