LIVERMORE, Calif., May 9, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- A new focus on one of California's oldest wine regions happens this month as the sixth Amgen Tour of California begins Stage 4 of its demanding course in Livermore's wine country on May 18. Last year supporters came out in droves to view the world's most elite cyclists as they passed through Livermore, helping the city win coveted selection as one of 15 host cities for this year's race.
Cyclists will start in downtown Livermore then ride through wine country roads before ascending the grueling grades of the Diablo Mountains on their way to San Jose to finish Stage 4 of this Tour-de-France-style road race.
"A magnet for cycling clubs throughout the golden state, Livermore is a destination that promises a variety of exciting viewing spots," said Livermore Mayor Marshall Kamena. The event is expected to draw cycling enthusiasts to Livermore on race day and well beyond, including amateur cyclists who enjoy the challenge of riding the same course as the pros they admire. Locals and visitors alike are encouraged to ride their bikes into town for "Bike Night" sponsored by Downtown Livermore on May 17. The City of Livermore will also host a VIP tent the morning of the race, featuring wines exclusively from Concannon Vineyard, one of the first wineries founded in Livermore in 1883 and proudly celebrating 50 years as America's First Petite Sirah.
The prominent event comes at a time when wine-country cyclists are seeking new regions to explore. According to Barbara McKay, founder and owner of Livermore Wine and Cycle Tours, the Livermore wine region is still relatively undiscovered even by local Bay Area residents. Her first-time customers, mostly from San Francisco, San Jose and Fremont, are "literally shocked to find such beautiful wine country right in their backyard and impressed by the high quality of the wine and wineries in the area."
The City of Livermore has developed over 80 miles of bike trails, many of which pass through beautiful vineyards. "A winery ride in Livermore is different from Napa in that you do more riding through actual vineyards and there is less traffic and crowds. Plus with so many different routes and over 40 wineries in the area you could come back regularly and not experience the same ride," she added.
For a great day of cycling in the Livermore wine country, consider taking BART to the terminus at Dublin/Pleasanton. From there, take the 9-mile cycle to the vineyards. Many of the wineries can be found along Tesla Road including one of California's oldest wineries, Concannon Vineyard, which recently added a bike rack to accommodate the increasing number of cyclists. "With our new tasting room and wine bar, plus a $30 million revitalization of the winery, Concannon is a perfect place to start or finish a Livermore wine country experience. Visitors can grab a glass of wine and eat out on the patio or bring a picnic and enjoy the beautiful grounds," said Jim Concannon, California wine industry pioneer and third generation vintner.
To plan a day of cycling in the Livermore Wine Country visit the Livermore Wine Growers Association for a list of wineries, tasting room hours and maps or take a look at this winery route suggested by the Valley Spokesmen, a San Francisco Bay Area Bicycle Club to get some fresh ideas.
With four generations of family involvement, Concannon Vineyard's pioneering contributions to viticulture and winemaking have positioned it as a landmark winery with an enduring commitment to creating outstanding, award-winning wines. Founder of America's First Petite Sirah, Concannon introduced Cabernet Sauvignon clones 7, 8 and 11 which provided the backbone of Napa Valley's Cabernet resurgence in the 1970s and 1980s. With Concannon wines served on family tables for over 128 years, the pioneering winery has invested millions to revitalize its estate vineyards and restore its historic winery, ensuring that future generations continue to enjoy the world-class wines envisioned by its founder James Concannon. For additional information, www.ConcannonVineyard.com.
SOURCE Concannon Vineyard