Our friends over at Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association have a lot to talk about when it comes to great wines. Livermore area wines have been collecting a series of awards lately and the local winemakers continue to produce interesting estate grown varietals. Not only are the grapes and the beauty of Livermore a compelling reason to join the 2016 Wine Bloggers Conference excursion, the wine makers themselves bring a new flavor to the wines coming out of this historical region. Livermore Valley wine country has an exciting crop of winemakers under 40 with one important thing in common—a deep love for the fruit of our region’s vines.
Collin Cranor, 29, of Nottingham Cellars is the youngest commercial winemaker in Livermore Valley. He was just out of high school and working in construction when his father became a minority partner in an urban winery on the Peninsula. Collin was curious about the winemaking process, so when harvest came, he spent evenings and weekends working alongside a winemaker to learn the basics and stuck with it for three years.
Collin joined the wine industry full time when he launched Nottingham Cellars with his family in 2009 and has since won dozens of awards for his wines.
“I’ve learned to be a winemaker by getting my hands in the bins, cleaning the equipment and respecting the process. The rest I have picked up from my colleagues here in the Livermore Valley,” said Collin. “We are continuously pushing the envelope on quality, and I am educating myself every day.”
In 2014, Collin and his family created Vasco Urbano Wine Company to showcase their Rhone style wines, and Nottingham Cellars continues to flourish with Bordeaux varieties. All of the wines are made with Livermore Valley fruit.
Winemaker Chris Sorensen, 33, also fell in love with the wine business as a teenager. “I was 15 when my uncle was working at the Cedar Mountain tasting room and they needed help putting labels on bottles,” remembers Chris. “The rest is history.”
Today, Chris and his wife, Courtney, own one of Livermore Valley’s newest wineries, Caddis. Before striking out on his own, he was associate winemaker at Occasio Winery and winemaker at Crooked Vine and Stony Ridge.
“Right now, I am most proud of our 2013 Caddis Cabernet Sauvignon ($45). We recently sent it out to the SF Chronicle wine competition, and it came back as a Best of Class winner. We were very excited when we heard the news!” said Chris. “The Cab is an elegant wine with aromas of blackberry, clove, mint, and violets. Tart black cherries and plums on the palate, along with bright acidity and integrated tannins which make it a treat to sip.”
Fifth generation winemaker Karl Wente, 38, is excited about life and the Livermore Valley.
“I am incredibly proud of the depth and diversity of our portfolio. It’s true to the sense of place of our wonderful appellations and varietally typical, balanced wines, says Karl, who grew up in Livermore Valley and has worked through 16 vintages. He received a Chemical Engineering degree from Stanford University and holds two master’s degrees – one in viticulture and one in enology from UC Davis.
“I chose winemaking because I love the history of the Livermore Valley and the impact that my family has had on the wine industry continues to amaze me,” says Karl. “After five generations, we’re still going strong and I’m proud of the opportunity to contribute and make an impact. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”
Taste a wide variety of the region’s wines and visit with these winemakers in person during the WBC16 excursion to Livermore Valley, we only have a few spots left for this trip so please register today!
Still need to complete your registration? Kill 2 birds with one stone and register for WBC16 and your excursions in one spot.
You will love the wineries of Livermore! We visit a few smaller wineries several times a month, and love each one. Don’t hesitate to stop into any of their tasting rooms!