THE LIVERMORE VALLEY WINE REGION is one of California’s most historic wine areas. Journalist Charles Wetmore brought the first European varietals Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, from France in the late 1800.
Your first visit is to Cedar Mountain Winery and Port Works. Take a premier tasting and tour for six with the winemaker. Their focus is on Estate Cabernet, but they also produce Estate Chardonnay, as well as Port wines from their own vineyards and from the Sierra Foothills. They produce state Chardonnay, Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, a blend of cab and Merlot, a blend of cab and Syrah and 5 ports – 2 of which are white ports. Wine Enthusiast magazine named Cedar Mountain Winery as one of the top 5 port producers in the United States.
Next we visit Elliston Vineyards, up the narrow wooded canyon from the tiny country hamlet of Sunol is a stately 17-room, three-story, neo-Romanesque mansion featuring graceful stone arches and 32-inch-thick walls of blue sandstone. This is the home of Elliston Vineyards. Completed in 1890 by Henry Ellis and restored by its current owners in 1969, the mansion, winery and handsome event grounds blend perfectly with the natural landscape. Today Elliston is on the National Register of Historic Places, and is a real treat to discover.
The former carriage house now contains the winery operation, and the bottom floor of the mansion serves as the tasting room. Visitors to the property in the late 1890s included Price Kuhio and Princess Elizabeth of Hawaii. On weekends, you can enjoy the property and taste their wines in the redecorated tasting room complete with period furniture, oriental rugs, chandeliers, and a rich oak tasting bar. There is also a small gift area to browse.
Don Blackburn was hired as Elliston’s first winemaker. Trained in Burgundy, Don’s wines from 1985 to 1990 were classically Burgundian in style, employing exclusively French Oak barrel fermentation, "sur lie" aging, and malolactic fermentation, emphasizing the complexity and unique flavors of the vineyard.
The original three-acre vineyard was planted in 1890, and has since been replanted to Chardonnay. In addition to their Chardonnay, the winery produces Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and a sparkling wine. Elliston has beautful spaces for weddings and special events on site
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