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Tri-Valley Wineries to Visit

A group of four toasting with red wine with views of the vineyard in the background

If you’re looking for a quick escape from the apartments for rent in downtown San Francisco this summer, few nearby options are quite as appealing as heading to the Tri-Valley area to try out some of the wineries. Northern California’s Tri-Valley, which consists of the Amador, Livermore, and San Ramon valleys (encompassing towns like Pleasanton, Dublin, and Danville), is famed for its wine growing and more:

“Today, visitors come for the famous wineries, a touch of history, and gorgeous ranges of rolling hills, eminently suitable for hiking. There are several good golf courses (at least two with 27 holes), an aquatic center in Pleasanton, a swim center in Dublin, an aquatic park in San Ramon, as well as horseback riding, mountain biking, swimming and fishing opportunities galore.”

It all makes for a great place to take a few days off to relax, and if you’re contemplating a visit this year, might we suggest a few of the area’s notable wineries? These are part of the lifeblood of the Tri-Valley area, and a surefire way for you to experience some of the best the region has to offer.

Some Background on Tri-Valley

We alluded to it earlier, but it bears repeating that the Tri-Valley isn’t just a blend of three valleys, it’s a conglomeration of five charming towns, each with their own unique personality. You’ve got Danville, which is famed for its dining scene; Dublin, which has ample opportunities for shopping; Pleasanton, as quaint as its name would suggest and a haven for businesses; San Ramon, another deceptively influential business region; and Livermore, the symbolic heart of the Tri-Valley Wine Region.

With these five cities combined, you can imagine that there’s plenty of variety to go around. Indeed, there are more than fifty wineries in the region (along with 37 hotels and 13 golf courses), so you’ve got your picks on where you want to stay and what you want to do. You’re going all that way to experience the wine, though, so we’ll have to narrow down those options. Read on, as we fill you in on some of the area’s top picks (as well as a few hidden gems you’ll want to sneak off and see).

Where to Find the Wine

As the heart of the wine region, you’d be right to assume that many of the wineries you’ll find are centered in and around Livermore.

This includes well-known wineries like Murrieta’s Well. These champions of the industry can stake a claim as one of California’s “original wine estates” and have been in the business since the late 1800s. They’ve changed staff a few times since then, obviously, but the commitment to making quality wine has never died. You may recall a 2016 interview when head winemaker Robbie Mayer stated they’d never sacrifice their process just to score points on an arbitrary scale:

“If I were asked by a winery to make 96-point [on a scale of 100] wine, I'd just walk away. The people who ask for such a thing know nothing about wine.”

That insistence on sticking to their guns is part of what makes Murrieta’s Well wines so distinct, and keeps die-hards coming back for more. You’ll definitely want to give them a visit, and will find them located at 3005 Mines Road, in Livermore. Just be sure to make a reservation before you head there, as you’ll need it to take advantage of their complete wine country experience.

We could go on talking about wineries right in Livermore almost all day, but we’d like to give some attention to some of the other wine cities in the region too. If you’re intent on exploring more Livermore wineries, be sure to review this listing from WineCountry, which includes details on 40 of Livermore’s finest. For now, though, let’s take a look at Ruby Hill Winery, which is situated over in Pleasanton.

Much like Murrieta’s Well, Ruby Hill was established back in the 1800s. The original Ruby Hill property was purchased by John Crellin, and developed into one of the largest wine producers in the Tri-Valley area by 1889. Ownership of the winery has shifted over time, and they moved to a new facility in 2008, but the wine is just as amazing as it was back in the 1800s. They’re experts at producing eleven different varietals, which include: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel, Sangiovese and Petite Sirah.

While these old and well-established wineries are indeed some of the area’s best, that doesn’t mean some of the newer wineries haven’t made a name for themselves. Establishments like AuburnJames Winery in Danville is a perfect example, having been created in 2005 and already distinguishing themselves as quality winemakers. They value a small-quantity, high-quality artisan approach, doing much of their processing by hand, and creating some specially-crafted varietals that include Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Red Wine Blends, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Petit Verdot, and Auburn Wines.

These are a few prominent options, but be sure to keep all the wineries in the Tri-Valley region on your radar — you never know which one might surprise you! Refer back to that winery listing to get more ideas, and include three or four to visit when you finally make your trip. If all goes well, it should be a relaxing experience for you (and the whole crew, if you make it a group outing).

Getting There From The Apartments for Rent in Downtown San Francisco

If you’re downtown at stellar apartment communities like the Towers at Rincon, getting out to Tri-Valley is pretty much a straight shot east, and you’ll find yourself there in less than an hour. As noted by Frommer’s, the drive is just about 35-miles:

“If you're driving here from San Francisco, the entrance to the Tri-Valley area is just 35 miles east on I-80 over the Bay Bridge, then I-880 south to Bay Fair, where you take a left eastward along I-580 to Dublin and Pleasanton. I-680 gives access from the south (Silicon Valley) or north (Sacramento).”

It’s one of the great things about downtown San Francisco living — not only are you right in the middle of one of the most fabulous and desirable Bay Area neighborhoods, you’ve also got the means to make it out of the city for a jaunt into wine country at a moment’s notice. Ready to experience having the best of both worlds for yourself? Check out what the Towers at Rincon have in store, then make this your new (and luxurious) home within the beautiful Bay Area.