The Top Wineries to Visit on This Trail
- La Rochelle – Pinot Noir specialist
- The Steven Kent Winery – The Cabernet Sauvignon
- Wente Vineyards – First Chardonnay planted here
- Bodegas Aguirre – From Physician to winemaker
- McGrail Vineyards – Best Cabernet Sauvignon
- Les Chenes – Amazing Rhones from husband-wife team
Dining and Lodging RecommendationsSee Restaurants See Lodging
Winery Descriptions, Driving Directions, Tasting Room HoursLa Rochelle and The Steven Winery Steven Kent is the owner of both wineries located at 5443 Tesla Road. Steven Kent is the 6th generation of the Mirassou Family that emigrated from France and established the Mirassou Winery back in 1852. At La Rochelle the goal is to produce the finest Pinot Noir in Livermore. The grapes are sourced from various Pinot Noir growing regions in California. The Steven Kent Winery focuses on Cabernet Sauvignon and Rhone varietals, and these grapes are from Livermore. These two winereies have two different winemakers and two separate tasting areas, even though the entrance is the same for both.
Wente Vineyards Wente Vineyards has a special place in our hearts because it was one of the very first wines that we purchased regularly back in the day. It was the Wente Bros. Grey Rieslling. That wine was one of their flagship wines for years. The vines were dug up in the 1990’s to make room for today’s more popular varieties. Few people know that this is where the first Chardonnay was planted in California. Carl Wente took budwood obtained from Meursault in France’s Burgundy region and successfully planted the grape on his vineyards. This was in 1883 and five generations later the winery and its Chardonnay are flousishing. Wente Bros also has a gourmet restaurant on the property in case you want to dine in style.
Bodegas Aguirre This is the winery of cardiologist Recardo Aquirre. This is a cute little boutique winery at the end of our wine trail on Tesla Road. We really enjoyed the wines at Bodegas Aquirre; they seemed to be made just for our palate. The wines are all made from estate vineyards and produced in small amounts. These are delicious wines with great character and structure, some of the best wines we tasted in our Livermore wine travels. We love the art work on the bottles.
McGrail Vineyards & Winery The grounds, wine cellars, and tasting room at McGrail are relatively new and quite impressive. More impressive is the recent award by the San Francisco Chronicle of the best overall red wine of their extensive competition. The McGrail 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon was awarded Best of Class at the latest competiton . However, don’t pass up the other wines; they are well made and the McGrail Family and winemaker Mark Clarin should take a bow to their outstanding lineup of wines. The winery is an excellent choice for a picnic lunch. The views are quite pleasant.
Les Chenes Way out on Victoria Lane there is small housing development where you will find Les Chenes winery. Candice and Richard are the owners and Richard does the winemaking. Each Saturday and Sunday they both work the tasting room, happily pouring their wines and engaging in great conversation with their guests. The emphasis is on Rhone Style wines and these wines have received rave reviews. The winery makes about 1200 cases of wine annually and all of it is sold out of the winery or to their wine club.