Between the Vines is a biweekly column on wine and winemaking in the Livermore Valley region. This column was contributed by Bonnie Bartlett, co-owner of Charles R Vineyards.
Winery name: Charles R Vineyards
Owners: Bonnie and Dick Bartlett
About us: Charles R Vineyards is a family-run boutique winery known for traditional-style, award-winning wines. Three generations of our family work together to create a unique experience.
Charles R Vineyards was bonded in 2002 as a wine storage cellar and continues to store wine for some of the small businesses here in Livermore Valley. We also sourced grapes that year to produce our first vintage, a 2002 cabernet sauvignon. Our winery, like our family, is a labor of love. We opened our self-built tasting room, which features a magnificent bar made from a very old wine vat, in 2006.
The wine: Charles R is a small producer that specializes in handcrafted wines. We take time to make wines right, starting with only the best grapes from local Livermore Valley vineyards. We produce a wide variety of wines and have something for everyone -- from a chardonnay to bold reds. Our chardonnay offers crisp fruit flavors with a smooth oak finish. The pinot noir is a light-bodied red and pleases a wide variety of tastes. Our syrah, cabernet sauvignon and zinfandel are well aged and ready to be enjoyed today. Our petite
Wine prices: Our least expensive wine is our chardonnay at $20 a bottle. Our most expensive wine is the 2006 vino de amor (port) at $28 a bottle (375 ml). We make our port in a true Portuguese method, blending toriga and souzou grapes. When served with our homemade brownies, our guests understand how the proper food pairing makes your favorite wine even better!
Special features: Our tasting room is in a sheltered valley under old oak trees with views of the golden hills and wildlife within arm's reach. We're known for our fabulous picnic area and wine pairing with homemade fare.
Charles R is a good location for small events and meetings at which the people and wine are the center of attention. Our wine club is known for fun and casual events that take wine seriously but without pretense. We are happy to speak about our wines and explain the winemaking process that we are so proud of. We often have music, food pairings, local artists and crafts people.
On the fourth Friday of each month through September, we offer "Friday Night Uncorked," at which you can relax on the patio with a glass of wine and select the food that pairs best with your selected wine.
Hours and tasting fee: The Wine Maker's Tour includes vertical barrel tasting and concludes with a full flight tasting and cheese pairing. Our tasting room is open Friday through Sunday from noon to 4:30 p.m., as well as by appointment. Tasting is complimentary for small groups and $5 for groups of eight or more, which is refundable with purchase.
Winery location: Charles R Vineyards is located at the very end of Greenville Road, on an old mining trail at 8195 Crane Ridge Road in Livermore. Call 925-454-3040 or visit www.charlesrvineyards.com or Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/CharlesRVineyards for more information.
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