Gary Farrell Vineyards - a Quintessential Russian River Winery

With an uncannily prophetic eye to the future, the first wine he produced under the Gary Farrell label was a 1982 Pinot Noir sourced from what would eventually become two of the Russian River Valley’s premier vineyards: Rochioli and Allen. Planted just up the road from where he would build his winery, these sites are adjacent to each other on Westside Road and have been meticulously farmed by Joe Rochioli, Jr. for more than 40 years.

The success of our wines comes down to relationships like the one we enjoy with Joe and his family. We are committed to maintaining the strong, long-term partnerships we’ve established with the owners of the iconic Russian River Valley vineyards that form the heart of our wine portfolio, including Westside FarmsRochioliAllenStilingHallberg and more.

For the past few years, we have established new relationships with even more of our neighboring Russian River Valley growers. We’ve added exciting new vineyard sources to our portfolio including RitchieBacigalupiPellegrini Olivet Lane Estate and Martinelli, to name just a few. Additionally, we continue to work with exceptional vineyard sites outside of the Russian River Valley to add intriguing counterpoints to our portfolio. These include newer sources like Durell Vineyard in Sonoma Valley, as well as long-standing sites such as Bradford Mountain in Dry Creek Valley and the classic Bien Nacido Vineyard of the Santa Maria Valley, both of which we have been working with for more than a decade.

When selecting new sites to work with, each vineyard is critically assessed for the specific climate conditions we require. In nearly every vineyard site we work with, cool breezes and fog from the nearby Pacific Ocean blanket the vines in the mornings and evenings during the growing season, tempering summer’s heat and reducing temperatures by 35-40 degrees at night, ensuring a long, even growing season. The slow ripening process that results fully matures the fruit while maintaining healthy levels of acidity. Here in the Russian River Valley, the wide range of volcanic, sandstone and alluvial soils is favorable for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, providing essential water drainage while retaining sufficient moisture and nutrients to nourish the vines during the appellation’s long growing season.

These specific conditions yield wines boasting bright, vibrant aromas, intense, yet supple flavors and exemplary balance. Our wines display these characteristics in spades, along with a remarkable purity and elegance of varietal expression.

Along with the heritage vineyards our reputation has been firmly built upon, these new vineyard sources give Winemaker Theresa Heredia an even broader palette of flavor and texture to work with in the winery.

Gundlach Bundschu Winery

Gundlach Bundschu Winery also known as "GUNBUN" is the oldest continuously owned family winery is a favorite stop for eXtraordinary Tour Services guests in Sonoma county.

Rooted in the past yet fun and free-spirited, Gundlach Bundschu Winery is on a 300-acre farm a couple of miles from Sonoma Plaza. “Gunbun” is California’s oldest continuously owned family winery, producing in small lots, including an annual reserve selection – usually a Bordeaux-style red – that makes reviewers swoon. Jacob Gundlach planted his first vines here – rootstock from the old country – in 1858. Five generations later, Jeff Bundschu has introduced new vines and new traditions, including the huichica music festival held on the farm’s grassy hillside each June. Sitting here on a summer evening, sipping a chilled gewurztraminer and listening to some of the best indie bands outside of Coachella is a quintessential California experience. Gunbun’s main tasting room is open year-round; on summer weekends, you can reserve a courtyard tasting overlooking the pond and vineyards.

San Francisco Sightseeing

Enjoy San Francisco

What should I see and do when I visit San Francisco?

San Francisco is both old and new, a blend of classic architecture and fresh energy, situated on a Pacific peninsula and filled with wonders to delight travelers of all sorts. The ‘City by the Bay’ is compact, yet contains many distinctive and vibrant areas within its central core. A Extraordinary tour service tour will help orient you as well as show you a taste of many different districts. You’ll have a full day of sights and activities included, yet you’ll go away feeling ready to continue your explorations as to experience San Francisco is to want to experience it deeper.

How can I best enjoy San Francisco sightseeing?

Extraordinary Tour Services knowledgeable expert guides include history and cultural information to enhance your touring experience. Our focus on small groups makes you day both personable and relaxed, while distinguishing itself from other San Francisco City Tours. Our fleet of comfortable vehicles enable us to be flexible in timing and to show you areas and make stops that the big buses can’t do. We are a boutique company with years of experience and are deeply committed to excellence on all our San Francisco day trips. We also offer combination tours to locations such as Muir Woods or the wine regions, and we can customize day trips from San Francisco for special groups of any size. San Francisco sightseeing tours are offered morning or afternoon’ a 6 hour tour includes complimentary hotel pickup and dropoff.

Highlights of this San Francisco City Tour include:

  • Palace of Fine Arts – one of the few surviving structures of 1915’s Panama Pacific Exposition, now hosts art exhibits and is a popular spot for weddings.
  • Fisherman’s Wharf  – still a working wharf, but also a great place to eat seafood or visit other attractions, such as Ripley’s Believe It or Not or the Aquarium by the Bay
  • Financial District – a collection of the city’s tall buildings and corporate headquarters, including six Fortune 500 companies
  • North Beach  – a neighborhood created out of infill with a strong Italian and beatnik history
  • The Presidio – a former military base turned over to public use as part of the National Park System in 1994
  • Pier 39 – a quintessential San Francisco shopping destination
  • Chinatown  – the oldest Chinatown in North America and the largest Chinese community outside of Asia
  • The Marina – a neighborhood created on the site of the 1915 Panama Pacific Exposition
  • Fort Point – a masonry seacoast fortification located at the southern side of the Golden Gate Bridge, affording excellent bay and bridge views
  • Union Square – a centrally located public plaza surrounded by high end shopping and department stores as well as convenient cable car access
  • Haight-Ashbury – the historical crossroads of hippie culture
  • The Embarcadero – the frontage road along the bay, from the iconic Ferry Building to Fisherman’s Wharf
  • Golden Gate Bridge – the most photographed bridge in the world, linking the peninsula to Marin County over the 1-mile wide Golden Gate strait
  • Golden Gate Park – over 1,000 acres including a museum, botanical gardens, and bison herd
  • Lombard Street – the world’s official crookedest street containing eight hairpin turns in one city block
  • Twin Peaks (weather permitting) – the city’s highest points afford one of the best views in town

Artesa Winery Napa

A WINEMAKING LEGACY

In the 1980s, the historic Spanish winemaking family Codorníu Raventós began to acquire and develop vineyard land in the Carneros region of Napa Valley. Opened in 1991 as Codorníu Napa, a sparkling wine house, the winery ultimately transitioned to producing still wines as successive vintages revealed the quality and potential of the family’s vineyard holdings. The winery was renamed Artesa – Catalan for “handcrafted” – in 1997, and has since become a leading producer of artisan wines from the varietals for which Carneros and Napa Valley are best known: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon. Codorníu Raventós is still family owned and is the oldest company in Spain with a winemaking legacy in the Penedès region near Barcelona that dates back to 1551. Today, Codorníu Raventós owns wineries in Spain, Argentina and California, and brings generations of expertise to Artesa.

http://www.artesawinery.com/

Livermore Valley is the Bay Area neighborhood wine region but rich in history

On November 12 the wineries of Livermore Valley gathered at the St. Regis Hotel for a unique tasting showcasing some of Livermore Valley’s finest wines. Livermore Valley is a historic highlight in the wine industry in California. It is one of California's oldest wine regions, earning its American Viticultural Area (AVA) status in 1982. The valley played a pivotal role in shaping California's wine industry.

  • Closest wine region to the Bay Area and surrounded by 7.5 million people – Livermore Valley, 25 miles from downtown San Francisco
  • Oldest continuously owned and operated family winery –Wente Vineyards of Livermore Valley founded in 1883
  • America’s oldest ongoing winery under same family name – Concannon Vineyard of Livermore Valley founded in 1883
  • Member of America’s oldest winemaking family (Mirassou Winery founded in 1854) – Steven Mirassou of Steven Kent Winery in Livermore Valley
  • Winner of the first international gold medal for wine at Paris Exposition – Charles Wetmore of Cresta Blanca Winery in Livermore brings home the Grand Prize (87 years prior to the Judgment of Paris tasting)
  • First bottling of Chardonnay labeled wine – Wente Winery
  • Genetic roots for 80% of all Chardonnay vines in California – Wente Winery Wente clone
  • Genetic roots for about 80% of California Cabernet Sauvignon vines – Concannon Winery Concannon clone
  • First bottling of Petite Sirah labeled wine – Concannon Winery

Karen MacNeil author of “Wine Bible” says that Livermore Valley is, “The combination of bright light, heat and strong winds, followed by nighttime cooling, plus the valley’s shallow soil, is reminiscent of parts of southern France.”

Spanish missionaries planted the first wine grapes in the Livermore Valley in the 1760s. In the 1840s, California pioneers looking for outstanding vineyard sites began planting grapes in the region. Robert Livermore planted the first commercial vines in the 1840s. Pioneer winemakers C. H. Wente, James Concannon, and Charles Wetmore recognized the area's winegrowing potential and founded their wineries in the early 1880s.

Less than an hour east of San Francisco, Livermore Valley Wine Country welcomes visitors with a flourish expanse of vineyards, wineries, and wine country experiences. Amid picturesque canyons, ridges and outposts of suburbia, the lush vines and convivial tasting rooms increasingly define the quality of life in the valley. To the delight of residents and visitors alike, the region is enjoying a wine renaissance harking back to the golden years of early California wine history.

Attracted to the rich winemaking tradition, climate, soil and geography, new winemakers and vineyardists are working alongside fifth generation winegrowers to create this Livermore Valley wine renaissance. The region now has over 50 wineries, with several more about to open, and more than 5,000 acres of vineyards. Wineries vary in size from limited release, 100-case labors of love to 400,000-case industry heavyweights, and grapes range from familiar Merlot and Chardonnay to Italian, Rhone and Spanish varieties. Welcoming tasting rooms showcase award-winning wines and offer year around activities. In addition to the myriad happenings at individual wineries, the Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association sponsors several consumer events each year, showcasing the talent, energy and fine wines of the region.

Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association

Les Chenes Estate Vineyards has a feel of Southern France.........

Les Chenes Estate Winery is surrounded by magnificent Mountain views with a feel of Southern France.Specializing in Estate Rhone Wines,the owners Candice and Richard Dixon are the second generation of premium Wine Grape growers starting in Sonoma and Lake counties in the 1960's with the current Livermore site being planted in 1999.

  Les Chenes translated means "the Oaks" which the Dixon's state "not only reflects our vineyard site but the rich flavors and traditions of our wines." 

 

Les Chenes has become one of Extraordinary Tour Services favorite spots to bring visitors enjoying Livermore valley wine country.Not only is the site one of the prettiest in the region the quality of their wines are outstanding. But mostly Candice and Richard and their staff truly make all feel welcome and greet all my tour guests with a friendly,warm and knowledgeable experience.A Must visit when in Livermore Valley wine region! 

 

    The East Bay's Unexpected Wine Country

    The East Bay's Unexpected Wine Country

    If you think you need to go all the way north to Napa Valley to experience California's great wines, think again. Believe it or not, it was a wine from Livermore in the East Bay – rather than Napa or Sonoma – that won a gold medal at the 1889 Paris Exhibition. Wines from this underrated and relatively unknown area still win awards frequently. The East Bay can be an oenophile's paradise, with enough wineries and tasting rooms to justify several trips back. So plan your day to visit the best wineries in the East Bay.

    Livermore Valley

    Livermore Valley is the vibrant hub of the East Bay's wine scene. Its combination of fog and sun makes it the perfect place to grow world-class grapes. In fact, Robert Livermore, the man for whom the valley is named, recognized this ideal climate and began growing wine grapes here in the mid-19th century. This area was once California's leading wine region. Today, that historical legacy lives on in the 50+ wineries, vineyards, and tasting rooms in Livermore Valley.

    —By Gretchen Holm
    Gretchen Holm, a Bay Area native and major foodie, is the Guide to Oakland for About.com, a New York Times company. See her website athttp://www.berkeleywriter.com.

    View the entire article here: http://www.visitsfbayarea.com/Article/Details/The-east-bays-unexpected-wine-country

    Hidden Gem: Livermore Valley

    Livermore Valley wine region, a hidden gem nestled in Northern California, just an hour east of San Francisco, is gaining more traction than ever. It's finally being recognized as the prestigious wine region that it is. Steven Mirassou from Steven Kent Winery states,  “Undoubtedly, the quality of the wines has risen dramatically, and I think that the word is beginning to filter out. The mainstream wine press is writing more about the valley than ever before, and a younger generation of wine lovers is keen on exploring ‘new’ areas like the Livermore Valley. I believe any region that aspires to greatness must have the viticultural chops as well as a cadre of souls who won’t accept less," The Drive For Quality In Livermore Valley). We see evidence in the growth of the region as the number of wineries in approximately twenty years have tripled! Not only do we see an expansion in the region, but we see improvement in quality. Aside from the talented winemakers and premium wines, the 50-square-mile area of Livermore Valley offers a unique experience. Livermore Valley offers a span of activities and events that wine lovers will be sure to love! You'll be sure to have a delightful afternoon exploring the beautiful landscapes and fruitful wineries of Livermore Valley.