Wendy Van Diver
August 24, 2012 | Wine & Food Pairings, Wine Country Travel | Wendy Van Diver

Visiting Livermore Valley: Concannon Vineyard

Livermore Valley claims to be California’s original wine country. Although I’d enjoyed many Livermore wines, I had never actually spent time there. Time to change that!

The great grandson of Concannon Vineyard James Concannon, John Concannon, is a very busy man these days. But happily, he found time for me. I met him in the beautiful, spacious Concannon tasting room and we immediately set off on a tour of the winery, starting with a fascinating wall depicting the history of the Concannon family and how they started producing wine in Livermore Valley. From there, we strolled out on the grounds and John explained that they’re in the process of revising the layout of the entire facility, so the production area will be completely separate from hospitality. John laid out a mental map for me as I admired the giant barrels and an old wine press that was used through many, many decades. The pride of family heritage and Concannon’s commitment to fine winemaking was evident at every turn.

Concannon Vineyard Tasting Room (Photo Source: concannonvineyard.com)

John then took me into the adjacent giant, unfinished building that will provide the winery a new, state-of-the-art production facility, corporate offices, and meeting rooms. It’s hard to believe that work on this structure will be complete soon. It’s a very exciting time at Concannon.

Concannon Vineyard Tasting Room (Photo Source: concannonvineyard.com)

When we returned to the tasting room, John handed me over to Estate Manager Jim Ryan, who poured a series of wonderful wines for me. Highlights included the 2008 Grenache Reserve, the 2010 Reserve Chardonnay, the 2008 Mother Vine Cabernet Sauvignon, and the 2008 Nina’s Cuvée Petite Sirah. I realized after my eighth sample, that it was high time I eat something, and I was so grateful that Concannon’s chic wine lounge and café, Underdog Wine Bar, was just down the hall. There, I enjoyed a marvelous Ahi tuna tartar tower served with wonton chips (yum!) and a wine flight-sized sample of Darcie Kent Gruner Veltliner. The Darcie Kent tasting room (lined with her fabulous artwork) is also located at Concannon.

Underdog Wine Bar (Photo Source: underdogwinebar.com)

I resisted ordering more from the intriguing menu created by Chef Barbara Llewellyn and headed for Hilton Pleasanton at the Club where I checked in for the night. The hotel offers all the comforts and luxuries one appreciates in a Hilton—plus a bonus which I enjoyed that evening and then again the following morning—a gigantic fitness facility next door. Believe me; from all the wine tasting I’d been doing, I needed it!


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