Commercial winemaking in California’s Livermore Valley dates back to 1883, when the Wente family began producing wine from its estate-grown grapes.
Amazingly, the family remains in the business to this day. That makes the Wente Estate Winery the oldest family-owned continuously operating winery in California.
That fact alone provides a good reason to spend a day in Livermore Valley wine country.
Another reason: Livermore is a great example of passionate vintners working together to maintain an agricultural stronghold in an area that had been threatened by urban sprawl.
As early as 1981, the possibility of housing developments overrunning the long-established vineyards had become very real. That year, a small group of growers and vintners got together to form the Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association.
Largely as a result of the LVWA’s efforts over the quarter-century since, the valley remains “wine country,” home to 40 wineries and 3,800 acres of grapevines. All but 600 of those acres are protected by law as “vineyards in “perpetuity.”
So, even as adjacent communities expand their housing and business footprints, Livermore Valley will remain a farming-focused region – a glorious vinous island in a sea of sprawl.