Combining History and Wine Tasting in Livermore Valley
Murrieta's Well sits on a small road outside the town of Livermore, an unassuming wine country about 40 miles east of San Francisco. Grape vines cover the hills surrounding the tasting room, an old barn that has been renovated, bringing a rustic feel to the refined practice of wine tasting. As I entered, I passed the site of Murrieta's well, the artesian well that was discovered here in the 1850s by Joaquin Murrieta, a famous Robin Hood-type figure of California legend. The winery's historic connections continued--in the 1880s cuttings from some of France’s finest vineyards were brought here, and vines from these original white and red grapes can still be found in their vineyards today. Visitors can take self-guided tours of the property and learn about the winery's past with the "history walls" in the renovated barn.
Tastings are $10. While the winery is known for its white and red blends (don't miss the Whip, a vibrant white blend), the winery also produces a nice array of single-varietal wines in small quantities. For me, the stand out was the 2011 Zinfandel, but the Zarzuela blends that showcase Spanish and Portuguese varietals were unexpected favorites. Murrieta's Well is an estate winery where all the wines are made from grapes grown right on the property, and the winery uses sustainable growing and production practices. Open daily 11:00-4:30.