The SOMM Journal

October / November 2016

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Page 58 of 132

58 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2016 CAMP [ ] [ ] t here are reasons why the Livermore Valley Viticultural Area was once the hotbed of innovation in the California wine industry. It is a fog-influenced coastal region, to begin with, its western edges a scant 25 miles from the southern reaches of the San Francisco Bay (hence its inclusion in the San Francisco Bay AVA). Like the appellations of Santa Barbara to the south, Livermore Valley runs in an east-west direction, making for a classic Mediterranean climate—cold, wet winters and warm, dry summers, with average daily high/low temperatures at the peak of growing seasons as wide as 36° degrees (diurnal swings strikingly similar to mid–Napa Valley and most of Sonoma County). Which is why, when a rancher named Robert Livermore first purchased most of the valley in 1839 (through Spanish partners, since Anglo-Saxons could not legally buy land in California prior to the Mexican Cession in 1848), it made sense to plant wine grapes along with other crops. Some 40 years later, in 1882, Charles Wetmore pioneered California Sauvignon Blanc with selections sourced directly from Château d'Yquem, while James Concannon planted his first Cabernet Sauvignon with cuttings from Château Margaux (a handful of these The Steven Kent Winery's Ghielmetti Estate Vineyard near Livermore Valley's Altamont Pass. RIPE FOR Resurgence LIVERMORE VALLEY'S NEW WAVE OF WORLD-CLASS WINES & VINEYARDS story and photos by Randy Caparoso

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