A Day in the Vineyard

Dominique Farrar

Yelp East Bay community manager

Farrar spends most of her time studying up on the ever-growing East Bay edible landscape. She chronicles her gastro-adventures on Yelp and writes a weekly newsletter dedicated to all things Yelp-able in the East Bay — and has a penchant for corgis, Champagne and, she says, “Owen Wilson’s nose.”

Farrar designed this itinerary for a double date or reunion of friends. “Meeting up for a day in Livermore is a perfect excuse to wrangle everyone in one place and make some spirited memories,” she says. “Ambience and hospitality are half the pleasure of wine tasting, and these picks capture the best

of both worlds in my book: stellar wines and unique tasting experiences that leave a lingering finish in the memory department.”

Murietta’s Well: “Come for the complex blends with kitschy names like ‘The Whip,’ ” Farrar says. “All the wines are grown in small lots, and the historic tasting room, with exposed wood beams and stone construction, makes for a winsome first stop. You can even reserve your tasting to avoid squeezing through weekend crowds.”

3005 Mines Road, Livermore; www.murrietaswell.com

BoaVentura de Caires Vineyard: “A great place to glimpse the Livermore wine country before it was a destination.

Rustic ‘farm charm’ abounds at BoaVentura, where the red barn doubles as a tasting room, chickens roam and the vineyard dogs make you feel right at home. They specialize mostly in cabs and red blends, so best to sip here later in the afternoon — unless you want to sport red teeth all day.”

9309 Tesla Road, Livermore; www.boaventuravineyard.com

Retzlaff Vineyards: “Pack your picnic and belly up to the Retzlaff tasting bar. Situated at the beginning of the Livermore ‘wine trail,’ it provides a mellow, glitz-free launching pad to sip some classic Bordeaux varietals. Their wine labels include handwritten information about each bottle’s vintage, aging technique and number of cases.”

1356 S. Livermore Ave., Livermore; www.retzlaffvineyards.com

Lunch: Lokanta: “A bit off the typical wine-tasting path, Lokanta is worth the diversion especially. Dine in their glass-walled sunroom and indulge in a few exotic bites from their inventive Mediterranean menu, like flaming haloumi or the lamb burger covered in hummus and feta. That’s what I call a good sober-upper!”

443 Main St., Pleasanton; www.eatlokanta.com

Java stop: Cafe Main: “This is the kind of cafe every main street needs, where tables line the sidewalks and the locals like to linger. The offerings are simple — no hipster lattes to be found here — but for a quick shot of espresso or a leisurely cappuccino, it’s the place to be.”

401 Main St., Pleasanton; http://cafemainonline.com