Bay Area Wineries: Take an Epic Tasting Tour in Contra Costa + Alameda Counties
August 5, 2021
Bay Area Wineries: Take an Epic Tasting Tour in Contra Costa + Alameda Counties
Forget the long drive to crowded Napa Valley for your next wine tasting tour because we have an astounding number of award-winning vintners much closer to home. Dozens of Bay Area wineries are ripe for the picking and sipping right here in Alameda and Contra Costa counties. To visit them all would take several heady weekends filled with reds, whites, and rosés!
Some area wineries, like those in the Livermore Valley, are over a century old and sit on golden hillsides with panoramic views. Other tasting rooms are uniquely urban and located just blocks from BART and Jack London Square. (As Sunset magazine noted about Oakland's vintner scene, “California’s newest wine country leaves the ‘country’ behind.”)
We all have our local favorites. Abio Properties agents Lorraine Donovan and Julie Sullivan adore Walnut Creek's Shadowbrook Winery, whose motto is "Close to Home..." (our point exactly!) "...Far From Ordinary." They've won nearly 70 medals in San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competitions.
"Their rosé in the summer is the way I go," Lorraine says. "I also love bringing home their olive oil and balsamic to join my backyard tomatoes."
Whistler Vineyards, another Berkeley fav, is tucked in an ivy-covered bungalow on Camelia Street. Vintners Stig Hansen and Jennifer Whistler grow grapes for their Pinot Noir and Viognier near the cool Sonoma Coast and create their wines here in Berkeley. They share the cozy space with the winemakers at Lusu Cellars. Sip from two wineries in one stop!
Here's how easy it is to taste the greatness of local grapes:
- Hop on the Livermore Wine Trolley.
- Walk the Oakland Urban Wine Trail.
- Or set your own course using our extensive list of Bay Area wineries below. Cheers!
COVID-19 update: Many wineries now require reservations, so call ahead before you head out.
Urban Bay Area Wineries - Alameda County
- Brooklyn West Winery Housed in a space designed by the award-winning architect David Baker, Brooklyn West Winery's "industrial-chic" tasting room is located at 200 2nd St. (corner of 2nd and Jackson) in Oakland's Jack London Square Warehouse District.
- Dashe Cellars Come for the wine, stay for the live music every first Saturday of the month. 55 4th St., Oakland.
- Donkey and Goat 1340 5th St., Berkeley
- Lusu Cellars and Whistler Vineyards 805 Camelia St., Berkeley
- Rock Wall Wine Company This Alameda winery is the project of Shauna Rosenblum, daughter of local winemaking legend Kent Roseblum of Rosenblum Cellars. Enjoy city skyline views at 2301 Monarch St., Alameda.
- Rosenblum Cellars Billing itself as “the original urban winery,” Rosenblum has been making wine since 1978 and is all about the Zin. The tasting room is located just steps from the Oakland Ferry Terminal in the heart of Jack London Square.
- Urban Legend Cellars Try the competition-worthy tempranillo. Open Thursday-Sunday in Oakland's Jack London District at 200 2nd St.
Livermore Valley Wineries
- 3 Steves Winery 5700 Greenville Rd., Livermore
- Bent Creek Winery 5455 Greenville Rd., Livermore
- BoaVentura de Caires Winery These wines are considered truly hand-crafted; the grapes are hand-picked by family and friends. Read about winemaker Brett Caires in this Huffington Post article. 9309 Tesla Rd., Livermore.
- Caddis Wines Open eight times a year for special events listed on their website. 7878 Cedar Mountain Rd., Livermore
- Cedar Mountain Winery & Port Works Creativity defines this winery owned by Earl and Linda Ault. Taste their wine and view their art and sculptures on display. 10843 Reuss Rd., Livermore
- Charles R Vineyards Grapes sourced from the Livermore Valley and Tracy Hills showcase classic varietals and some lesser-known gems. 8195 Crane Ridge Rd., Livermore
- Concannon Vineyard The tasting room, a historic landmark, was named one of the Top 25 Most Awesome Tasting Rooms in California by IntoWine.com for its pressed tin ceilings, stone floors, and century-old cedar planks. 4590 Tesla Rd., Livermore
- Crooked Vine and Stony Ridge Winery Their tasting room is closed for now, but their website says they hope to reopen in the fall. You can still order a case for drive-through pickup. 5625 Greenville Rd., Livermore
- Cuda Ridge Wines 2400 Arroyo Rd., Livermore
- Dante Robere Vineyards 1200 Wetmore Rd., Livermore
- Darcie Kent Vineyards Don't forget to tour the art gallery here. Or reserve a guided tasting on their sundeck. Check the calendar for live music dates. 7000 Tesla Rd., Livermore
- Eagle Ridge Vineyard Besides offering award-winning wines, they have outstanding views of the Livermore Valley. 10017 Tesla Rd., Livermore
- Ehrenberg Cellars 5143 Tesla Rd., Livermore
- Elliston Vineyards The estate is gorgeous and features a neo-Romanesque mansion built in 1890 with graceful stone arches and 32-inch-thick walls of blue sandstone quarried in nearby Niles Canyon. 463 Kilkare Rd., Sunol
- el Sol Winery Open weekends at 8626 Lupin Way, Livermore
- Fenestra Winery Come for the wine, stay for the fascinating history. The Fenestra tasting room is located in a historic winery built in 1889. After several ownership changes and a long abandonment, the winery was purchased by the Replogle family, who launched Fenestra in 1976. Tastings take place on a lawn overlooking the beautiful vineyards and rolling hills. 83 Vallecitos Rd., Livermore
- Garre' Vineyard & Winery Make a meal at Garre' Cafe part of your visit. Reservations recommended. 7986 Tesla Rd., Livermore
- Las Positas Vineyards 1828 Wetmore Rd., Livermore
- Leisure Street Winery By appointment only. 503 Leisure St., Livermore
- Longevity Wines 2271 South Vasco Rd., Livermore
- McGrail Vineyards and Winery Since McGrail won awards for its Cabernet Reserve in 2012, the winery’s popularity has skyrocketed. 5600 Greenville Rd., Livermore.
- McKahn Family Cellars 2245 South Vasco Rd., Ste A, Livermore
- Mitchell Katz Winery 2481 Buena Vista Ave., Livermore
- Murrieta's Well Reservations required. 3005 Mines Rd., Livermore
- Nella Terra Cellars Beautiful wine for beautiful brides! This is a popular spot for tasting and wedding ceremonies. 5005 Sheridan Rd., Sunol
- Nottingham Cellars These winemakers are dedicated to their pursuit of the perfect Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux red varieties. 2245 C South Vasco Rd., Livermore
- Occasio Winery 2245 B South Vasco Rd., Livermore
- Omega Road Winery 2135 South Vasco Road, Unit C, Livermore
- Page Mill Winery A down-to-earth winery with a motto we can get behind: "Peace through wine, one glass at a time." 1960 S. Livermore Ave., Livermore
- Pat Paulsen Vineyards 5143 Tesla Rd., Livermore
- Retzlaff Vineyards 1356 South Livermore Ave., Livermore
- Rios-Lovell Estate Winery The 68-acre estate sits on a hilltop with an amazing panoramic view of surrounding vineyards and mountains. They produce wines and ports. 6500 Tesla Rd., Livermore
- Rodrigue Molyneaux The boutique producer won gold for its 2012 Merlot and Silver for its 2011 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon at the 2016 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. The charming tasting room is a former horse barn, but sipping while picnicking outside also is encouraged. 3053 Marina Ave., Livermore.
- Steven Kent Winery 5443 Tesla Rd., Livermore
- Wente Vineyards 7x7 magazine recently named Wente a must-visit destination for anyone looking for more than just a wine tasting. Dine at The Restaurant, golf the premiere course, learn about vinification in the Winemakers Studio, and enjoy the summer concert series in the winery's amphitheater. See the summer lineup here. 5565 Tesla Rd., Livermore
Contra Costa County Wineries
- Campos Family Vineyards 3501 Byer Rd., Byron
- Bhachu Vineyards Call 925.370.0723 for information on how to visit this Alhambra Valley winery in Martinez.
- Bloomfield Vineyards Get a taste at Coco's (the Contra Costa County Wine Company) at 633 First St. in Brentwood.
- Four Fools Winery An urban winery set on San Pablo Bay, Four Fools puts the fun in fine wine by hosting on-going events like Food Truck Thursdays and monthly Sunday car shows. 13 Pacific Ave., Rodeo
- Hannah Nicole Vineyards 6700 Balfour Rd., Brentwood
- Shadowbrook Winery 1 Meritage Ln., Walnut Creek
- Tamayo Family Vineyards They are temporarily closed for tours and tastings but are open for online order pickups. 2155 Elkins Way, Suite H, Brentwood
- Viano Vineyards This beautiful gem tucked away in Martinez is located on a century-old vineyard. The family estate is now run by its 4th and 5th generations. Viano is known for casual tastings and family-friendly vibe. 150 Morello Ave., Martinez
A Digestif: East Bay Winery Fun Facts
- East Bay wines go way back. Charles Wetmore's dry white wine from his Cresta Blance vineyard in Livermore Valley won the grand prize at the 1889 Paris Exhibition.
- At least one East Bay varietal has made it into the Smithsonian. A bottle that once held sherry produced by Concannon Vineyards in 1929, at the height of Prohibition, is part of the National Museum of American History collection. Concannon worked around Prohibition by making this legal altar wine for the Catholic Church.
Did we forget one of your favorite Bay Area wineries? Leave us a comment below. And if you are dreaming of living in East Bay wine country, let us help you make that dream come true! Call us at 888-400-ABIO (2246) or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.