AMGEN Comes To The Livermore Wine Country

Introduction to the Amgen Tour compliments of Penni Price

The Amgen Tour de California, the largest cycling event in America, is a royal journey throughout the State of California.  This eight-day race began in 2006 after the demise of the Coors Classic.  Professional riders compare this tour with the Tour de France, and even use it as a preparatory event for the Tour de France.  This year’s Tour de California runs from May 15 to May 22.

Stage four of the tour will start in Livermore on Wednesday, 5/18, and end in San Jose for a total of 81.8 miles.  While this is considered a short leg in the tour, it is also considered one of the more difficult based on three grueling climbs.  The first challenge for the riders will be Mines Road, which is a 25-mile hilly and very winding route.  Mines Road becomes San Antonio Canyon Road from which the riders are faced with Mt Hamilton, one of the steepest climbs in the Bay Area.  After peaking at the Mt Hamilton Observatory, the riders’ next challenge will be the treacherous descent of Mt. Hamilton.  From there, they will progress to Sierra Road, which includes 1700 feet of climbing, then head for the day’s finish in San Jose.

One of the highlights of each leg of the Tour de California is awaiting the racers to cross the finish line.  Biking enthusiasts, anxious spectators, people near and far gather to watch riders like Lance Armstrong, Mark Cavendish, Alberto Cantador, Andy Schleck, and many more sprint across the day’s finish line as cameras rhythmically click in hopes of capturing the perfect image.  As the broadcasters narrate their arrival, a slight hum can be heard in the distance.  As the riders near, the hum becomes buzz.  As the riders pass by in harmony, their positioning in perfect form, the whistle of the bike gearing and whirl of their back draft is exploding.  The roar of the crowd is repetitive as the leaders cross, followed by the peloton, and then by the exhausted domestiques who gave their all to launch their team’s top rider to the front of the pack.

If you’ve ever watched even just a part of the Tour de France on television and were wowed by the strategy, strength, and speed, indulge yourself by attending the fourth leg of the Tour de California in Livermore.

 

I would like to thank my friend Penni for providing us with the above inside look into the Amgen race.  Livermore is definitely going to be the place to be on May 18th.  There is no doubt that the race is going to be great, but what about the Livermore wine.  In order to help you to enjoy your day to the fullest, I will periodically update this post, between now and the race, to bring you up to date information on prime winery locations that offer an excellent view of the race and/or are open for your enjoyment of Livermore’s fantastic wines before, during, or after the race.  We are looking forward to hearing about your experiences.


Cuda Ridge Wines the creator of “The Tour“, a commemorative red blend celebrating the Amgen race through Livermore, is located toward the start of the race on East Avenue just past Mines Road.  It doesn’t look like they will be open the day of the race, but make sure while you are downtown to head into the First Street Wine Company to pick up your commemorative bottle of “The Tour” so you can have your own little piece of Livermore history.  For more information go to our Cuda Ridge Wines page for their website, location, and contact information.

 

Cedar Mountain Winery will have bottles and wine-by-the-glass available for sale at the end of their driveway at 7000 Tesla Road.  They have lots of frontage on Tesla Road so you won’t be crowded while watching the cyclists speed by. Bring a chair, your picnic lunch, and sit back and enjoy the race with a glass of wine.  For more information go to our Cedar Mountain Winery page for their website, location, and contact information.

 

Red Feather Winerywill have barrel tasting and food pairing until 8 pm at their Greenville Road tasting room.  The featured barrel wine is their 2009 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon.  Add in some music and amazing views of the valley and it’s sure to be a great time.  For more information go to our Red Feather Winery page for their website, location, and contact information.

 

McGrail Vineyards isn’t usually open on Wednesdays, but as a special treat for all of you cycling enthusiast, they will be opening their tasting room the day of the race from 11-4:30.  After enjoying their wine at the tasting room, join McGrail Vineyard as they partner with a local favorite, Terra Mia Italian Restaurant (located on East Avenue) to host a Winemaker’s dinner.  This is going to be a fantastic opportunity to experience some of the best food and wine that Livermore Valley has to offer.  Reservations are required and the cost is $85 per person so make your reservation soon before your spot gets taken.  The menu for the dinner will be out soon.  We will forward that info to you as we get it.  For more information go to our McGrail Vineyard page for their website, location, and contact information.

 

Wente Vineyard’s Estate tasting room is located at 5565 Tesla Road along the race route and their tasting room hours run from 11-4:30.  On the day of the race, Wente plans on donating 10% of their sales from their Estate tasting room and the Tamás Estates tasting room to Cancer Support Community.  You can also visit their Vineyard tasting room located at 5050 Arroyo Rd.  This location features a fabulous Audubon certified golf course and the award winning Restaurant at Wente Vineyards. For more information go to our Wente Vineyard page for their website, location, and contact information.

 

Tamás Estates is located at 5565 Tesla Road on the same property as the Wente Estate tasting room.  While you are at Wente, head over and taste some of the great wines Tamás is producing.  Their tasting room hours run from 11-4:30.  Tamás Estates, along with the Wente Estate tasting room will be donating 10% of their sales the day of the race to Cancer Support Community.  For more information go to our Tamás Estates page for their website, location, and contact information.

 

Concannon Vineyard is located on Tesla Road just outside the race course.  You won’t be able to see the race from their beautiful property, but with their tasting room hours running from 11-4:30 and the added bonus of the Underdog Winebar, it might be just the place to grab a bite to eat out on the patio while enjoying a glass of wine.  For more information go to our Concannon Vineyard page for their website, location, and contact information.

 

Crooked Vine/Stoney Ridge Winery is located on Tesla Road within eyesight of Mines Road where the cyclists will turn to head toward their mountainous climb.  This may not be the best location to watch the race, but their tasting room is open from 11-4:30 and they have many fabulous wines to taste.  For more information go to our Crooked Vine/Stoney Ridge Winery page for their website, location, and contact information.

 

Murrieta’s Well has an entrance off of Mines Road near Tesla Road.  If you want to see the cyclists as they leave Livermore this would be a prime location.  The tasting room is open from 11-4:30 and you won’t want to miss getting a taste of their wines.  For more information go to our Murrieta’s Well page for their website, location, and contact information.

 

Steven Kent is located on Tesla Road along the race route.  Their tasting room hours run from 12-4:30.  For more information go to our Steven Kent page for their website, location, and contact information.

 

La Rochelle is located on Tesla Road along the race route (the same property as Steven Kent).  If you love Pinot then this is your place.  Their tasting room hours run from 12-4.  For more information go to our La Rochelle page for their website, location, and contact information.

 

Retzlaff Estate Winery is located on South Livermore Avenue between Tesla Road and East Avenue.  This is another winery that won’t give you a view of the race, but their tasting room is open from 12 to 2 and their property provides the perfect place to enjoy a picnic with a little of their great wine.  For more information go to our Retzlaff Estate Winery page for their website, location, and contact information.

 

Rios-Lovell Estate Winery is located on Tesla Road along the race route.  Watch the race and then check out their beautiful property where many a couple have come to start their lives together.  Their tasting room is open from 11-3.  For more information go to our Rios-Lovell Estate Winery page for their website, location, and contact information.

 

Ruby Hill Winery is located on the other side of Livermore away from the race, but they are definitely worth leaving the beaten path.  They offer a large variety of fabulous wines that are sure to please.  Their tasting room is open from 11-5:30.  For more information go to our Ruby Hill Winery page for their website, location, and contact information.

 

As you can see, there is no shortage of venues to enjoy the Livermore wine country experience.  Get out here on May 18th and see for yourself what Livermore has to offer.

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