Modern Livermore Valley
The wine renaissance reached Livermore Valley, too, where not only large, well-established wineries like Concannon and Wente revitalized themselves, but also where small, family-owned “boutique” sized wineries began springing up. The region now includes almost 40 wineries, 75 winegrape growers, and more than 5,000 acres of planted vineyards. In 1981, Livermore Valley was awarded its own appellation under AVA (American Viticultural Area) standards.
In today’s winemaking world, it is perhaps especially significant that small, quality-driven wineries have been attracted to Livermore Valley. The wine business is tremendously capital-intensive, and no one is going to make an investment in land and winery facilities unless they are very sure that the terroir of the region (the soil, climate and overall growing conditions) is going to produce the very finest wine grapes. Fortunately for these wineries, Livermore Valley has all the requisites for world-class grape growing. Yet it remains almost unknown in the lexicon of wine connoisseurs.
Ironically, it is probably because wineries in Livermore Valley are almost all, small, quality-driven, family-owned enterprises that the area is so unknown: these wineries make such small amounts of hand-crafted wines that they have not felt the need to spend time and money on promotion and marketing, thereby allowing the reputation of the valley to languish in relative obscurity. (Napa Valley was the first California appellation to market itself aggressively on a national basis and achieved a stunning success as a result. Sonoma County followed suit some years later, and is now considered to be just as prestigious as Napa, especially for its Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.)