Correspondent

LIVERMORE -- Over Labor Day weekend, Livermore Valley vintners will welcome thousands of visitors to the 32nd Annual Harvest Wine Celebration.

Guests to the picturesque vineyards can sip some of the historic valley's widely touted wines, sample gourmet food at each site, listen to everything from jazz to rock 'n' roll and check out arts and crafts by local artists.

"In 1992, 12 wineries participated in the celebration," said Chris Chandler, executive director of the Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association. "This year, guests can experience the wines of 40 different wineries and visit more than 30 tasting rooms during the two-day festival."

The event, which drew about 7,000 people last year, will feature some of the valley's oldest wineries, as well as new faces.

Lanny and Fran Replogle, owners of Fenestra Winery, have been in business since 1976 and have watched as the Livermore Valley has evolved and flourished.

"Fran and I started Fenestra Winery in 1976," said Lanny Replogle.

"As I recall, there were only five wineries at the time -- Wente, Concannon, Villa Armando, Stony Ridge and Fenestra. We have seen remarkable changes in the Livermore Valley with the planting of new vineyards and the emergence of new wineries." Chandler said.

Fenestra has developed a very loyal following over the years. "They call themselves the Fenestra Fanatics," she said.


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New additions to the Livermore Valley in the past year are Dante Robere Vineyards and Ehrenberg Cellars, which relocated from Alameda where it has made award-winning wines since 2003.

"Ehrenberg Cellars will join The Singing Winemaker at their location on Tesla Road," said Chandler. "In addition, Darcie Kent Vineyards and Cuda Ridge Wines will be showcasing their new tasting rooms. Each winery will be pouring at least two varietals."

Darcie Kent Vineyards also has a new art gallery, featuring the work of the vintner, whose art graces the poster for this year's harvest celebration. The colorful painting entitled "Bruno" depicts a harvester hoisting a bin of freshly picked grapes.

Kent said her winery is "where the palette meets the palate."

"Darcie's wine labels are works of art influenced by the terroir and vineyards used to craft her wines," said Chandler. "Terroir expresses 'a sense of place,' the way local conditions of land, climate, culture and technique combine to create wine attributes that are specific to a region."

Chandler said Cuda Ridge Wines' owners Margie and Larry Dino "did a fantastic job on their new facility."

Chris Chandler, executive director of the Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association, welcomes guests to the Blessing of the Grapes ceremony and offers brief
Chris Chandler, executive director of the Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association, welcomes guests to the Blessing of the Grapes ceremony and offers brief remarks at C. Tarantino Vineyards in Livermore on Aug. 28, 2013. (Cindi Christie/Staff)

The new winery is in the heart of Livermore Valley with views of the surrounding olive trees and vineyards.

"The estate vineyard is newly planted and will be used to make the winery's Estate Petit Verdot when the vines start producing fruit," said Chandler.

The Labor Day weekend celebration is really two events rolled into one.

"On Sunday, guests will ride complimentary shuttle buses between the wineries," she said. "On Monday, the wineries present a more intimate affair, as they offer unique experiences at their tasting rooms." Food at all winery locations will be locally prepared and moderately priced, according to Tami Kelly, spokeswoman for the vintners group.

The two-day tickets includes a commemorative Livermore Valley wine glass, tastings of at least two wine varietals from each participating winery, an event program and discounts on wine purchases.

Kelly said guests who use the shuttle bus on Sunday can park for free and board the bus at Robertson Park. Buses will travel on two different routes, each serving at least 14 winery locations.

"Bus stops may be as far away as 300 feet from winery locations, so guests should be prepared to walk up the driveways," Kelly said.

The Harvest Wine Celebration is a fundraiser for the Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association. For information, visit www.lvwine.org or call 925-447-9463.

Harvest Wine Celebration:
What: Showcase of more than 40 wineries in Livermore Valley wine country.
When: Noon-5 p.m. Sunday and Monday,
Where: On Sunday, shuttle buses pick up visitors at Robertson Park, 3200 Robertson Park Road, Livermore. On Monday, cars will be permitted at all wineries.
Cost: Two-day tickets are $55 in advance, $65 day of event, $10 for designated drivers. Advance tickets are sold at www.lvwine.org, or at First St Wine Co., Winemakers Pour House, The Wine Steward and many Bay Area Safeway stores.
Details: Visit www.lvwine.org or call 925-447-9463.
Participating wineries: AuburnJames, Bent Creek Winery, Big White House, Charles R Vineyards, Concannon Vineyard, Crooked Vine Winery, Cuda Ridge Wines, Dante Robere Vineyards, Darcie Kent Vineyards, Eagle Ridge Vineyard, Eckert Estate Winery, Ehrenberg Cellars, el Sol Winery, Fenestra Winery, Garré Vineyard & Winery, John Evan Cellars, La Rochelle Winery, Las Positas Vineyards, Longevity Wines, McGrail Vineyards and Winery, Mitchell Katz Winery, Nottingham Cellars, Occasio Winery, Retzlaff Estate Winery, Rios-Lovell, The Singing Winemaker, The Steven Kent Winery, Stony Ridge Winery, Wente Vineyards Estate Winery, White Crane Winery, Wood Family Vineyards
Wineries pouring at Concannon Vineyard on Sunday:
Bodegas Aguirre, Page Mill Winery, Rodrigue Molyneaux, Thomas Coyne Winery, Westover Vineyards & Winery
Wineries pouring at Wente Vineyards: Elliston Vineyards, Les Chenes Estate Vineyards, Little Valley Winery, Murrieta's Well, Támas Estates