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Rios Lovell Estate Winery
Livermore Valley Winery and Tasting Room
Napa Valley & Sonoma Wine Tasting Tours
The stone buildings on a knoll off Tesla Road grab your attention. What you don’t notice at first are fountains, gazebos, trees, lawns and charming European façades on buildings out back.
Owner Max Lovell, a former Oakland policeman, originally made his home in Livermore to be in the country, away from inmates and those he’d arrested. After receiving a head injury during a high-speed chase, Max could no longer carry a gun, so at 32 he retired to become a cabinetmaker. He bought Livermore acreage to develop housing, but the county said no.
With grapes gaining popularity in the early 1990s, Max and his former wife planted a vineyard and studied viticulture and winemaking at U.C. Davis. They found early financial success doing weddings and events. Max thinks big. He wants his deli to become a restaurant, is redoing his stone house into a B&B, and has plans for a concert hall.
And his wines win big, too. “We pick grapes by hand,” he says. “Only three tons an acre; only the good ones make good wine.” Many gold medals attest to his good wines.
A San Quentin prison guard at age 21, Max Rios served as bodyguard to Sirhan Sirhan for two weeks.
Amenities: Wine club, events center, deli