The Livermore Valley Wine Community will be hosting its annual wine, music and holiday shopping event this weekend.
With more than 20 winemakers participating, "Holidays in the Vineyards" offers a spirited, festive experience for wine enthusiasts in the Tri-Valley.
"We have hosted Holidays in the Vineyards for over 35 years. This event brings the community together with holiday cheer displayed at our award-winning wineries. It is truly a holiday tradition that is dear to locals and travelers from all over the Bay Area," said Brandi Lombardi, interim executive director of the wine organization.
Each winery will be providing its own selection of live music, food, art vendors and wine tasting this weekend from noon to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday (Dec. 3) and Sunday (Dec. 4).
Admission is free for visitors, however tasting costs may vary by winery, according to event organizers.
"We hope that the community will use this opportunity to shop locally and enjoy a weekend of festive holiday cheer while experiencing the best wine and hospitality our region has to offer," Lombardi said.
This year, the organization has teamed up with Pacific States Petroleum to hold a holiday toy drive. At the event, organizers will be collecting donations for Toys for Tots
"Our participation and purpose with the 'Toys for Tots' is to make a direct impact within our community by providing a toy to local children that would otherwise not have a holiday present," said Pacific States General Manager Jason Edwards.
All toys from the collection will be dispersed to children in the area by local U.S. Marines, said Edwards. The fuel company has pledged to match toy donations up to $20,000 received by the wineries.
"The partnership between Pacific States Petroleum, Inc. and the Livermore Valley Wine Community is an important relationship that builds partnership and camaraderie with business owners, wine growers, families and friends of the community in which we work and live," Edwards said, reflecting on Tri-Valley businesses.
Rhonda Wood, winemaker and operator of Wood Family Vineyards in Livermore, will be participating in the weekend event. She explained that this is an opportunity for residents to celebrate the season's festivities while also getting to taste wine and shop for gifts.
Wood said she feels a strong appreciation for the organization and events such as this one that have helped grow not only her business but relationships with other winery owners and connoisseurs.
"We love being a part of the Livermore Wine community. In the start of our venture, in the late '90s, we had the support and advice from many winemakers and owners, this had huge benefits to me as a winemaker," Wood said. "We strive to make award-winning wines at Wood Family Vineyards, and I am enthusiastic to encourage, support, and help other winemakers to do the same."
She added, "I love and am proud to revel in our successes as the Livermore Wine community and enjoy the comradeship of other winemakers, winery owners and their teams and together support Livermore Wineries."
For Wood, the best part of Holiday in the Vineyards is seeing folks in their holiday sweaters or "blinged-out shirts."
She told the Weekly, "laughing and celebrating the season with family and friends, all the while, supporting local shops" is what Holidays in the Vineyards is for.
Lombardi shared similar sentiments.
"Our visitors should expect to come ready to experience holiday cheer and hospitality, that is what the holiday season should be all about," she said. "We will have wine tastings, special holiday vendors, live music and a variety of opportunities to complete your Christmas list with gifts from wine country."
For more information about the Livermore Valley Wine Community and Holidays in the Vineyards, visit lvwine.org.