December 2023 Newsletter

Holidays in the Vineyards

Join us for a Livermore Valley Wine Community holiday tradition! 

Across Livermore Valley, wineries will showcase their decorated tasting rooms with special wines, arts, crafts, holiday music, activities and more. At Darcie Kent Estate Winery, we invite you to place a toy under our festive tree in Bing’s Bar, which wasdecorated by none other than Darcie herself! All toys will be donated to children in need as part of the LVWC’s Toys for Tots drive. This year, the Livermore Valley Wine Community has partnered with Pacific States Petroleum. Donated toys are given to the local Toys for Tots program. Pacific State Petroleum will be matching the donation toy for toy (up to $25,000) that are collected at the wineries during this event weekend. After all the toys are collected, they will deliver them to the military to distribute to the children. 

As a token of our thanks, each gift-giver will receive a complimentary glass of one of Santa’s favorite wines: our Alpine Red or White wine. (Limit of one glass per gift.)  

Holidays in the Vineyards is a busy day – reserve your appointment now to make sure you have somewhere to sit!

Each winery is doing something different, and we recommend that you plan a few stops to fully enjoy the weekend’s holiday spirit. And Saturday at 6:30pm, Nomad Hustle and Sugarbear will be playing at our sister winery, Almost Famous Wine Company.  

Cousins Maine Lobster And Chardonnay Day!

Sunday, December 17th, 11am – 5pm at Darcie Kent Estate Winery

Cousins Maine Lobster returns to Darcie Kent Estate Winery! Come taste why Cousins Maine Lobster is the talk of the Bay Area and beyond, with a menu of succulent lobster rolls, chowders, and the infamous “lobster tots!”  

Nothing goes better with a lobster roll than a Chardonnay, whether you’re #teamoak or #teamsteel.  

In celebration of this heavenly pairing, we have some special deals on both our DeMayo and Triska Vineyard Chardonnays!  

Glasses of Triska Vineyard Chardonnay will be just $7, and glasses of DeMayo Chardonnay will only be $9! And club members will get their extra 20% off on these prices! (While supplies last!) 

Sunday, December 17th only, while supplies last. Reservations may sell out fast, so we recommend you reserve your spot now! 

Holiday Hours

Yes, we’re open December 31st, New Year’s Eve! Come toast the end of the new year with us.

Up through December 23rd -open every day

December 24th (Christmas Eve) and December 25th (Christmas Day) – closed

December 26th (Boxing Day) through December 31st (New Year’s Eve) – open every day *the last reservation start time on New Year’s Eve will happen at 3:30 pm

January 1st (New Year’s Day) – closed

January 2nd onward – open every day

In addition, Almost Famous will be enjoying expanded Holiday Hours. Bar opens at 5pm for all the following shows:

Dec 22 – Tia Carroll
Blues with a Hint of Holidays

Dec 23 – The Best Intentions
Motown Christmas

Dec 27 – Horatio Monroe
Free, acoustic in the lounge

Dec 28 – Patrick & Leanne
Free, acoustic in the lounge

Dec 29 – Idlewild

Dec 30 – Lucas Sanchez Band

Almost Famous Wine Lounge will be closed on New Year’s Eve this year.

Darcie’s mother Carol and uncle Jim, 4th generation vintners, at Alpine Winery in St. Joseph, MO

Darcie's Studio

It’s that time of year – the time where some of us are scratching our heads for an incredible holiday gift for someone you love.

Members, don’t forget that as part of your benefits, you get the “Friends and Family” price on original artwork by Darcie Kent. That’s 50% off!

Consider giving an original metallic print. Darcie’s luxury-quality prints are pressed in extremely small quantities. Each print is personalized and made unique by Darcie, who paints additional details onto each one. The final effect is almost indistinguishable from a painted canvas. In choosing the perfect print, it’s best to see them in person. It’s the perfect excuse for a little afternoon vino, while you “holiday shop!”

Looking for a gift that will truly take someone’s breath away? Darcie’s most recent masterwork, pictured above, made its debut at the last club release party. This show-stopper caps off the stained glass series of paintings.

“Stained Glass”
Acrylic and metal leaf on canvas
36″ x 48″
Gallery price $4800 | Club members $2400

Vineyards and Crushpad

This year was one for the record books. We ended harvest on November 10, which is the longest a harvest has ever gone! 

In the last newsletter, we spoke about the beautiful, late-harvest chemistry that was taking place inside each grape berry. Throughout the dry weather of early November, these phenolic compounds continued to develop, resulting in complex flavors with an ideal acid-to-sugar balance. This may have been the most beautiful harvest ever, as well, with the vineyard workers picking amongst fiery red and golden leaves.  

This harvest was long, but our patience was well-rewarded. The late-harvest conditions made it possible for “noble rot” to form in one of our Sauvignon Blanc vineyards. The Wine Atlas, penned by notable wine critics Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson, mentions that Livermore is one of the few wine regions in the world that can make Sauternes style wines, when a fungus called botrytis cinera sets into high-acid, white wine vineyards.  

Yes, fungus sounds disgusting, and in most cases fungus can destroy a vintage. But in the case of “noble rot,” the fungus is light enough that it helps, rather than hurts, the flavors. The grapes become dehydrated, making each berry extra concentrated and sweet. The botrytis also imparts subtle flavors, which some liken to honey, marmalade, or floral aromas. The rarest and most expensive wines in the world are made this way, like Sauternes and Hungarian Tokaj.  And Livermore is one of the few wine regions in the entire world where we can make this wine too! 

The photo below shows a bin of our botrytised Sauvignon Blanc, right before it was pressed and put into the fermenter. The last time we were able to make a Sauternes-style Sauvignon Blanc was exactly 10 years ago in 2013. That wine, called “Saturn,” sold out years ago, and we only have a few bottles left in our cellar for special occasions. (You can age a botrytised wine for decades!)

 We will be so excited to release our 2023 Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc when its ready- and yes, with emphasis on the “late!”  


Photos from this year's harvest, taken by Darcie Kent.