Between the Vines is a biweekly column on wine and winemaking in the Livermore Valley region. This information was contributed by Mary Mele of Rubino Estates Winery

Winery name: Rubino Estates Winery

About us: Rubino, an Italian word for ruby, ties into areas of rich winemaking history. On this soil, immigrants from Italy settled in 1887 and began producing exceptional wines reminiscent of those found in their homeland. They settled here because of the rich, ruby color of the gravelly soils and the exceptional terroir.

Our winemaker is Chris Graves, who introduces old world, Italian classics made in a new world, California style. That means less rustic, more fruit-forward, more sweetness and spice from specially selected oak barrels and slightly higher alcohol levels compared to their old world counterparts.

In general, the wines will be richer and can be enjoyed on their own or paired with food. Varietals will include sangiovese, barbera, dolcetto, primitivo, nebbiolo, pinot grigio and eventually others like aglianico and trebbiano (just grafted last spring).

Graves will continue to make his unique, proprietary blends, such as the Primo Vita, which is a super-Tuscan style of predominantly sangiovese beefed up with cabernet as well as cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, merlot, zinfandel and brut sparkling wine.

Price range: Our wine prices vary from $14 to $35.

Special Amenities: Rubino has an 8,000-square-foot-plus tasting room, where visitors are greeted by a knowledgeable tasting room attendant who guides them through the tasting experience. Italian marble covers the floor, and bricks from the original 1887 winery building form decorative columns throughout the tasting area.

The King's Table is a private, sit-down food-and-wine pairing for groups of eight that is led by the winery's event concierge. King's Table guests are served the finest wines, each paired with food specially selected to bring out its full potential. Guests are offered barrel tastings of future vintages, as the concierge educates on the history of our Italian wines and varietals ($25 per guest).

Our bocce court is a great place to enjoy a game of bocce with a glass of vino while taking in the view of our estate vineyards. On weekends, the court is available by reservation as part of our Bocce Party Pack that consists of two bottles of our Italian Salute wine, salami and crackers. The party pack comes with the court rental ($40 for 90 minutes).

The bocce court can also be combined with barrel room packages for larger groups, which combines the full barrel room package plus use of the court. The minimum group size is 8, and the cost $15 per person.

The Barrel Room is a good venue for larger groups or for those interested in a more personal and educational tasting experience. A private hourlong tasting is led by one of the tasting room attendants and includes pours of six of our Reserva wines, samples of future releases straight from the barrel and light snacks. ($10 per guest)

Where is it?: We are at 1188 Vineyard Ave. in Pleasanton. Located next to the Palm Event Center, the winery is open daily from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Reservations: Reservations are required for groups of eight or more and can be made at info@rubinoestateswinery.com, http://www.rubinoestateswinery.com or 925-484-1699.

wine country events

  • Sip & Shop -- Visit Rubino Estates Winery from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Nov. 21, when the winery and vendors will show off their newest products. Wine and light snacks will be served. For more information, call 925-484-1699. Admission is free. Wine will be sold by the glass or bottle.