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.

A picnic lunch and a delicious glass of wine in a beautiful vineyard setting is one of life's greatest pleasures. One of Livermore Valley's newest wine country picnic spots is at Cuda Ridge Wines on Arroyo Road in Livermore. The winery opened last summer and has a nicely paved patio outfitted with tables and umbrellas that wraps around two sides of the winery building.

"Our guests can enjoy views of the olive orchard next door and our new estate petit verdot vineyard," says Larry Dino, the owner and winemaker at Cuda Ridge. "We offer wine tasting and sell wine by the glass or bottle to enjoy with picnics."

Cuda Ridge will host its fifth annual Open Mic event on the patio over Memorial Day Weekend with live music by professional and aspiring artists. The picnic area is open weekends from noon to 5 p.m. Visit www.cudaridgewines.com.

On June 7, Rodrigue Molyneaux Winery will offer tours of the beautiful "garden rooms" that make its picnic areas so special. The extensive California native plantings are part of Livermore Valley's Drought-Resistant Garden Trail.

"We have several secluded picnic areas on our lush and well-manicured property," says Rob Roffey, of Rodrigue Molyneaux. "Many of our picnic areas feature views of the surrounding hills, our garden and horse pastures. You will feel like you are in the French countryside."


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Located on Marina Avenue in Livermore, Rodrigue Molyneaux is open 12:30 to 5 p.m. for picnicking on weekends. Check out www.rmwinery.com.

Bent Creek Winery on Greenville Road in Livermore has three pretty picnic areas, including a gazebo that seats 12 people at the end of a short, sloping trail through the vineyards. Cars can make the trip for easy access.

"The vineyard gazebo next to the creek is definitely a favorite among our guests," says winery co-owner Tom Heineman. "We also have a tile-roofed picnic area with several tables and a grassy spot with a private table next to the tasting room."

Bent Creek is open for picnics Friday through Sunday from noon to 4:30 p.m. On the second Thursday evening of each month, guests can enjoy a special tradition of music and wine on the patio at the "Thank Goodness It's Thursday" event. Visit www.bentcreekwinery.com.

The picnic area at Big White House and John Evan Cellars on Greenville Road is nestled between the tasting room and vineyard with spectacular views of vines on rolling hills. Picnics are encouraged any time during tasting room hours of noon to 4:30 p.m. Friday through Sunday.

"On the Fourth of July, we are inviting wine and music lovers to bring a picnic and check out the honky-tonk glitter-rock sounds of Ivory Deville," says winemaker John Evan Marion. "The band will feature my talented sister, Laura Marion, who also provides the artwork adorning each Big White House and John Evan wine." Visit www.bigwhitehouse.com for details.

Use of winery picnic areas in Livermore Valley is typically free, but proprietors appreciate the purchase of wine to accompany your meal. Parties of eight or more should call in advance to ensure space at the chosen location. For help planning your wine tasting trip to Livermore Valley wine country, please visit www.LVwine.org.

Wine country events

  • Winemaker Private Tasting & Tour -- 12 to 4 p.m. May 23 at Las Positas Vineyards, 1828 Wetmore Road; www.laspositasvineyards.com. Cost: $30. Join Winemaker Brent Amos for a private tasting and tour. The tasting will feature a flight of five wines with cheese, crackers and chocolate. Brent will then give you a guided tour throughout the winery and vineyards. RSVP required.

  • Food Truck Saturday -- 1 to 5 p.m. May 31 at Ehrenberg Cellars, 5143 Tesla Road in Livermore; www.ehrenbergcellars.com. The wineries of Tesla Vintners are hosting Los Altos Tacos. Enjoy the patio and picnic tables while playing lawn checkers.