The Livermore Valley


Image of a vineyard

Vineyard growth began in the region in 1882 when Charles Wetmore, Secretary of the California Viticultural Commission, opened his Cresta Blanca Winery in Livermore. He recognized the Valley’s terroir as strikingly similar to the premier vineyards of the Bordeaux region. In 1889, Wetmore’s Livermore Valley white dessert wine won the Grand Prix at the International Paris Exposition, becoming the first California wine to win a major competition in France.


Wente Vineyards is recognized as the pioneer of California Chardonnay. With fruit from the 1936 vintage, Wente released the nation’s first bottling with the varietal name Chardonnay printed on the label. Currently, Chardonnay is the number one white wine grape in California with over 100,000 acres planted. The majority of that acreage can trace its genetic roots directly back to Livermore as either the Wente Clone 4 or another of the Wente Chardonnay Clones.

Concannon Vineyard is recognized as the pioneer of California Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah. In 1961, Concannon introduced America’s first varietally labeled Petite Sirah. Concannon Cabernet Clones 7, 8 and 11 helped California Cabernet achieve international recognition and are still the most widely planted Cabernet clones in California.


The last few decades have seen a number of changes to Livermore’s grape production. Probably most notable have been advances in irrigation technology and better mapping of the topography. Combined, these advances have allowed local growers to move beyond the valley floor and into the hillsides that ring the area. This in turn has given local winemakers more ability than ever to work with the subtleties in flavor characteristics between the region’s vineyards.


One of the oldest wine regions in California, Livermore Valley is recognized for introducing grape varietals from France, Germany, Italy and Spain that have shaped the wine industry throughout the state from the coastal regions to the vineyards of Napa and Sonoma.