Disclosure: I was invited out to experience Livermore Wine Valley and all that the region has to offer. I spent a weekend there this past July. This is what I learned along the way. This is one story out of 3.
I’ve been wanting to take a trek to Livermore Wine Valley for awhile now, and it was something I wanted to make happen within this year, so when the opportunity presented itself to make a weekend of it, I couldn’t resist.
Livermore Wine Valley is one of the oldest wine region within California. As Napa And Sonoma County have gotten a lot of Recognition and Attention over the years, Livermore Valley has always been there, through the good and the bad, but the truth be hold? They have BEEN huge PIONEERS when it comes to California Wine.
It all began in the 1840’s when the first commercial vines were planted in Livermore by Robert Livermore. As Livermore became more recognized for its wine growing potential, true pioneers saw this and founded their wineries in the 1880’s: C.H. Wente, James Concannon, and Charles Wetmore.
They soon PUT California on the world wine map when they captured their first International Gold Medal in 1889 at the Paris Exposition.
But beyond that, those first Wine Pioneers have truly HELP to build what California Wine has become today:
C.H. Wente and family were the first to bring Chardonnay to California, and over 80% of California Chardonnay can be TRACED back to a Livermore Valley Clone.
Charles Wetmore (founder of Cresta Blanca Winery) is the one to thank for the beautiful Sauvignon Blanc wines that so many enjoy as he brought back cuttings of Sauvignon Blanc from Chateau d’Yquem and other top Bordeaux properties. He was also the one to bring home the grand prize for his first white wine vintage in the 1889 Paris Exposition.
And then there’s James Concannon, the first Irish Immigrant to establish a successful winery in America, a dream he left Ireland to truly achieve. BUT, it was through him, and the 4 generations that followed after that have made the Concannon family a well recognized name within the California Wine Industry, including the first vineyard to varietally label Petite Sirah with their 1961 Vintage, before ANY other U.S Winery.
So there you have it: Livermore Wine Valley were the pioneers in bringing Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Petite Sirah to California.