Livermore Valley Barrel Tasting Weekend

An early bud break, and loads of lovely vinos, should make a fine pre-spring celebration.

BUD BREAKS AND VINO TASTES: Much attention is given to fall in wine country, which is no surprise. That's the time of harvest, of leaves going golden, of crush and mondo events geared to a very busy time of year. But the period of bud break is also a beautiful one, as the first wee green tips of the first wee green leaves make their annual cameo out on the vines. It's quite the fresh-of-air, photograph-ready time to throw a big wine bash, especially one that takes on the barrels as a flavorful theme. The Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association is doing just that over the weekend that's just ahead of the spring equinox, a weekend that will have a lot of sunshiny celebrating at its core. The Barrel Tasting Weekend will give revelers "the opportunity to pre-purchase many of the barrel wines at a discount, a practice known as buying 'futures.'" The makers of the wine will be on hand to discuss process, as people sip, making it one of the more social affairs on the calendar.

WINERY BY WINERY: So what Livermore area vineyards will be boldly breaking out their most fascinating chards and most interesting cabernets on Saturday, March 19 and Sunday, March 20? Bent Creek Winery, Darcie Kent Vineyards, el Sol Winery, and Wood Family Vineyards are among the many participants. If you buy the day of, your ticket is $45, and that nets you the souvenir glass, which nets you a taste at each participating stop. A number of "special activities" will be going down at each winery, beyond the sipping/socializing, so make time to hear some music, do some noshing, or have a look around. Perhaps you'll even witness that ancient springtime ritual, the bud break, which says that the gifts of harvest aren't too long away at all.

ADVANCE TICKETS, which are forty bucks, and more effervescent info can be found here.

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