Livermore Wine Tasting: Best Wineries to Visit

A bunch of grapes hanging on a vine in california.

Ready to uncork the secret to an enchanting California wine experience that’s less crowded than Napa Valley? From historic vineyards to family-owned estates, discover why a Livermore wine tasting is the best kept “secret” in America’s wine country.

Livermore Valley is a beautiful wine region located just east of San Francisco Bay. Often overshadowed by its more famous neighbors, like Napa and Sonoma, it is home to over 50 wineries ranging from 500-case boutiques to 400,000-case household names. This guide is your curated map to the best wineries in Livermore.

California's secret wine country.


Have You Enjoyed Wine Tasting in Livermore?

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Map of the Best Wineries in Livermore

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Sage Advice: If you like bubbly and are headed north from the Livermore wine region, you’ll love these sparkling wineries in Napa Valley.

A large Victorian house with flowers in front of it at the Concannon Winery in Livermore, CA.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Concannon Vineyards

Concannon Vineyards is not just a winery; it’s a piece of California wine history. Founded in 1883, it’s one of the oldest wineries in the state and has been instrumental in putting Livermore Valley on the wine map. The vineyard is especially known for its Petite Sirah and Cabernet Sauvignon, which have garnered numerous awards over the years.

With its beautiful preserved Victorian house and expansive vine-covered grounds, visiting Concannon feels like stepping into a vintage postcard. The winery offers a variety of tasting experiences, from classic wine flights to food pairings, making it a versatile destination for both the casual sipper and the serious oenophile.

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The yellow adobe exterior of Las Positas in Livermore.
Photo Credit: Sage Scott.

Las Positas Vineyards

Las Positas Vineyards is a charming, family-owned estate winery where the architecture is as intoxicating as the wine. This winery specializes in estate-grown Spanish varietals. Think Tempranillo, Albariño, and a delightful Garnacha perfect for a sunny California afternoon.

The winery’s rustic tasting room and outdoor patio provide the perfect backdrop for a leisurely day of wine tasting. They also offer a variety of special events throughout the year, from live music to food and wine pairings, making it a dynamic spot that offers something new with each visit.

Sage Advice: Want to bring wine home? Here’s everything you need to know about bringing alcohol on a plane.

A selection of wine by Mc Grail on a counter in the wine tasting room.
Photo Credit: Sage Scott.

McGrail Vineyards & Winery

Nestled in the rolling hills of Livermore Valley, McGrail Vineyards is a family-owned winery that offers panoramic views that are as breathtaking as their wines. Whether seated on the front lawn or the spacious patio, visitors can savor the delightful flavors of McGrail Vineyards’ wines in a serene and relaxing atmosphere.

Specializing in Cabernet Sauvignon and other Bordeaux-style wines, this winery has quickly gained a reputation for producing some of the finest reds in the region, many of which are named for the founder’s grandchildren.

The estate offers a variety of tasting options, including their popular sunset tastings. Imagine sipping an award-winning glass of wine while watching the sun dip below the horizon—it’s the kind of experience that turns first-time visitors into lifelong fans.

Three glasses of wine on a table next to barrels.
Photo Credit: Facebook.

Mitchell Katz

Mitchell Katz is a winery that prides itself on its single-vineyard, handcrafted wines. From robust Zinfandels to crisp Chardonnays, the winery offers a diverse portfolio that reflects the rich terroir of Livermore Valley.

The winery’s tasting room is a welcoming space with a cozy fireplace and rustic décor. Mitchell Katz also offers a unique “Winemaker’s Flight,” where visitors can sample limited-production wines guided by the expertise of the winemaker himself.

A woman pouring wine at a Livermore wine tasting.
Photo Credit: Sage Scott.

Murrieta's Well

If you’re looking for a winery that combines history, scenic beauty, and exceptional wines, Murrieta’s Well is your spot. The estate dates back to the 19th century and is named after Joaquin Murrieta, a legendary California bandit who allegedly discovered the artesian well on the property.

The winery specializes in small-lot wines crafted to reflect the unique characteristics of the estate’s terroir. A visit to Murrieta’s Well is incomplete without trying their flagship blend, “The Spur,” a sumptuous mix of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, and Merlot. The estate also offers a sunset hike experience, where you can enjoy a bottle of wine and a picnic basket while drinking in the stunning views.

A sign outside the Nottingham Cellars tasting room in Livermore, CA.
Photo Credit: Sage Scott.

Nottingham Cellars

If you’re a fan of micro-lot wines, Nottingham Cellars should be on your radar. Their focus on small, high-quality batches ensures every bottle is a masterpiece. The modern tasting room offers a sleek and sophisticated setting for wine tasting. What sets Nottingham Cellars apart is their commitment to education. Each tasting experience is designed to be informative, offering insights into the winemaking process and the unique characteristics of each varietal.

A group of bottles of wine on a table at Page Mill Winery.
Photo Credit: Page Mill Winery.

Page Mill Winery

Page Mill Winery offers a laid-back, family-friendly wine tasting experience. Located just a stone’s throw away from downtown Livermore, this winery is known for its wide range of varietals, from classic Chardonnays to exotic blends like their “Vintner’s Select.”

The winery’s tasting room exudes a rustic charm, with wooden barrels and vintage wine memorabilia. Page Mill also offers a “Twilight Tasting” experience, where visitors can enjoy a curated flight of wines as the sun sets over the vineyards.

Grape vines at Retzlaff Winery in Livermore.
Photo Credit: Sage Scott.

Retzlaff Winery

Retzlaff Vineyards is the eco-conscious wine lover’s dream. Certified organic since 2006, their wines are as pure as they come. Their Sauvignon Blanc is a must-try, offering a refreshing palate cleanser between those heavier reds.

Live music on weekends and food partners serving delicious appetizers make Retzlaff a dynamic and engaging destination. If you’re in the mood for a picnic, you’re welcome to bring your own snacks and enjoy a bottle of wine on the lawn.

The entrance sign to Rodrigue Molyneaux Winery.
Photo Credit: Sage Scott.

Rodrigue Molyneaux

This winery is like a mini-vacation. The setting at Rodrigue Molyneaux Winery is so beautifully peaceful that you’ll forget you’re in California and not some remote European village. Their delicious wines are equally enchanting, offering a range of options that suit every palate. Known for its red wines, particularly Cabernet Franc, this winery has won several awards and is a local favorite. The estate has beautiful picnic areas, ideal for a romantic getaway or a day out with friends. 

Two glasses of wine next to a bottle of wine.
Photo Credit: Steven Kent Winery.

The Steven Kent Winery

Steven Kent is where you go when you want to impress someone, maybe even yourself. This winery is a must-visit for anyone who appreciates fine Cabernet Sauvignon. Founded in 1996, Steven Kent consistently produces some of the best Cabs in Livermore Valley. The elegant tasting room offers a range of tasting experiences, from wine-by-the-glass to a 90-minute tasting experience. 

A sign for Wente in front of bushes.
Photo Credit: Sage Scott.

Wente Vineyards

Wente Vineyards holds the distinction of being the country’s oldest continuously operated, family-run vineyard. With over 130 years of winemaking history, this estate is a living testament to Livermore Valley’s rich vinicultural heritage.

Visitors can enjoy a range of experiences, from casual tastings to gourmet food pairings at their on-site restaurant. Don’t leave without trying their Chardonnay, which is said to be the first Chardonnay planted in California.

Barrels of Wood Family Wine aging in Livermore, California.
Photo Credit: Sage Scott.

Wood Family Vineyards

If you’re looking for a laid-back, down-to-earth experience, Wood Family Vineyards is the place to be. They focus on high-quality, handcrafted wines, delivering on that promise with every bottle. The tasting room offers a cozy, welcoming atmosphere, making it an excellent place for newcomers and seasoned wine enthusiasts. They often host events and offer special releases, making every visit a unique experience.

A sign directing visitors to Livermore Valley Wineries.
Photo Credit: Sage Scott.

Best Time to Visit Livermore Valley

While the Livermore Valley is a year-round destination, spring and fall are the golden seasons for Livermore wine tasting. The weather is just right, and the vineyards are either bursting with new growth or awash in autumnal colors. 

Harvest season, from late August to October, is a particularly exciting time to visit. You’ll get to witness the grape harvest and maybe even partake in some winemaking activities.

Regardless of when you plan your wine tasting trip, Livermore wine tasting tends to be less crowded than other California wine regions, giving you a more laid-back and enjoyable experience.

A sign directing visitors to a Livermore wine tasting.
Photo Credit: Sage Scott.

Tips for Visiting Livermore Wine Country

  1. Plan Ahead: Map your day with the Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association’s interactive itinerary planner.
  2. Eat Well: Most wineries don’t offer more than crackers, so bring a few snacks, pack a picnic, or make a pit stop at Garre Cafe for heartier fare. 
  3. Don’t Drive: The Livermore Wine Trolley is a fun and convenient way to enjoy a day of Livermore wine tasting.
  4. Stretch Your Budget: Take advantage of tasting passes and annual passports to save on tasting fees.
  5. No Need for Appointments: Unlike Napa, you can usually walk in for a tasting, making for a more spontaneous adventure. However, a reservation is recommended to ensure a spot during busy times.
Sage Advice: Don’t ruin your Livermore wine tasting experience. Brush up on these wine tasting etiquette rules before you go!

To Visit the Livermore Valley

From frequently asked questions to the best places to stay, here’s all the practical information you need to visit Livermore’s wine country.

Where is Livermore, California?

Livermore is located in Alameda County, California, in the eastern part of the San Francisco Bay Area. It’s part of the Tri-Valley area, which also includes the towns of Pleasanton and Dublin.

How far is Livermore from San Francisco?

Livermore is approximately 45 miles east of San Francisco. Depending on traffic, the drive can take 50 minutes to an hour and a half.

How far is Livermore from San Jose?

Livermore is about 33 miles northeast of San Jose. The drive typically takes 40 to 50 minutes, depending on traffic conditions.

Does BART go to Livermore?

Unfortunately, the Bay Area’s rapid transit system (BART) doesn’t currently extend to Livermore. And, based on this article, it won’t stretch that far into the East Bay any time soon.

Steak dish at Posada in Livermore.
Photo Credit: Facebook.

What are the best places to eat in Livermore?

After an exciting day of Livermore wine tasting, enjoy a delicious meal at one of my favorite Livermore restaurants.

  • Wente Restaurant: Scenically overlooking the 18th green and surrounding vineyards, Wente Restaurant offers a relaxed dining experience with a menu perfect for wine lovers.
  • Posada Alta Cocina: Offering contemporary Southwestern cuisine, Posada received the Best of Award of Excellence 2023 from Wine Spectator.
  • Demitri’s Tavern: Known for its authentic Greek cuisine, Demitri’s Tavern is the go-to spot for Mediterranean flair in Livermore.
  • Uncle Yu’s at the Vineyard: Offering a modern twist on traditional Asian recipes, Uncle Yu’s boasts an extensive wine list and waives corkage fees on local Livermore wines every Monday.

What are the best places to stay in Livermore?

After savoring Livermore’s wines and drinking in the scenery, you’ll want a cozy place to rest your head. Here are some of the best accommodations in the area:

  • Homewood Suites by Hilton Livermore: This hotel offers spacious suites with full kitchens, making it ideal for extended stays. 
  • Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham Livermore: With it’s convenient location and full kitchen, these suites are a great place to stay when visiting Livermore Wine Country.
  • Residence Inn by Marriott Livermore: Feel at home with spacious studio, one, and two-bedroom suites with separate living and sleeping areas. The hotel offers a fully equipped kitchen, complimentary hot breakfast, and a state-of-the-art fitness center. Pets are welcome for a fee of $150 per stay.
  • Purple Orchid Wine Country Resort & Spa: For a luxurious experience, this resort offers premium amenities like private fireplaces and a renowned spa. The resort is centrally located, allowing easy access to local wineries and restaurants. It’s a perfect spot for romantic getaways.

How many wineries in Livermore?

Livermore Valley is home to more than 50 wineries, ranging from historic estates to newer, small-production artisans. 

What are the original Livermore wineries?

Concannon Vineyards and Wente Vineyards are among Livermore’s original and oldest wineries. Both of these Livermore Valley grande dame wineries were established in 1883.

Are there picnic areas at Livermore wineries?

Yes, many Livermore wineries offer picnic areas. For example, Retzlaff Vineyards has an expansive lawn perfect for picnics, and Rodrigue Molyneaux also offers beautiful picnic spots. 

Have You Enjoyed a Day in Livermore Wine Tasting?

Have you tasted the wines produced in the Livermore Valley?  What did you think? Which Livermore winery is your favorite? Share your experience in the comments section below!

A view of the rugged California coast


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8 thoughts on “Livermore Wine Tasting: Best Wineries to Visit”

  1. This Livermore wine tasting guide is a hidden gem! From historic vineyards to family-owned estates, it unveils the best-kept secret in America’s wine country. A must-read for anyone seeking an enchanting California wine experience like me. Thank you!

  2. I must say that, as someone living in Europe, I haven’t heard of Livermore before. I assume the marketing of Napa Valley overshadows alternatives. But this seems to be such a helpful and informative article for anyone who wants to explore California’s secret wine corner!

    1. Hey Ivan, you’re spot on—Napa Valley often steals the limelight, but Livermore is like the indie band you discover and can’t stop listening to. I’m thrilled you found the article helpful for uncovering California’s “secret wine corner”!

  3. I definitely agree with you in that it’s overshadowed. I’ve been to Sonoma and Napa and have lived in SoCal and never heard of it until tonight. I wish I had known about it a few weeks ago so I could have planned to be there this month since October looks to be a great time to go!

    1. California is such a big state with so much to see and do, it’s not completely surprising you haven’t heard of this “hidden” gem until now, even after living there. The good news? Livermore’s charm isn’t exclusive to October. It’s a year-round affair, so you’ve got plenty of time to plan your next wine escapade. And hey, now you’ve got an insider’s guide to make the most of it!

  4. I’d never heard of Livermore Valley before! It looks like there are some incredible wineries here. I especially like the look of the historic Concannon Vineyards.

    1. Hi Paige, I’m so glad you’re intrigued by Livermore Valley! And oh, the Victorian building at Concannon Vineyards is a sight to behold—it adds an extra layer of charm to the whole experience.

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