The Livermore Valley AVA (American Viticultural Area) is one of California’s oldest wine-producing regions in the United States. In 1982, it was among the first US appellations designated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, and Tobacco (BATF), however, some of its vineyards have been continuously planted since the late 1840s. The AVA is also part of the Central Coast AVA and the San Francisco Bay AVA which has been used interchangeably or in conjunction with many of the Livermore Valley AVA brand designations.
The vineyard we own and supply grapes from is at the heart of the Livermore Valley located in Ruby Hill, which is the most prestigious sub-location within the Valley.
The valley is surrounded by the Diablo Mountain Ranges to the east, north, and south. The Amador Valley, to the west, links the Livermore Valley with San Francisco Bay, allowing cooling marine winds and fogs from the bay and the Pacific Ocean into the valley giving it a unique cooling temperature in the evenings which promotes a longer hangtime for the wines and allows the grapes and vines to absorb more nutrients. This additional hang time results in some of the most desirable wine grapes in the world.
The result is a pronounced diurnal variation in temperature, with warm days and cool nights, which helps preserve acidity in the ripening grapes. Otherwise, summers are hot and arid with average high temperatures in the high 80s and low 90s degrees Fahrenheit. The region gets about 18 inches of rain a year, virtually all of it in the winter months.
Livermore Valley Wine Country PHOTO, COURTESY LIVERMORE VALLEY WINEGROWERS ASSOCIATION
Spanish missionaries in the mid-18th century planted the first grapes in the Livermore Valley. Robert Livermore, for whom the valley is named, began planting wine grapes in the 1840’s.
Residents of San Jose and Oakland may want to keep it secret, but they have a wonderful wine-country destination in their backyard. Although the Livermore Valley flies under the radar, it’s arguably the birthplace of modern California wine, and it continues to nurture boutique wineries that showcase estate-grown vintages. – Wine Enthusiast
According to Wine Enthusiast the top Livermore grapes include, but are not limited to:
Many Chardonnay vines planted throughout California trace their lineage to the Wente clone, which originated in Livermore. Several Chardonnays from this region can age and improve for years.
Another of the area’s heritage grapes, Sauvignon Blanc grown here makes wines with great acidity and tangy citrus flavors, often with a streak of minerality.
Full-bodied and tannic in texture, this notoriously dark-colored wine tastes meaty and blackberry-like, with clove accents. Petite Sirah as a varietal wine has a long tradition here.
The classic Bordeaux grape variety makes wines of power and midpalate finesse. Cabernet Sauvignon’s aromas of black cherry, cassis and tobacco usually lead to rich tannins and toasted oak accents.