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.

Concannon Vineyard is celebrating its 130th anniversary of crafting award-winning wines in Livermore Valley. The beautiful estate winery on Tesla Road is a great place to relax and spend an afternoon or evening in wine country.

In 1883, James Concannon recognized Livermore Valley as strikingly similar to the premier vineyards of the Bordeaux region of France and purchased acreage in the area to found Concannon Vineyard. The winery became a trailblazer in the California wine industry, and is particularly known for its role in the development of cabernet sauvignon and petite sirah.

Today, guests can enjoy Concannon Vineyard's parklike grounds, newly renovated tasting room, Underdog Wine Bar and special events year-round. Knowledgeable wine associates are there seven days a week to introduce Concannon wines as well as host private tastings and guide tours of the winery, barrel room and historic estate vineyards.

With more than 50 wines available by the glass, Underdog Wine Bar at Concannon Vineyard is an urban oasis within Livermore Valley. It offers local wines as well as many from around the world, and the menu is designed to complement the wines. From light hors d'oeuvres to a satisfying meal, Underdog Wine Bar features seasonal small plates made from local produce that enhance and complement the vast wine selection.

The Concannon Vineyard estate also is the home of the Livermore Shakespeare Festival. Patrons often arrive early to picnic on the vineyard grounds, then bring their wine into the seating area to experience Shakespeare and other great plays in front of the magnificent Queen-Anne style Victorian home that was moved to the center of the winery in 2008.

Surprisingly, this turn-of-the-century relic offers aspects of Shakespeare's Elizabethan stage. Its two graceful porches, one above the other, echo the multilevel playing areas of London's 16th century Globe and Rose theaters. It isn't just a backdrop to the show, but also serves as part of the stage itself. The Victorian house is the equivalent of Shakespeare's tiring-house. Just as in Shakespeare's day, the actors "attire" (dress) themselves in the house.

Livermore Shakes just completed a run of "Much Ado About Nothing" and will present seven performances of Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice," directed by Virginia Reed, starting Thursday. The picnic area opens at 5:30 p.m., and all performances start at 7:30 p.m. Visit LivermoreShakes.com for details.

Concannon Vineyard is at 4590 Tesla Road in Livermore Valley. Visit online at ConcannonVineyard.com. For help planning a wine tasting trip to the Livermore Valley wine country, please visit www.LVwine.org.

Wine Country Events

  • Seventh Annual Vintage Tasting and Car Show -- 12 to 4:30 p.m. July 19 at Cuda Ridge Wines, 2400 Arroyo Road in Livermore; www.cudaridgewines.com. Cost is $10. Come join us for the Seventh Annual Vintage tasting and car show. The fun includes a new wine release tasting, wine discounts, live music (Catfish Boys on July 19, Luna Fish on July 20), vintage car show and BBQ available for purchase.

  • Taste Our Terroir -- July 24-27 (times and locations vary) at participating Livermore Valley wineries and www.LVwine.org. Cost varies by event. Livermore Valley's premier food and wine affair spans four delectable days. On July 24, the annual quest for food and wine pairing excellence has 18 winemakers partnering with Bay Area chefs to compete for honors. Taste pairings and cast your vote for the coveted People's Choice award! From July 25-27, wineries across the region will host eight food and wine events including cooking classes, wine seminars, vineyard tours and more.