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'Taste Our Terroir' at local wineries today

Culinary fun includes cooking demonstrations, wine, music

Livermore Valley winegrowers are presenting their annual premier food and wine affair, Taste Our Terroir today, celebrating and educating wine lovers with a "taste of the land."

Wineries are offering nine events, including cooking classes, wine-tasting seminars and vineyard tours.

The occasion kicked off Thursday evening as 18 Livermore Valley vintners paired with Bay Area chefs to compete for honors at Casa Real in Pleasanton. Guests were able to taste all 18 pairings, as well as sample decadent desserts and bid on silent auction items.

During "From Vine to Glass: Through the Winemaker's Eyes," winemaker Mark Clarin will guide guests from the estate vineyard to the crush pad and into the barrel room at McGrail Vineyards and Winery during this educational tour and tasting, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sip award-winning cabernets and learn the process of creating these fine wines. Cost is $45.

The final event will be "Grapes, Olives and Food," from 1:30-3:30 p.m., beginning at Retzlaff Estate Winery with a private tour of the winery and the certified organic vineyards. Then guests will visit nearby Olivina for a tour of the historic estate and olive oil tasting with owner Charles F. Crohare, savoring the setting during lunch catered by Beets Hospitality Group paired with wine. Transportation is not provided. Cost is $60.

The French term "terroir" expresses "a sense of place," the way local conditions of land, climate, culture and technique combine to create wine attributes specific to a region.

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