Califonia Bountiful

Wente Vineyards

Winery has deep roots in Northern California wine country

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Once known more for being a bit of a commuter area, with giant wind turbines off the freeway, the Livermore Valley has slowly morphed into a wine lover's paradise with more than 40 wineries, including the "oldest continuously operating, family-owned winery in the United States."

Founded in 1883, Wente Vineyards has a history as rich as the petite syrah or sauvignon blanc that were first bottled in Livermore. Today, it's the fourth and fifth generations of Wentes who are looking after the family's two properties in Livermore. And while both locations offer plenty of wine tasting, they also offer something more for visitors—in the form of a golf course, a concert venue and a restaurant where local food takes center stage.

In operation for 30 years, the restaurant has evolved to embrace an authentic farm-to-table menu. Chef Mike Ward makes sure every bite and drink make sense together, with much of the inspiration coming from a cornucopia of produce grown just steps from the restaurant. Their tiny but mighty farm is a labor of love for the master gardener there, Diane Dovholuk. A one-time server at the restaurant in the 1980s, she started developing an unused corner of the ground into a garden and today it is the hidden agricultural gem of the property. 

Just as the wine benefits from the area's climate, soil and geography, so does the bountiful garden. The 1,000-square-foot fruit and vegetable garden supplies almost half of the restaurant's produce during peak season—starting from seed in the greenhouse and to plates at the restaurant. Diane and Mike work in tandem to make this a memorable spot to enjoy a true taste and sip of California cuisine!

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