Concannon celebrates opening of new tasting room

$30-million renovation project includes wine library, lounge

As the grapes spent their last few days attached to vines lining the Concannon Vineyard entrance in Livermore before the fall harvest begins for the 126th year, the historic winery rededicated its new tasting room Wednesday.

Part of a $30-million revitalization effort, the new tasting room took shape through bricks laid to the existing winery, where the original tasting room was knocked down.

In the interim, visitors have been sampling the vineyard's signature petite sirah and other blends in a portable structure in the parking lot.

To celebrate the long-awaited project, the Las Positas branch of the Native Sons of the Golden West reenacted the original dedication ceremony performed on Concannon 51 years ago, when the tasting room was declared an historic landmark by the California State Park Commission. Other speakers included Garrett Drummond, a Livermore Valley historian, third-generation family vintner Jim Concannon and Livermore Mayor Marshall Kamena, who recalled the Concannons' long history with the city.

The new tasting room will soon be joined by a connecting wine library and a second tasting room that will be a wine lounge. Those are expected to open in about a month.

Outside the tasting room, which is double the size of the previous one, is a courtyard with a fountain built from historic Livermore-stamped bricks. The restoration includes both old and new resources. Redwood staves from large vintage redwood casks previously used for wine aging were reclaimed for the new tasting bar area and used as wood panel accents throughout the tasting room. The ceiling is made of a stamped tin in a nod to the Concannon family's Irish roots. Outside are century-old planks from the old tasting room's ceiling.

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