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Review of The Restaurant, The Grill and The Course At Wente Vineyards
History In The Making
Some time ago riding down this road in searched of words to write I found the Nostalgic Bicycle Ride Through Livermore Wine Country. Today the search is for good food, good wine, good atmosphere and a little history to make the search worthwhile.
As a kid, I remember vineyards along this country road. The Veterans Hospital where my mom worked was out in the middle of nowhere. The vineyards always intrigued me. The grape vines made scallops along the hills edging the golden rolling hills. Cresta Blanca vineyards in those days (Founded in 1882) produced champagne. The winery failed in the the 60's and lay fallow for many years. Sometime in the late 80's, signs of life, at the old vineyard appeared. Grapes vines were replanted. Something magical began to happen as the old caves got new doors. It was magical, whoever was refurbishing the winery planted grapes just like the old Cresta Blanca vineyards. The old tasting room was refurbished, and Wente Sparkling Cellars tasting room opened and the mystery was solved. The Wente Family has owned vineyards in the Livermore Valley for over 130 years. As the crow flies this canyon is a mile or two from their Tesla Road tasting room and vineyards. Cresta Blanca vineyards made an excellent addition to the family business.
Wente Family Owned Vineyards
The Wente family has owned vineyards in the Livermore Valley since 1883. The current wine maker, 5th generation, Wente family, winemaker, Carl D. Wente grew up in Livermore, This family has done a nice job developing a sustainable business. The garden outside the restaurant is where they grow organic vegetables for the restaurant. They use sustainable growing practices to assure their grapes are the best quality.
Winter Spring At The Course
The Golf Course
As the Arroyo Road property was being developed a golf course and grill was added. The Wente team joined Greg Norman to create this award winning golf course which opened in 1998. The Course was the idea of matriarch Jean Wente who has kept playing well into her eighties.. This challenging golf course flows through the canyon behind Lake Del Valle. The views are spectacular in the fall when the foliage on the grapevines is changing color, in the spring when the hills are green, in the summer when the hills are golden. This is a golf course for all seasons.
Summer Fading Into Fall
The Grill overlooks the 18th hole of The Course. They serve typical breakfast foods like eggs, pancakes, breakfast burritos fresh fruit and yogurt. The lunch menu includes hamburgers, soups and salads. The prices for everything except the steak and eggs and flatiron steak sandwich are under $10. The food is very good.
Overview Of Wente
Today, within the compound of the Wente Vineyards are The tasting room,The Grill, The Course, and The Restaurant at Wente. Most of the everyday workings of winemaking occurs at the Wente winery on Tesla Road.
When you first enter the property The Restaurant and tasting room are on your right. The Course and The Grill are farther in. You can breakfast or lunch overlooking the golf course at the grill. You can play a round of golf, grab a shower in the clubhouse and still make a luncheon or dinner reservation at The Restaurant if fine dining suits your taste. If you are in a hurry The Grill will be more to your liking.
Fine dinning is not for those in a hurry. I am reminded of how Nero Wolf forbade any talk of work while he was eating. Fine dinning like winemaking takes time. To enjoy fine dinning you must relax and enjoy your food. The Restaurant at Wente serves American food with a hint of France and Italy. They use the freshest ingredients available. The fresh garden vegetables may seem exotic to those who haven't grown up around them, but much of what is served is old fashion goodness straight from the garden. Salad greens and squash, edible flowers from the garden appear regularly on the menu.
The atmosphere at The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards is serene and relaxing. The Restaurant is a place for enjoying food, conversation,and building relationships. Menus are created according to the season and much of the meat is raised on the family ranch in the central valley.
Servers are knowledgeable about the wine, as well as the food. Servers spend time with diners to ensure their dining experience is excellent.
On a beautiful day there is patio seating for lunch.
During the summer you can enjoy a concert with your dinner.
The Wente Concert Series this year feature Chris Isaaks, Earth Wind and Fire, and Tony Bennett to name a few.
Chefs Garden In The Fall
Fresh From The Garden
When a restaurant has its own gardens you get really fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables. I believe seasonal foods are the healthiest foods to eat. You get the nutrients your body needs during whatever season you are experiencing. The Wente's chefs garden is large. You can see the garden driving along Arroyo Road just past the entrance to the Wente property. The organic herb gardens weaves through the public walkways inside the compound and have charming labels.
The chef plans his meals around what is available in the garden. Expect summer vegetables during the summer, harvest vegetables during the fall, winter vegetables in the winter and spring vegetables in the spring.
An upcoming event at Wente is the Chefs Garden Tour and Tasting. You will meet head chef Matt Greco and master gardener Diane Dovholuk to learn about the organic garden and how the chef creates menus from the garden.
This beautifully developed family owned business has a challenging golf course, excellent wines and good food.
The Restaurant is expensive. Expect to spend $50 or more for lunch per person. Dinner will cost $75 per person and upward. For reservations call 925.456.2450 or go on line www.wentevineyards.com/restaurant
The food and wine are always wonderful
Wente wines are known internationally. You find Wente wines at grocery stores and wine specialty stores or the two tasting rooms in Livermore.
The Restaurant at Wente vineyards is a place to celebrate just about anything. This is fine dinning at it's best. Call 925 456 2450 for reservations.
Designed by Greg Norman The Course is challenging as you golf your way through canyons among the vineyards.
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