Between the Vines is a biweekly column on wine and winemaking in the Livermore Valley region. This column was contributed by Rhonda Wood, owner and winemaker at Wood Family Vineyards.
Winery name: Wood Family Vineyards
Owners: Rhonda and Michael Wood
About us: My husband, Michael, and I met in Yosemite over a glass of wine in 1984. Together we explored different wines and regions and developed a passion for wine. In 1995, I decided to try making wine and planted 18 grape vines in our backyard in Fremont.
We soon discovered the Livermore Valley nearby, purchased an 18-acre planted vineyard/home site here and started making wine on a slightly larger scale. I took a 30-day leave of absence from my job as an airline pilot for US Airways to expand the winery on Sept 1, 2001 and was able to extend my leave to five years after the tragedy of 9/11. I resigned after reaching the five-year mark and now focus my efforts on the winery.
Michael commutes to his job in Sunnyvale and helps out during harvest and at our events along with taking care of all the finances. Together we are living our dream.
Our wines: As a winemaker, I am not afraid to try new things. I listen to others and read and will take what I learn into consideration, but ultimately I do what feels right. We produce small lots of wine from eight varietals, all from Livermore Valley grapes:
We are becoming known for our zinfandel and have fun making it. Our favorite of the zins we produce is one we call Big Wood Zin. It is our bestselling wine at $32 per bottle. While it has a catchy name, the zin itself has quite a bit of character. It is farmed exclusively for us from a vineyard we call the Raboli Vineyard, which is owned by the Wente Family.
Our least expensive wine is our 2007 merlot at $22 per bottle. Our 2010 cabernet sauvignon is our most expensive bottle at $42.
Hours & tasting fee: We are open by appointment only and for scheduled events -- our own and those of the Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association. There is a $5 per person tasting fee for parties of more than six people; otherwise tasting is free.
Where is the winery? Our tasting room is located inside the working winery, and we have a picnic area out front. Wood Family Vineyards is at 7702 Cedar Mountain Road, Livermore. Visit us online at www.woodfamilyineyards.com.
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