Plan a trip to Sonoma wine country

Of all California’s wine regions, Sonoma may be the easiest to fall in love with. Visit this laid-back land of vineyard-rich valleys, from Sonoma to Dry Creek to Alexander, with the Russian River thrown in

A California wine lover's day trip to Livermore

Sip and stroll close to home and far away from the tourist hordes

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Livermore

  • Livermore

    Rural Tesla Road

Livermore

  • Livermore

    Uncle Yu's

THE TOUR:

1. HIT THE ROAD (responsibly)
Sip your way along scenic Tesla Road. First stop is La Rochelle ($15 pairing; 5443 Tesla) for Pinot Noir and pairings. Next door at the Steven Kent Winery ($5 tasting fee), sample the Cab, then swing by Tamás Estates for Italian varietals like crisp Pinot Grigio ($5 tasting fee; 5489 Tesla) and Page Mill Winery for Petite Sirah (Sat–Sun, Fri by appointment; $5 tasting fee; 1960 S. Livermore Ave.).

2.  BLACKSMITH SQUARE
Clustered around a brick courtyard downtown are five small-winery tasting rooms. Which means you can sample everything from the méthode Champenoise sparklers from Battaion Cellars to the all-organic, estate-grown wines from Retzlaff … without a winding drive. 21 and 25 S. Livermore Ave.

3. UNCLE YU'S AT THE VINEYARD
More than 600 wines (about 50 by the glass) and a hefty selection of Livermore bottles, including rarities and tasting flights.

Try the "sommelier menu" pairing of stir-fried seafood with spicy Thai sauce and a 1994 Kalin Cellars Chardonnay (Cuvée W). $$; 39 S. Livermore Ave.; 925/449-7000.

4.  WENTE VINEYARDS
At 125 years old, Wente is California's oldest continuously operated family-owned winery. We're crazy about Cab, and Wente makes some of the best. Try the estate-grown Sauvignon Blanc too ― then lunch on smoked salmon pavé with arugula-frisée salad at the restaurant ($$$$). $5 tasting fee; 5050 Arroyo Rd.

 

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