Published June 19, 2001
Volume 9, Number 6

Winegrowers Association Offers Tours, Tasting, and More

Thinking about a summer afternoon spent touring wineries? It's a fun day and, thanks to the Livermore Valley wine growing region, there's no need to trek hours north to reach Napa or Sonoma. In fact, the Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association (LVWA) wants to bring programs on wine and winemaking right to your business. 

Wine programs include an informal presentation and slide show on how wines are made, a wine-tasting class, a history of wine from the world to the valley, wine tastings of several varieties and tips on what foods to serve with the wines, and a presentation on grape varieties of California and the world. 

In addition, the LVWA can schedule trips to the local wineries for groups. Presentations and trips can be set up for any number of people but the new executive director of the LVWA, George Vierra, says that a group of 25 works well. 

A winemaker and former winery owner who taught winemaking and winery management in Napa Valley beginning in 1971, he has been on the new job with the LVWA since January 5 and is very interested in working with local businesses.

His goal is to increase exposure of local wines, with hopes that Livermore Valley wineries can expand like Napa and Sonoma wineries. 

"They have 500 wineries and we have 20," he says. "I want to grow to about 65 wineries over the next 20 years." 

Vierra believes that this will add value to the industry and land, enhancing the quality of life for the entire locale. 

"The Livermore Valley still has an extensive area for expanding the vineyards, and quality land is difficult to find and expensive in [Napa and Sonoma]. I want to continue to market our wines with new vineyards and varieties, to show people that this is a place where they will want to expand." 

The LVWA also sponsors a variety of events that both promote local vineyards and benefit the community. 

One of their biggest events is the upcoming 7th Annual California Wine Auction on August 3 and 4. The first day will be at Ruby Hill Golf Club in Pleasanton. Guests will taste excellent local wine, sample delicious food from Bay Area restaurants, and bid on outstanding wine selections and many other choice items. 

The second day will be at the historic Wente Vineyards Restaurant and Visitors Center in Livermore. This black-tie event features a five-course gourmet dinner served in a beautiful setting, and a live auction that has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Tri-Valley children's charities. Four levels of sponsorship opportunities are available for the event. 

This year's proceeds will benefit ValleyCare Medical Center, a not-for-profit acute care hospital, as well as Hope Hospice, The Taylor Family Foundation's Camp Arroyo for Children with pediatric AIDS and other life-threatening illnesses, and the Good News Bears. 

Another upcoming event is the Vine to Wine 5K/10K run on August 19 beginning at Robertson Park in Livermore. The course winds through the lush vineyard country. After the race, enjoy wine tasting, food, entertainment and an awards ceremony. 

For information about Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association events, member wineries and on-site presentations, call Vierra at (925) 447-WINE (9463) or view their web site at livermorewine.com.


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