Murrieta's Well Winery
Springing from a tale as old as California itself, Murrieta's Well Winery is dedicated to blending Old and New World winemaking styles, creating wines that are truly unique in character. Located just 35 miles east of San Francisco, the winery was originally built in the 1880s at the site of the favorite watering hole of colorful bandit Joaquin Murrieta. Although stories of Joaquin's escapades may have attracted the winery's founder, French-born Louis Mel, to the spot, it's more likely that he was inspired by its gravelly soil and natural supply of artesian spring water--two essential elements for growing wine grapes. The rough gravel and rock composition of the soil reminded Louis of home, and he arranged to have Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc cuttings from the famous estate of Château d'Yquem and red Bordeaux cuttings from Margaux transported to start his vineyard.
Louis built the stone winery building that still stands today. It is one of the first examples of California gravity flow design. When Louis retired in the early 1930s, he sold the winery to his neighbor, Ernest Wente. Ernest's grandson Philip, who grew up in a house built by Louis, operates the winery today.
When Philip brought Sergio Traverso, the winemaker at nearby Cocannon Vineyard, on board in 1990, the two decided that they would remain true to Murrieta's Well Winery's heritage and focus on crafting distinctive blends from the estate's original plantings. Since then, they have introduced several varieties originating from the Iberian Peninsula to broaden the palette of exceptional small lot blends derived exclusively from grapes grown on its sustainably farmed vineyards.
It's a quick trip from the San Francisco area to this legendary winery, which proves to be a captivating destination. The grounds take visitors back in time, and the winery building, enhanced by rustic wooden beams and artisan tile work, is a fine example of early California architecture. A visit to Murrieta's Well Winery allows one a delightful taste of California lore and some very distinctive wines.
What To Buy:
'06 Red Meritage Dark plum, cinnamon, boysenberry, mocha $34.99
'07 White Meritage Ripe melon, green apple, vanilla, butterscotch $21.99
'07 Zarzuela Rose petals, leather, spice, black cherry, cedar, vanilla $28.99
'06 Zinfandel Ripe fruit, black pepper, anise $28.99
925.456.2390; Fax: 925.456.2391
3005 Mines Rd
Livermore, CA 94550
Tasting Room Open Wed-Sun 11-4:30
From Hwy 580 E, take Vasco Rd exit. Go south until Vasco dead-ends at Tesla Road (3 miles). Turn right on Tesla, proceed ½ mile. Turn left on Mines Rd. Winery is on the right.