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Barrels of wine in Livermore Valley
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After centuries of making significant contributions to America’s wine industry, California's Livermore Valley is at last being recognized for its potential as a wine region, producing top-quality wines at very approachable prices.

We invited eight of its most industrious winemakers to come together for a toast and some shared perspective.

Nottingham Cellars

Collin Cranor, Nottingham Cellars: “I can honestly say that in the short time we have been in the Livermore Valley, the wines have gotten much better, and they’re continuing to get better with each vintage. The accolades, awards, and the growth of our small producers are verifications. Consumers can expect wines that are true to their varietal makeup and region at many price points. The valley is hitting its stride, and our best producers see no end in sight.”

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Mitchell Katz Winery

Mitch Katz, Mitchell Katz Winery: “Livermore Valley is consistently increasing the standard for quality. For one thing, we’re producing better grapes. With the improvement of the grapes, we are producing better quality wines. The public has definitely noticed the improvement of the wines. I think that today, when consumers see the name ‘Livermore Valley’ on a bottle of wine, they can expect very good quality and reasonable prices. It doesn’t have to be expensive to be good.”

Grapes growing on vines in Livermore Valley

Grapes growing on vines in Livermore Valley
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Wente Vineyards

Karl Wente, Wente Vineyards: “There are now more than 50 wineries and/or tasting rooms here with talented winemakers committed to ensuring the finest expression of Livermore Valley fruit and to making exceptional wines. The fact that we have so many talented winemaking individuals allows us all to collaborate and taste each other’s wines and continue to improve as a region. Consumers can expect a great quality bottle of wine that is an expression of the fruit source and region.”

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Las Positas Vineyard

Brent Amos, Las Positas Vineyard: “There is a great sense of camaraderie among the winemakers. We work together to gain recognition for the valley as a whole, rather than competing with each other and only promoting our own brand. More attention is being paid to vineyards and farming practices as well. Quality is, and should always be, on the rise. But I think public perception is what has changed. We’re earning more top awards and better scores.”

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Steven Kent Winery

Steven Mirassou, Steven Kent Winery: “Undoubtedly, the quality of the wines has risen dramatically, and I think that the word is beginning to filter out. The mainstream wine press is writing more about the valley than ever before, and a younger generation of wine lovers is keen on exploring ‘new’ areas like the Livermore Valley. I believe any region that aspires to greatness must have the viticultural chops as well as a cadre of souls who won’t accept less.”

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Garré Vineyard and Winery

Brad Kitson, Garré Vineyard and Winery: “I’m a newcomer to Livermore and most of my experience has been in Napa. The best practices used there are being put in place in Livermore. Here, the winemaking environment is geared for improving wines, and the other winemakers I’ve met all share a passion to make great wine. The wines are getting better and better, but Livermore is a little under the radar screen. So, prices are very reasonable for the wine you get.”

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Cuda Ridge Wines

Larry Dino, Cuda Ridge Wines: “In the early 2000s, many growers replanted with an eye toward quality. And then with the startup of many new wineries, including my own, which focus on producing high-quality wines, Livermore has begun to get more recognition. The San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition has been the best measuring stick for comparing Livermore Valley wines. Our wineries have received around 150 medals per year there, including two Red Sweepstakes and many Best of Class awards.”

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Darcie Kent Vineyards

Julian Halasz, Darcie Kent Vineyards: “Over the past 20 years or so, the number of wineries operating in the Livermore Valley has nearly tripled. This is significant because these wineries are seeking high-quality local grapes to produce premium boutique wines. In essence, we are all helping to drive us to higher and higher quality levels. Our winemakers and proprietors meet regularly to discuss and share best practices. This combined knowledge and experience allows us to continually evolve as a wine-producing region.”

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