A Guide to Livermore Valley Wine Country: A Bay Area Wine & Foodie Haven (2024)

A Guide to Livermore Valley Wine Country: A Bay Area Wine & Foodie Haven (1)

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About 45 minutes east of San Francisco, you’ll find one of California’s oldest wine regions – Livermore Valley. It might not be on your radar when it comes to California wine destinations, often overshadowed by its more prominent neighbors to the north, but it is a great spot filled with 40+ wineries – many of them boutique and family-run!

I personally love to visit Livermore Valley since its only a 30-minute drive from my house, which makes it more accessible than all the other wine regions in Northern California. Both Livermore and Pleasanton also have the cutest downtown areas filled with restaurants and shops, so when you’re done visiting local wineries, there are a ton of spots for a great meal.

If you’re looking to discover this lesser known wine region in California, this Livermore Valley Guide will provide suggestions on some awesome wineries to visit, along with where to eat when in the area.

Getting to Livermore Wine Country

If you live in the Bay Area, Livermore Valley makes for a great day trip destination or even a hot spot for a weekend staycation!

Here are some approximate drive times to Livermore from other major cities:

  • Drive from Oakland: Approximately 35 to 40 minutes
  • Drive from San Francisco: Approximately 45 to 50 minutes (from SFO airport, add another 15 minutes or so)
  • Drive from San Jose: Approximately 40 to 45 minutes
  • Drive from Sacramento: Approximately 1.5 hours

If you’re flying in from out of the area, any of the major airports are convenient – OAK, SFO & SJC, though Oakland is closest.

Where to Stay in Livermore Valley

Purple Orchid Inn

4549 Cross Rd, Livermore, CA 94550

The Purple Orchid Inn is more than “just a place to stay” – it’s a wine country retreat! Set on a sprawling 21-acres filled with olive groves and stunning views, this boutique resort offers luxurious rooms and suites with amenities including daily breakfast, a tranquil swimming pool, and a large menu of spa services. Purple Orchid also hosts a complimentary daily Gathering Hour for guests with wine, cheese, and olive oil tasting!

If you’re in town for wine tasting, there are a handful of wineries nearby that are less than a five-minute drive from the property (with plenty more at your fingertips). It’s also less than a 15-minute drive to Downtown Livermore where you’ll find many excellent dining options for lunch and dinner!

Book the Purple Orchid on Hotels.com, Booking.com or Direct

Hotels in Livermore Valley

If you’re looking for other hotel-style accommodations, check out these options:

  • Rose Hotel – A charming boutique hotel located right in the heart of Downtown Pleasanton, walkable to all the restaurants on Main Street.
  • Residence Inn Marriott – A good choice for Marriott loyalists, conveniently located near the Livermore Outlets in case shopping is on your agenda.
  • Hyatt House – A no frills Hyatt hotel if you’ve got points to spend, located in a quiet business park neighborhood in Pleasanton.
Vacation Rentals in Livermore Valley

Livermore Valley isn’t vacation rental heavy, but here are a few properties I would personally consider staying at in the area:

Best Livermore Wineries

As one of the oldest wine growing regions in California with over 40 wineries, Livermore Valley is a Bay Area wine destination that is not to be missed!

In terms of affordability, I also find it to be easier on the wallet versus Napa and Sonoma. I don’t like to get super boujee when it comes to wine tasting and try to stick with wineries that either offer affordable flights or tastings with fees waived with purchase. I probably don’t need to tell you that wine tasting can be an expensive pastime, but if you plan it right, it doesn’t have to break the bank! For this reason, my top picks on this Livermore Valley Guide are $20 per person or less.

If you’re looking for a tour to not have to worry about a designated driver, check out the Livermore Wine Trolley! They have all-inclusive options that include a picnic lunch and visit to three Livermore wineries.

Omega Road

2135 S Vasco Rd Unit C, Livermore, CA 94550

Run by father/daughter team Ken and Alex, this boutique winery in The Block area of Livermore has become a top favorite for me. I love the friendly atmosphere, and service we’ve received from their whole team has always been top notch. I’ve also found they are incredibly generous here! We visited when Ken was pouring recently and he gave us tastings of a variety of their wines that weren’t a part of our flights.

I love their Torrontes – a slightly sweet white wine with notes of honey crisp apples and lychee, perfect for warmer days. Sweet usually isn’t my favorite profile, but I really like this one! Their reds stand out as well, with some of my favorites being their Petit Verdot, Daydreamer (Grenache, Syrah & Merlot blend), and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Tasting Fee: $10 wine flights, non-refundable

Mitchell Katz

2915 S Vasco Rd, Livermore, CA 94550

Mitchell Katz wins for me in the ambiance department, with one of the best winery views in Livermore! When you want to spend time outdoors enjoying the sunshine and fresh air with views of vineyards and the Livermore hills, this is the place to be.

Their NV California Sparkling wine was one of my favorites – slightly sweet with hints of fresh orange, peaches, and mandarin blossoms. A perfect summer wine! Other standouts for me were their smooth Sangiovese and tart Malbec. We were also lucky to have Andrew as our server – a lovely, entertaining Englishman (who happens to be a friend of a friend). Ask to be seated in his section when you visit!

Tasting Fee: $20 – refunded with two bottle purchase

A Guide to Livermore Valley Wine Country: A Bay Area Wine & Foodie Haven (8)
A Guide to Livermore Valley Wine Country: A Bay Area Wine & Foodie Haven (9)
Del Valle Winery

4948 Tesla Rd, Livermore, CA 94550

Del Valle is another favorite of mine for ambiance! I really enjoyed sitting out on their porch looking out over the hills of Livermore while sipping our way through the tasting menu. We started with a delicious sparkling Pinot Noir and their unoaked Chardonnay, aged in stainless steel. And then came the reds – a Sangiovese (one of my favorite red wines) extremely pleasing to the nose; a rich Cabernet Sauvignon; a peppery Primitivo (old vine Zin); and a jammy Petite Sirah.

We also purchased a cheese box provided by the Cheese Parlour to pair with our tasting ($25) and I would 100% recommend you do the same! Everything on our plate paired so well with the wines we had. They also do serve a limited menu for lunch starting at 12:00 p.m. and we’ll definitely be back for that!

Tasting Fee: $20 – refunded with two bottle purchase

A Guide to Livermore Valley Wine Country: A Bay Area Wine & Foodie Haven (11)
A Guide to Livermore Valley Wine Country: A Bay Area Wine & Foodie Haven (12)
A Guide to Livermore Valley Wine Country: A Bay Area Wine & Foodie Haven (13)
Cuda Ridge Wines

2400 Arroyo Rd, Livermore, CA 94550

Set in a quiet neighborhood, you’ll find Cuda Ridge Wines, which primarily focuses on producing Bordeaux-style wines. This is a boutique family-run winery and we even got the chance to talk with owner Larry for quite a while! He gave us the backstory on getting the winery started, along with inspiration for the winery name (his beautiful purple Barracuda car). I just love that we were able to make a connection with the winemaker himself!

On our visit, the flight offering was solely reds – each with their own rich and deep flavor profiles. We really enjoyed their S&M Sangiovese/Malbec blend, along with their Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon. I’m saving those for a good steak night!

Tasting Fee: $20 – refunded with two bottle purchase

Other Wineries to Check Out
  • Bent Creek: I love this rustic, laid-back spot – and we actually used to be members here years ago. But since it has been a while, I need to revisit before adding them back to my favorites list above.
  • Wente: I typically don’t like to recommend bigger wineries, but Wente is one of the oldest in the valley. And fun fact, about 75% of California’s chardonnay comes from the Wente clone! Tasting fees here are bit steep at $30 pp so keep that in mind (I don’t think you get a refund for bottle purchases either).
  • Wood Family Vineyards: A lively tasting room in The Block area. I’ve only visited once briefly and had a glass of their chardonnay, but I really want to go back and try all their wines because they come highly recommended!

Where to Eat in Livermore & Pleasanton

Livermore and Pleasanton both have the most quaint downtowns with restaurants and shops lining their respective Main Streets. Between both cities, there are so many good places to eat. This list hardly covers all the good spots! Here are all my favorite foodie recommendations that we’ve visited in the area so far.

Uncle Yu’s at the Vineyard

39 S Livermore Ave #125, Livermore, CA 94550

Uncle Yu’s is serving up Chinese food in an elevated atmosphere right in the heart of Downtown Livermore. Get the dim sum sampler to kick off your meal and you will not be disappointed! Their ultra savory wagyu beef chow fun is a must, and their tea duck rolls are a unique dish worth trying. The ambiance here is great for a date night for dinner, but they also serve lunch if you want to visit without having to worry about making reservations (get there when they open before it fills up).

Cinco TacoBar

4526 Las Positas Rd, Livermore, CA 94551

For some fast casual delicious tacos, check out Cinco Taco Bar. Tacos are compiled Chipotle style, where they make everything in front of you, and you can pick your fillings as you go down the line. This is a great spot for both meat eaters and vegetarians as they have plenty of options for both! And if you’re craving something sweet, an order of churros will do the trick.

First Street Ale House

2106 First St, Livermore, CA 94550

Everyone loves a good ale house, and First Street is always poppin’ with a good crowd! Get a pint on draught and order up some pub food for a hearty meal. I’m a big fan of their taco salad (with added chicken for protein) and a good friend of mine swears by their nachos. As with any ale house, hungry patrons can order from a generous list of burgers and sandwiches, along with appetizers like chicken wings, garlic fries, and and chips an salsa (just to name a few).

Kokolo Donburi

2495 First St, Livermore, CA 94550

For something a little unique, Kokolo Donburi has some delicious Japanese comfort food. I recommend the Japanese curry, served over steamed rice, with the crispy pork katsu. My mom made this for us a lot when we were younger (usually with chicken), so it really is one of those foods that remind me of being at “mom’s house.” The udon stir fry is also a really great noodle dish (we got ours with beef) and I’m still craving it!

Hops & Sessions

2339 First St, Livermore, CA 94550

If you want a great smash burger in Downtown Livermore, check out Hops & Sessions! They also have the most indulgent loaded carne asada fries that are perfect for sharing with a group. Their rotating beer lineup includes close to 30 beers on draught, and wine is also available if that’s more your style (this is wine country after all).

A Guide to Livermore Valley Wine Country: A Bay Area Wine & Foodie Haven (23)
A Guide to Livermore Valley Wine Country: A Bay Area Wine & Foodie Haven (24)

988 Murrieta Blvd, Livermore, CA 94550

Posada is a Southwest American restaurant in Livermore that is open for both lunch and dinner. The menu has changed a bit since I last visited, but everything still sounds delicious! We had the avocado and shrimp crostinis as an appetizer and they were excellent. I also had a giant bowl of creamy mac and cheese – not your typical Southwest-style fare, but tasty nonetheless.

Next visit, I’d love to try the highly rated chicken hash enchiladas or the braised short ribs that come with blackberry mole. Reservations are definitely recommended for both lunch and dinner!

Hop DeVine

1708 N Vasco Rd, Livermore, CA 94551

One of our favorite spots in Livermore that we probably visit most often is Hop DeVine – a tap room that always has the best beers on tap, along with a stellar food menu. I kid you not when I say their buffalo cauliflower is the best I’ve had anywhere in the world! We are also big fans of the French dip sandwich, poke nachos, and poke salad. They are always very generous with their portions of ahi!

For non-beer drinkers, they craft excellent co*cktails and have a wine list featuring local Livermore wineries.

Brava Garden Eatery

724 Main St, Pleasanton, CA 94566

Brava Garden Eatery is a spot in Downtown Pleasanton serving a lovely menu of Argentinian and Italian food. They also have a great back patio, which is a lively place to enjoy a meal when the weather is good! We’ve only tried their Argentinian food so far and I can say their empanadas are delicious (get the trio so you can try them all!). I really love their choripan sandwich too. Argentinian chorizo is super smoky and pairs well with their ultra soft bread and tangy chimichurri.

Sons of Liberty

2327 First St, Livermore, CA 94550

Sons of Liberty opened their second location in Downtown Livermore fairly recently (the original is over in San Leandro) and they have a great craft co*cktail and food menu! Their Chinese Chicken Salad is gigantic and really filling (not to mention tasty), as are the duck carnitas tacos. Do not skip on the poutine – the gravy was so delicious!

I do want to note that I feel the kitchen was really slow getting our food out. The food was great, but be mindful of your schedule if you visit. Hopefully, as they mature a bit, they will get that sorted!

Meadowlark Dairy

57 W Neal St, Pleasanton, CA 94566

Meadowlark Dairy soft serve is one of my favorite sweet treats in the area. If we ever find ourselves in Downtown Pleasanton, we make sure to stop at the walk-up window for a cone. I love the vanilla orange swirl, and if you’re looking for something refreshing, the pineapple is also quite delicious!

Breweries in Livermore Valley

Even though Livermore Valley is wine country, there is a great beer trail to follow in the area too!

Altamont Beer Works

2402 Research Dr, Livermore, CA 94550

Altamont Beer Works is the best spot to hit up if you are an IPA fan, specifically if you like West Coast style IPAs – aka “the clear stuff.” Their tried and true beers never disappoint, like Maui Waui and Juice Above the Clouds. They are also located near The Block area of tasting rooms, making it a perfect stop for those who enjoy both wine and beer!

They don’t have a kitchen here, but they do have a food truck lined up every day of the week they are open (which you can peep here).

Rivers End Brewing Co.

2135 S Vasco Rd Suite J, Livermore, CA 94550

We love this small, quiet spot tucked away in the back of The Block neighborhood off Vasco Road. You can hit up some of the wine tasting rooms in the area first, and then walk on over to Rivers End for some house-made chips & salsa and a beer flight. They don’t have a huge beer list since they are a small craft brewery, but I haven’t had a bad beer yet!

Shadow Puppet Brewing

4771 Arroyo Vista Suite B, Livermore, CA 94551

Shadow Puppet has a chill taproom with a unique rotating lineup of beers on tap, ranging from fruited sours and IPAs to barleywine and imperial stouts! At Shadow Puppet, our favorite picks are usually their sours. And like a lot of other breweries in the area, there’s no full kitchen but they do have regular food trucks (be sure to check their schedule here).

Pennyweight Brewing

2455 Railroad Ave, Livermore, CA 94550

Penny Weight is the only brewery on my list located in the Downtown Livermore area that’s not just a tap room, and I definitely love the vibes here – both inside and out! Unlike the other Livermore breweries, Pennyweight has their own kitchen with food served off a makeshift RV that is actually located inside the tap room. In addition to their own brews, they also have a ton of other guest beers on tap as well.

Homegrown Hops

3000 Mines Rd, Livermore, CA 94550

Homegrown Hops is a fun space where you go when you really want to enjoy the outdoors! Set on a three-acre property, there are picnic tables, cornhole, and bocce ball ($20 fee & reservations required for bocce), and the beer is sold from a trolley car!

Livermore Valley really is a gem of a place worth discovering, and the perfect day trip spot for people who live in the Bay Area! Will you be visiting Livermore Valley anytime soon?

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A Guide to Livermore Valley Wine Country: A Bay Area Wine & Foodie Haven (43)
A Guide to Livermore Valley Wine Country: A Bay Area Wine & Foodie Haven (2024)


How many wineries are in Livermore Valley? ›

How Many Wineries are There in Livermore? There are more than 5,000 acres of winegrapes planted in the valley and about 50 wineries. Check out this Livermore Wine Country Map. Most of the wineries are in close proximity to one another making it an easy and convenient place to visit.

Is Wente dog friendly? ›

Only trained service animals are allowed, all other pets must stay at home.

What town in California has the most wineries? ›

Napa Valley is the United States' most-recognized wine region. It lies in Napa County, within California's North Coast region and southeast of Mendocino County.

What is the oldest winery in Livermore? ›

Family Owned Since 1883

Wente Vineyards is the oldest continuously-operated, family-owned winery in the country.

How much does it cost to go to the Livermore wine tasting? ›

Tasting fees range from $15 – $30 per person per stop and are mandatory to enter each tasting room. Tasting fees can be refunded with a 1 or 2 bottle purchase, depending upon the venue. Tickets are non-refundable.

Can dogs go to Alouette Lake? ›

Domestic animals are not allowed in picnic areas, marked-off swimming areas, or park buildings. Dogs are not allowed at the main part of Alouette (South Beach) day-use area. Dogs are permitted at just two of the beaches: North Beach day-use area (near the outflow of Gold Creek into Alouette Lake)

What does wente mean? ›

wente (plural wentes) A course; a way, a path; a journey.

How many wineries are in SLO County? ›

Is sipping a glass of local wine on your must-do list? With more than 250 wineries spread among two major wine grape-growing regions—Paso Robles and the San Luis Obispo wine country—SLO CAL offers a variety of tasting experiences.

How many wineries are in Sonoma valley? ›

Sonoma County's 18 wine regions are home to more than 425 wineries.

How many wineries exist? ›

Feb 8, 2023

According to the Wines Vines Analytics Winery Database, the United States is now home to 11,691 wineries, which is nearly 400 more than in 2021 and 1,215 more than in 2020. Since 2019, the number of U.S. wineries has grown at a rate of 4 percent, which matches the growth rate since 2010.

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