There are two ways to appreciate great wineries: drink the stuff (duh!), and tour the facility where the wines are made. Once upon a time, you had to get to Europe to do this, especially a region such as France’s Rhone Valley. More recently, Napa Valley has been the destination. Now you don’t even have to leave Alameda County to experience some of the best Rhone-style wines and Merlots you’d ever desire. In Livermore’s burgeoning winemaking district, seek out the Thomas Coyne Winery on a weekend afternoon and sample the rich flavors of Grenache, Mourvedre, and Syrah. If the weather’s good, bring a picnic lunch and soak up the atmosphere — the old winery building was originally the Chateau Bellevue Winery, started by a French vintner in 1881, proof that the Livermore area isn’t as much of a newcomer as some may think. In fact, as Coyne and his wife will tell you over the tasting bar, Livermore wines won gold medals at the Paris Expo of 1889! So pull up a stool and taste Rhones without roaming.