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Taste of Tri-Valley Restaurant Week

Celebrate the start of  Restaurant Week at the official Taste of Tri-Valley Kick-Off Party at Underdog Wine Bar at Concannon Vineyard. Underdog Wine & Spirits and the Tri-Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau have teamed up to bring you an exclusive event highlighting the region’s culinary scene.

Partygoers will be treated to an intimate event with live entertainment, food and wine. Acclaimed Bay Area chef, Barbara Llewellyn, has a tempting menu of decadent hor d’oeuvres, delicious dessert bites, and seasonal small plates made from local produce. Award-winning wine and a bubbly toast make for a perfect Livermore Wine Country evening.

Tickets for the Taste of Tri-Valley Kick-Off Party are $75 and can be purchased by calling 925-583-1581 or online.

The location and festive theme embody everything that is special about Tri-Valley’s culinary scene. The beautiful wine country location, gourmet tapas and award-winning wines will no doubt get people excited about Taste of Tri-Valley Restaurant Week.

Taste of Tri-Valley Kick-Off Party at Underdog Wine Bar

If you can’t make it to the Kick-Off Party, don’t forget there is an entire week of special deals and signature dishes during Restaurant Week. More than 20 restaurants from Pleasanton, Livermore, Dublin, San Ramon and Danville will showcase their culinary styles with  exclusive pre fixe lunches for $15 and dinners for $20 or $30.

From upscale wine country restaurants to charming downtown cafés and innovative local favorites, explore the region’s diverse culinary offerings without breaking the bank during Taste of Tri-Valley Restaurant Week. The eight-day celebration provides food lovers the opportunity to dine at Tri-Valley’s vibrant and distinctive eateries for a fraction of the normal expense.

 

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One of Livermore Valley’s pioneering wineries, Concannon Vineyard, was the first winery in America to plant and bottle the Petite Sirah varietal. The rocky soil and warm climate proved to be the perfect environment for the grape 50 years ago.

Livermore wineries plan several events commemorating the 50th Anniversary of Petite Sirah.

Today, the popularity of Petite Sirah is growing at a rate of four times faster than any other varietal. According to Concannon, 95% of all Petite Sirah planted is still in California. While Concannon may have been the first winery to produce the varietal, it is certainly not the only one. Many other Livermore wineries have a history of producing award-winning Petite Sirah.

The summer of 2011 marks the 50th Anniversary of the varietal and the Petite Sirah-producing wineries of Livermore Valley have organized several public celebrations to mark the varietal’s history in the region.

Kicking off the celebration is Petite Sirah on the Rails, a 2-hour train ride on the historic Niles Canyon Railway, featuring Petite Sirah tastings from Concannon Vineyard, Nottingham Cellars, McGrail Vineyards, Charles R Vineyards and Bent Creek Winery. Tickets are $45 per person and include tasting and light food pairings. Tickets are available online .

Next is a Celebration of Livermore Valley’s Shining Star: Petite Sirah! This is a first-ever all Petite Sirah tasting and dinner. The event will be held at McGrail Vineyards on Saturday, July 30 from 6:30-10 pm. 14 wineries are participating and tickets are $75/person. Only 150 tickets are available and may be purchased online.

The winery that launched the varietal, Concannon Vineyard, will host a two-day celebration of Petite Sirah on August 13-14. Guests can enjoy vertical tastings of vintages hand-picked by the Concannon family. Food pairings and cooking demonstrations will pair the wine with Petite Sirah products like chocolates, chocolate sauce and ice cream. There will also be live music and entertainment.

Adjacent to the tasting room at Concannon Vineyard, Underdog Wine Bar, will feature a new Petite Sirah flight honoring Concannon’s Conservancy, Reserve and Heritage Wines. A festive small plate menu will feature tempting dishes like short ribs braised in Concannon Vineyard’s Petite Sirah.

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Looking for a great way to kick off a wine tasting trip in Livermore Valley Wine Country or just celebrate the return of warm, sunny weekends? Get your weekend started right with a hearty brunch. Several restaurants in Tri-Valley welcome the early crowd with tempting brunches not to be missed! Here are some of our picks:

 Best Gathering Spot: Laurus Bistro

With floor to ceiling windows looking over the lagoon in Blackhawk Plaza, Laurus Bistro is the perfect spot to rally the crew and kick off a day of shopping and socializing. A local favorite for dinner, Laurus started offering brunch in April 2011 and has received rave reviews. Top picks from the menu include the Bistro Benedict with avocado and the Brioche French Toast & Brown Sugar Bacon. Indulge in inventive drinks like sauced coffees, brunch bubbles, or The Weekend Warrior—trouble in a pint glass with bourbon, spiced rum and Grand Marnier.

Laurus serves brunch every Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm. Reservations are recommended, but not required.

Tip: “Like” Laurus on Facebook and receive complimentary bottomless mimosas. This offer is only valid on Saturday, April 23, 2011.

Just a sample of the new brunch menu at Laurus Cafe.


Best Twist on the Brunch Routine: Campo di Bocce

Campo di Bocce is always a great place to hang out, but the new Bocce Brunch makes it even more tempting. Offered during bocce tournaments, this brunch allows diners to watch players in action. Or, reserve a court and play yourself. Indulge in a huge spread including a carving station, seafood display, omelette station, salads and traditional breakfast favorites. Just a few of the highlights include the smoked salmon, waffles and the chef’s choice pasta. Be sure to save room for dessert. The flourless chocolate cake and tiramisu are always a hit.

Campo di Bocce’s Bocce Brunch is offered every Sunday from 10 am- 2 pm for $29.95 for adults, with unlimited cocktails included, $24.95 without cocktails and $14.95 for children.  Reservations are recommended, but not required.

Best Morning View: The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards

Wente Vineyards is always beautiful, but it’s exceptionally serene in the morning hours. With dramatic views of The Course at Wente and tucked in the south Livermore hills, the vista may just rival the standout brunch at The Restaurant at Wente. Wente’s inventive menu is a product of close collaboration between the Executive Chef, Master Gardener and Pastry Chef. The end result is tempting dishes like citrus French Toast, Smoke Double-cut Pork Chop and Chamomile Crème Brulee Tart. While you’re there, make sure to enjoy a glass of Wente Vineyards sparkling wine.

Brunch at The Restaurant at Wente is offered every Sunday from 10:30am -2:30 pm.

The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards offers one of the best Tri-Valley views.

Best place to people watch: Nonni’s Bistro

Part of the charm of Nonni’s Bistro  is in its location in historic downtown Pleasanton. This cute Mediterranean-style café opened in fall 2010 and offers outdoor dining along tree-lined Main Street. This is the perfect brunch option for people watching on the weekend. With the weekly farmers market  and shoppers browsing boutiques, there is always something to see. Top picks from the menu include the jazzed up French Toast topped with fresh tropical fruit, and mango and raspberry sauces or Spanish Omelette with chorizo and peppers. Reservations are recommended.

Best Value:  The Basil Leaf Café, Danville

If you’re looking to stretch your dollar without sacrificing quality, The Basil Leaf Café in Danville, fits the bill. For less than $20 per person, the restaurant offers a beautiful buffet of traditional brunch fare and bottomless mimosas. Made-to-order omelettes, house made pizza and eggs benedict are favorites. The cozy restaurant is always busy for brunch and reservations are recommended.

Kick off a day of wine tasting with the sparkling brunch at Underdog Wine Bar, starting Sunday, May 1, 2011.

Kick off a day of wine tasting with the sparkling brunch at Underdog Wine Bar, starting Sunday, May 1, 2011.

Best Trendy Spot: Underdog Wine Bar

Underdog Wine Bar, located on the grounds of Concannon Vineyard, the latest addition to the Tri-Valley brunch scene, set to unveil its new Sparkling Brunch. The wine bar, known for inventive flights and tapas is trying its own spin on brunch with a menu that includes a frittata, strata and fresh pastries. Enjoy the morning sun on the patio and then head over to the nearby tasting room to sample Concannon Vineyard’s latest releases.

Brunch will be served each Sunday from 10 am- noon starting Sunday, May 1, 2011.

 

 

 

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Spring is an ideal time to visit the Tri-Valley. The air is crisp, hills are green, and mustard brightly clusters between the rolling grape vines. Extend your visit for the entire weekend during the Livermore Winegrowers Association’s third annual Barrel Tasting Weekend, March 19 & 20, 2011.
More than 30 Livermore Valley wineries are scheduled to participate,  offering samples of wines still in development—direct from their barrels. Guests with special event wristbands and official glasses will receive at least one barrel sample at each participating winery. Most winemakers will be present to personally pour and discuss their young wines and offer delicious pairings with gourmet appetizers, artisan cheeses, chocolate and nuts.

Advance tickets are available online now for $30. Tickets purchased at the event will be $35 per person. Each ticket includes a souvenir tasting glass featuring the Livermore Valley Wine Country logo, two days of barrel tasting at participating wineries, special activities and discounts and an event map.

Livermore Winegrowers Association's 3rd Annual Barrel Tasting Weekend, March 19 & 20, 2011

Livermore Winegrowers Association's 3rd Annual Barrel Tasting Weekend, March 19 & 20, 2011.

Each winery will offer a unique experience to Barrel Tasting Weekend guests. Many will give discounts on wine purchases to ticket holders only. Examples of special events and wines to be tasted include

  • Big White House & John Evan Cellars: tasting of 2009 Sangiovese, 2009 Roussanne, 2009 Lapsus and 2006-2010 Syrah vertical. Bottle your own wine for $99 per case.
  • Cedar Mountain Winery: barrel samples of 2009 Zinfandel to be paired with Bissenger Raspberry Creams. Complimentary premium tasting. Bottle your own olive oil (bring your own bottle).
  • Eckert Estate Winery– tasting 2008 Malbec and 2009 Carignane. “Ensemble,” a hands-on workshop for creating balanced blends 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. each day. Wines paired with cheese fondue and ‘sipping chocolate’. 10% off purchases of single bottles and 25% off on cases.
  • McGrail Vineyards & Winery– tasting Casa de Vinas Petite Sirah and 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon. Seguin Moreau Barrel Cooperage will give a barrel talk and demonstration. 25% off all wine purchases.
  • The Steven Kent Winery & La Rochelle Winery: tasting La Rochelle 2009 Pinot Meunier on Saturday and Steven Kent 2008 Ghielmetti Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon on Sunday. 20% off purchase of 6 bottles or more.

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Underdog Wine Bar, Livermore, California.

Underdog Wine Bar in Livermore offers an extensive selection of local and international wines, paired with a complimenting menu of small plates.

Tri-Valley, California and Livermore Valley wine country welcomes a trendy, urban-style wine bar to the scene this summer. Nestled among the rolling hills and situated between the vines at Concannon Vineyard,

Underdog Wine Bar offers patrons something decidedly new and refreshing.

Underdog Wine Bar makes its official debut Saturday, August 14 with a grand opening celebration that will include live music, flavorful small bites from chef Barbara Llewellyn and wine tasting. The event is open to the public and runs from noon to 8 p.m.

An example of the innovative and resonably priced food & wine pairings at Underdog Wine Bar.

Regular offerings at Underdog Wine Bar include an extensive list of local and international wine and a menu of inspired seasonal small plates carefully designed to compliment the wines available by the two-ounce pour, six-ounce glass, flight or bottle.

The shaded outdoor terrace has seating for more than sixty and is the perfect place to spend a warm afternoon enjoying views of the vines, surrounding hills and the historic victorian house on the property. Inside, the wine bar has intimate tables as well as an open common space.

Covered Patio at Underdog Wine Bar, Livermore, CA.

The covered patio offers an inviting lounge feel perfect for spending an afternoon among the vines at Concannon.

Following the grand opening celebration, Underdog Wine Bar is planning ongoing special events,  including music on Friday nights, enticing discounts and offers as well as a monthly spotlight on an individual winery where people can learn and converse with local and international vintners.

For more information about the grand opening and Underdog Wine Bar, visit the website underdogwinebar.com.

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Concannon Mini Reuben

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with this modern take on classic Corned Beef and Cabbage. The recipe, which calls for either deli or homemade corned beef, offers a perfect menu for toasting with friends. Pair with Petite Sirah from the foremost Irish/American winery, Concannon Vineyard , whose founder was born on St. Pat’s day in 1847.

Concannon Mini-Reuben with Caraway Slaw, Roasted Garlic Aioli and Irish Cheddar
Prep time 30 min
Serving One
Recommended Wine Pairing: 2005 Concannon Petite Sirah
1 small clove of garlic, peeled
1 tablespoon Concannon Petite Sirah
1/4 teaspoon of olive oil
1 teaspoon water
Dill sprig
4 teaspoons Concannon Petite Sirah
2 tablespoons chicken stock (canned or boxed)
1/8 teaspoon caraway seeds
Pinch salt
1 cup store-bought shredded cabbage (e.g., Fresh Express or Dole cole
slaw)
1/4 teaspoon Concannon Petite Sirah
1 tablespoon Roasted Garlic Aioli (recipe below)
1/4 of a whole bay leaf
2 slices cocktail rye bread
4 thin slices of corned beef (deli or homemade)
1/4 teaspoon of sugar
Concannon Roasted Garlic Aioli
Pre-heat oven to 425F°. Place garlic clove in ovenproof container; add 1 tablespoon Concannon Petite Sirah, the olive oil, water. Cover with foil,
roast for 20-25 minutes, or until it can be easily pierced. Remove and cool. Mash garlic with any remaining cooking liquid; stir garlic, dill, ¼ tsp wine into aioli. Set aside; reduce oven temperature to 375°F.

Concannon Caraway Slaw
In a saucepan, place bay leaf, sugar, 4 tsp Concannon Petite Sirah, chicken stock, caraway seeds, salt and cabbage. Toss to coat cabbage.
Cover and bring to quick boil, then reduce heat to low, keeping covered until cabbage wilts, about 30 seconds. Uncover, turn up heat to medium
and boil away liquids, about 2 minutes. Discard bay leaf.

Assembly
Spread rye bread with 3/4 tablespoon aioli. Add slaw then place corned beef folded on top. Add one slice Irish Cheddar. Heat sandwich open
faced in oven for 5 minutes or until cheddar melts, cover with second slice of rye bread if desired.

Concannon Vineyard introduced America’s first varietally labeled Petite Sirah in the 1960’s. This pioneering California- Irish family continues to lead in creative wine and food pairings and sustainable practices throughout its vineyard and winery operations. To learn more, visit www.concannonvineyard.com.

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Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Irish style at Concannon Vineyards Founder’s Day 2010 Celebration!  The event is in honor of  founder James Concannon’s birthday, St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, 1847.  The event will feature music on the lawn featuring The Cooltones, a Big Band Jazz from the San Francisco Bay Area! The show starts at 1:30 PM.  Other fun festivities include gourmet picnic fare for purchase by Barbara Llewellyn Catering and  a Bottle Signing from 11:00AM-1:00PM with 3rd and 4th Generation Vintners Jim and John Concannon.

With a legacy for excellence dating back to 1883, Concannon Vineyard is known worldwide for its award-winning wines, as well as its historic role in the wine industry. Irish immigrant JamesConcannon was drawn to the gravelly soil of Livermore more than a century and a quarter ago. A true pioneer, he crossed the country in a covered wagon and settled his family first in Oregon, then later in California. James Concannon planted the country’s first Petit Sirah vines in 1911 and for half a century the grapes were used primarily for blending. At their customers’ insistence, the winery bottled its first Petit Sirah in 1964 and continues to focus on this popular varietal today.

In 2009, the winery renovated their  tasting room.  The dramatically remodeled tasting room has been enlarged (nearly doubling capacity)
to make it more comfortable for guests who can also meander outside to sip wine al fresco on the brand new patio while listening to the sounds of the outdoor fountain created from historic Livermore stamped brick. A park-like setting and fresh flowers make this a welcome respite especially on a sunny day.  Additionally, the winery is the official site of the summertime Livermore Shakespeare Festival, which will be featuring the classic “Romeo & Juliet” in 2010.

Concannon Founder’s Day Celebration 2010

Admission:  Free

March 13, 2010, 11:00AM-4:30PM

www.concannonvineyard.com

Concannon Vineyard is located at 4590 Tesla Road in Livermore, California.

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