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 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 at http://www.berkeleywriter.com. View the entire article