Between the Vines is a biweekly column on wine and winemaking in the Livermore Valley region. This column was contributed by the Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association. Each month, we invite you to explore a different part of Livermore Valley wine country with our itinerary for a great afternoon of wine tasting and a minimum of driving. In January, we start at the eastern end of Tesla Road.

1. Les Chênes Estate Vineyards is surrounded by magnificent mountain views with a feel of southern France. Specializing in estate Rhone wines, such as roussanne, mourvedre and syrah, owners Candace and Richard Dixon farm the vineyard with reverence and let the vines tell them what they can do. They create a healthy, balanced environment so that nature expresses her voice. Be sure to enjoy their Rhone wines with cheese pairings. Open for tasting Saturday and Sunday from 12 to 4:30 p.m. with a fee of $5. The address is 5562 Victoria Lane in Livermore, or visit www.leschenesvine.com.

2. Less than a mile away on Tesla Road is Eagle Ridge Vineyard, a small, family-owned vineyard with a tasting room nestled in the low foothills. The winery produces small lots of wines emphasizing the uniqueness of each varietal. Production is limited to fruit grown only within the Livermore Valley, including pinot grigio, cabernet sauvignon and petite sirah. In 2006, Eagle Ridge became the first solar-powered Livermore Valley winery. It is open Saturday and Sunday from 12 to 4:30 p.m. at 10017 Tesla Road in Livermore. Tasting is free. Visit online at www.eagleridgevineyard.com.

3. You will also find the wines of Dante Robere Vineyards at the Eagle Ridge tasting room. Dante Robere is a new addition to Livermore Valley's more than 50 wineries. They make a wide variety of handcrafted, small-lot wines from grapes grown in our region, including syrah from their estate vineyard. Other wines include sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, rose, zinfandel, cabernet sauvignon, petite sirah and Rhone-style blends. Enjoy free weekend tasting at the Eagle Ridge Vineyard tasting room (at the address above). Visit online at www.danterobere.com.

4. After a short drive down Tesla Road you'll arrive at Bodegas Aguirre Winery. Specializing in estate-grown premium red wines, the Aguirre family is proud to present the fruit of work their family started in 1995. Here, some of the highest-quality grapes that our valley can grow are meticulously crafted into complex red wines sure to please the most discriminating wine aficionados. Open for tasting on Saturday and Sunday from 12 to 4:30 p.m. with a fee of $5 at 8580 Tesla Road in Livermore; www.bodegasaguirre.com.

5. After a day of wine tasting, stop at nearby Purple Orchid Wine Country Resort & Spa for a relaxing treatment or overnight escape. Located on 23 acres in beautiful wine country, The Purple Orchid Resort & Spa is available for lodging, day spa services and special events. Visit www.purpleorchid.com for reservations. For more information and help planning your wine tasting trip to Livermore Valley wine country, please visit www.LVwine.org.

wine country events

  • Movie Night -- 6 to 8:30 p.m. Jan. 18 at Las Positas Vineyards, 1828 Wetmore Road in Livermore; www.laspositasvineyards.com. Cost: free with wine, beer and popcorn for sale. From January through April, join us every third Saturday at the winery for movie nights. For movie listings, join the winery mailing list at laspositasvineyards.com/newsletter.html.