Hey Winos, Listen Up

An update on the East Bay wine scene.

A little East Bay wine news for you:

Plow your way through Livermore Valley: If you’ve always wanted to learn about the wineries of Livermore, Sunol, Pleasanton, and Castro Valley — and with their up-and-coming reputation, you do — the 22nd Annual Livermore Valley Wine Harvest Festival gives you a chance to visit all 25.

From noon to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday and Monday, August 31-September 1, each winery will host its own slate of events, including wine tastings, seminars, food, arts and crafts, cookbook signings, and much live music. There will be 58 tour buses to ferry people from winery to winery. What you do after your 25th glass of Zinfandel is your responsibility, though.

Find more information and purchase tickets online at Livermorewine.com, or call 925-447-WINE. Tickets are $35 in advance ($40 onsite, $5 without tasting privileges) and can be mailed or picked up at the event. Ticket holders can start at any of the wineries or at the main transport hub: 2205 Railroad Ave., Livermore.

Meet your Syrah maker: Syrah is the Cabernet Sauvignon of the new millennium, and you’ll lose your foodie credentials if you don’t beef up on the amazing things Californian winemakers are now doing with this varietal. On Wednesday, September 10, Prima, the Walnut Creek restaurant famed for its wine program, is hosting a Syrah Summit Dinner.

For $75 a person plus tax and tip, you’ll get a three-course meal and a chance to meet with seven winemakers whom Prima’s wine director John Rittmaster considers to be among the top Syrah producers in the nation. The evening starts at 6:30 with a tasting of whites and rosés from the chosen wineries, followed by Syrah-friendly dishes from chef Peter Chastain and wines from Carlisle, Lagier Meredith, Garretson Wines, Edmonds St. John (from Berkeley), Renard, Pax Wines, and Louis Cellars. To learn more about the event or make a reservation — they’re filling up quick — call 925-935-7780 or e-mail [email protected].

You read it here first: Remember that article I wrote about the field-blended Zinfandel Rosenblum Cellars made using grapes from ninety-year-old Carla’s Vineyards in Oakley (Kitchen Sink, July 2, 2003)? Well, at the California State Fair’s wine competition, Rosenblum’s 2001 Carla’s Vineyards Zinfandel won not only Best of Show but also a Double Gold Medal, Best Zinfandel in California, Best Zinfandel of the Greater Bay Region, and Best Wine of the Greater Bay Appellation. Um, wow. According to Peter Hirschfeld, director of marketing, Rosenblum made about two thousand cases of the wine and released it August 10. It’s currently available at the winery’s tasting room in Alameda and will probably show up soon on the shelves of Andronico’s, BevMo, and Whole Foods stores, as well as independent wine stores around the region.

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