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Bent Creek Winery
Livermore Valley Winery and Tasting Room
Napa Valley & Sonoma Wine Tasting Tours
Down a long, paved lane, and cradled where the creek bends, the charming little Bent Creek tasting room nestles in vineyards, surrounded by rolling hills.
A patio, a small pavilion, or a distant gazebo are perfect picnic spots in this Tuscany atmosphere.
Some call Bent Creek the educators’ winery because two couples, the Heinemans and the Howells—teachers, principals and a physicist—own the winery. Not surprising, when the foursome decided to make wine for public consumption, they dove into classes at U.C. and state colleges.
“Since day one,” Rich Howell says, “we remain dedicated to crafting small lots of complex wine, primarily from grapes grown in our own vineyard and nearby Livermore Valley vineyards.” Rich says they make wine the old-fashioned way, beginning with open-top fermentation in half-ton bins. “We ‘punch it down’ by hand twice a day, and treat the wine gently during its two-year oak barrel aging process. Once the wine has been blended and bottled, we prefer to age it for another year before release.”
This practice has Bent Creek regularly winning gold and silver awards in local, state and international competitions.
The 100-plus-year-old oak tree in back has its own—also very old but not at all annoying—beehive.
Amenities: First Call wine club, weddings/events, jazz and wine on the patio.