Category Archives: Wine Tours

Bianchi Winery, Paso Robles, California

No newcomer to the party, Glenn Bianchi and his father Joseph ’s love affair with wine began with a vineyard and winery in the Central Valley of California in 1974. Their desire to create a boutique winery with an emphasis on premium varietals led them to Paso Robles. Impressed with Paso Robles natural beauty and reputation for wines with finesse and complexity, they purchased 40 acres of vineyards on Branch Road in January of 2000.

Bianchi Winery Paso Robles

The Paso Robles terroir is best suited to red varietals. The winery’s sloping vineyards feature Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Syrah and Merlot vines. These varietals make up their  Heritage Selection. The Italian red varietal Refosco is only available at the Winery Tasting Room.

Bianchi also has produced a great line of four whites: Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio and Moscato. All are made with grapes sourced from cool marine-influenced Santa Barbara and Monterey County vineyards. Their crisp Chardonnay follows the current trend, moving away from the buttery notes by splitting fermentation between stainless steel tanks and oak barrels.

Bianchi Winery Tasting Room

Bianchi is a member of the Wineries of Paso Robles 46 East. Their Wine Club offers members 30% off any purchases on the day of sign up. With the purchase of a case of wine,  Club Members can earn a complimentary one night stay at the adjacent Vineyard House.

The Vineyard House at Bianchi Winery

Bianchi Vineyard House

The perfect spot for a wine country getaway, the Vineyard House is a 3 bedroom/2 bath house which can sleep up to three couples. The large house features a wood-burning fireplace, a fully equipped kitchen, a wine fridge, outdoor BBQ and ensuite laundry.

Bianchi Vineyard House front patio

Guests can sit on the peaceful front patio overlooking the waterfall fed pond or the large back patio, enjoying the sun setting over the vineyard with a glass of wine. City dwellers beware – the silence of the peaceful countryside is deafening.

 

Tri Valley, California

Tri-Valley is one of California’s premier golf and wine destinations.  Located just 40 miles southeast of San Francisco, the Tri-Valley, California’s five-city region, is home to more than 10 private and public golf courses and 40 wineries.  After a round,  golfers can enjoy an afternoon of wine tasting, creative culinary fare, and family friendly activities.  The mild climate and scenic landscapes make this an ideal destination for those seeking a true respite.

Historic Tri-Valley

Tri-Valley takes its name from the three adjacent valleys that make up the region: Amador, Livermore, and San Ramon. The historic communities of Pleasanton, Livermore, Dublin, San Ramon, and Danville are all found here. The area has welcomed travellers since the California Gold Rush, when the region was the main route from San Francisco to the Sierra Foothills.

The legends of early California and the American West are all part of the history of Tri-Valley. Early Native American villages, Spanish mission culture, Spanish land-grant ranchos, the California Gold Rush, the transcontinental railroad, early movie production, World War II, and the nuclear age have all shaped the region. The early Wild West, with its ranching and farming  have influenced today’s historic districts, and modern business centers.

The properties of Ravenswood and Forest Home Farms are open to the public for tours, allowing visitors to experience life as it was from the late 1880’s and early 1900’s. Additionally, Forest Home Farms is now home to the City of San Ramon’s Saturday farmers markets.

Wineries

One of California’s oldest wine regions, Livermore Valley showcases innovation and viticulture. Overhead irrigation, mechanical harvesting, and roller crushing were some of the innovations developed in Tri-Valley. The region played a pivotal role in shaping California’s wine industry, despite the crushing effects of Prohibition.

Katy at Wente Vineyards

Wente Vineyards survived the hard times of prohibition by making sacramental wine for the Catholic Church. In 1936, Wente Vineyards was the first California winery to produce a wine labelled as Chardonnay. Today, many of the great Chardonnay vineyards in California are planted with the Wente Clone. And in 2013, Wente Vineyards, the oldest family owned winery in the United States, celebrated its 130th anniversary.

Livermore Valley’s contributions to the state’s enology and viticulture live on today. One of the last non-commercialized wine countries, Livermore Valley is home to 38 wineries. The warm days and cool nights of the valley create ideal conditions for producing the Chardonnay, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon grape varietals the region is known for. Each year brings with it new winemakers who are working alongside fifth generation winegrowers to enrich the traditions and legacies of the region.

Many of the valley’s innovative wine makers are bridging the gap between the science  and the art of crafting wine. Modern trellising, integrated pest management, and recycling are all a marrying of old and new.

The history of Livermore  Valley Wine Country is celebrated every year at community events including the Livermore Valley Live Wine Auction & Dinner, Annual Harvest Wine Celebration, Livermore Valley Wine & Food Experience “A Taste of Terroir,” and Holidays in the Vineyards.

Golf

Tri-Valley’s ten public courses offer scenic views and challenging terrain for all levels of play.

Hole 1 at The Bridges

First opened in 1999, The Bridges Golf Club is in San Ramon, 35 miles from San Francisco and five miles north of the 580-680 interchange. Graves and Pascuzzo are the course architects and Johnny Miller served as design consultant.

With a 144 slope from the back tees, bring your A game. Many holes are bordered on one side by restricted ecological areas and on the other side, slopes of heather and Scottish Broom. Sloped skinny fairways, forced carries and many elevation changes means you’re going to lose a few balls. Greens are seeded with rye grass and roll around 9 to 10 on the stimpmeter. For the average golfer, bogey will be a very good score. Members complained the course was too tough and in 2013, Bay Area golf architect Jay Blasi was brought in to enhance the playability of the course.

As one of the newest stops on the PGA Nationwide Tour, Tri-Valley is home to The Course at Wente Vineyards, designed by Greg Norman. Uniquely situated on a working vineyard estate, the Course features three distinct topographies – native woodlands, mature vineyard and rolling hills of natural grasslands and is certified as an Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary.

The LPGA Longs Drugs Challenge tees it up in Tri-Valley at the Blackhawk Country Club. Surrounded by acres of open space, detailed landscaping and luxurious homes, Blackhawk Country Club is a favorite among the tour players.

Poppy Ridge Golf Course,  sister property to Pebble Beach’s famous Poppy Hills, is a challenging but fair test for golfers of all abilities. Designed by Rees Jones, Golf Digest’s Architect of the Year for 2005, this 27-hole course offers four sets of tees, top conditions, and panoramic views of the Livermore Valley Wine Country. Each hole is shaped by extensive bunkering, giving the course a links feel.

The newest course to open in Tri-Valley is the Callippe Preserve Golf Course. Golfweek has ranked the course among the Top 10 Public Golf Courses in California, and was additionally nominated for Golf Digest’s Best New Course for 2006. Situated on the hillside of the Pleasanton ridge lands, Callippe Preserve Golf Course provides exceptional views of Mount Diablo and the oak woodlands.