Learn More About Hosting a Romantic Wedding in Livermore Valley Wine Country
Private, gorgeous, and nestled within the hills of Livermore Valley Wine Country, the Palm is an idyllic venue for hosting a romantic destination wedding.
Drive down the palm tree-lined driveway and feel transported to a secluded winery estate situated in the vineyards. Boasting gorgeous reclaimed redwood, historic brick, and elegant interior architectural details, the venue feels rich with history and wine country romance.
Located within an hour from San Francisco, San Jose, and Tracy, Livermore Valley Wine Country is easily accessible and one of the best kept secrets of the Bay Area. Possessing wineries, numerous restaurants, shopping, golf courses and recreational parks, the area has an abundance of activities for visitors. In addition, a Mediterranean climate makes the area the sunny side of the Bay, which means milder winters and warm breezy summer nights. Perfect weather for outdoor wedding ceremonies or late afternoon cocktails on the terrace overlooking the vineyards.
Over 50 wineries are located in Livermore Valley. The Palm sits next to one of the largest, Rubino Estates Winery. We exclusively feature their wines as part of our wedding offerings. Hand-crafted to embrace the unique Livermore Valley terroir, Rubino Estates combines contemporary methods with classical Italian varietal grapes to create approachable, food-friendly wines.
HISTORY OF LIVERMORE VALLEY WINE COUNTRY
One of the oldest wine regions in California, Livermore Valley Wine Country has a venerable history and over 50 bonded wineries for visitors to explore. Click for a map of area wineries.
The area is blessed with gravelly soil that “stresses” the vines to produce more flavorful fruit. It’s unique meso-climates, produced from the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay, lend the region its moderate, Mediterranean weather.
Originally home to the Ohlone Indians, and then to the San Jose Mission, the region was eventually given in a Spanish land grant to Robert Livermore in the early 1800's. Robert Livermore planted the first vineyard in the valley, harvesting grapes for low-grade table wine in 1849. Later, during the mid-1800’s gold was found in California and Livermore Valley became a stopping point for those headed to make their fortunes. In 1869 the town of Livermore was established in memory of the first winemaker, and landowner, of the region.
During the late 1800’s the esteemed Charles Wetmore, James Concannon and Carl Wente all planted their vineyards in the area. Charles Wetmore’s vineyard, Cresta Blanca Winery, went onto win the Grande Prix at the Paris International Exposition in 1889 out of 17,000 entries (Napa Valley would not be recognized by French judges until almost a hundred years later at the Paris Tasting in 1976), giving the valley notoriety on the International stage. James Concannon began production of sacramental wine that was to allow the winery to survive during the era of prohibition and Charles Wente began his own winery that today is the distinguished as the oldest, continuously run family winery in the nation.
By the year 1900, there were 50 wineries and 5,000 acres of vineyard in the valley, however, this boon was not to last with the ratification in 1919 of the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, outlawing the sale of alcohol and severely limiting the number of wineries who were able to survive during this era. After prohibition, Livermore Valley began to again produce commercial wine and was the first region to label and market varietal wines in the mid-1930’s. The 1970’s saw the largest number of wineries in the area established – over 200 strong. This number diminished to only six by the late 1980’s and as housing continued to encroach upon agricultural land, Alameda County (along with the cities of Pleasanton and Livermore) undertook a multi-year planning process to save the wine country from excessive development. Out of this effort arose the South Livermore Valley plan, in which development must be combined with the preservation of agricultural areas, allowing for the incubation and growth of the wine industry.
Visitors to the area today are surprised to find over 40 wineries in an area that is as historically rich as the fertile ruby soil. Major attractions in the region include biking, hiking and wine tasting with friendly winemakers who interact with their customers and host a multitude of wine-related events throughout the year.
For further information on Livermore Valley Wine Country and/or to see a calendar of wine-related events, please refer to the Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association website.
For further tourist information and travel ideas, please refer to the Visit Tri-Valley website.
HISTORY OF THE PALM EVENT CENTER IN THE VINEYARD
The Palm sits on the original Ruby Hill Winery property. Ruby Hill Winery was one of the earliest wineries in the area, dating from the late 1800’s. Built by John Crellin in 1887, who purchased 450 acres in the area with a fortune gained through the oyster shell business, Crellin named the winery after the rich, red soil found on the property.
Crellin’s son kept the winery going after his father’s death, but sold it in 1921 to Ernest Ferrario. In the 1960’s Ferrario’s winery was known for its bulk wine. Subsequent years saw the land sold to the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1970, and then leased to Stony Ridge Winery. In 1982, the winery was sold to Computerland with plans to build a training campus. During protests by the community on the loss of the vineyards, Wente Vineyards purchased the property to protect its rich viticulture heritage. In 1989, a fire nearly destroyed the building and it sat abandoned until being demolished in 2002.
New Winery, New Event Venue
Finally, in 2002, land developer Mike Callahan purchased the land with the promise to revive the vineyard and winery. The winery reopened as Mitchell Katz Winery. Two years later in 2004, the Palm opened as an event venue next to the winery.
In 2008, Mike Callahan resurrected the Ruby Hill Winery name and built a brand new winery a quarter of the mile down the road next to the Palm’s sister event venue, Casa Real at Ruby Hill Winery. In 2013, Mitchell Katz relocated to another property in Livermore Valley. Mike Callahan re-opened the winery under his own brand, Rubino Estates, and extensively remodeled the tasting room.
Much of the terroir of the land is flat, gravelly and well-drained – reminiscent of vineyards in Bordeaux and the Rhone regions in France; perfect for Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah and Syrah grapes. The Mediterranean climate of warm days and cooler evenings are ideal for producing fully ripened, balanced and flavorful fruit. Loamier soil upland on the property is ideal for Chardonnay and Zinfandel varietals. And with the skillful hand of the Rubino Estates winemaker, the vineyards now also contain other varietals, such as Petite Verdot, Barbera and Sangiovese.
The Palm Event Center in the Vineyard – A Melding of Past and Present
Built in 2004, the Palm’s construction included building materials from the old Ruby Hill Winery. Whenever possible, old bricks and wood were used in construction. The old palm trees sitting on a gravel road were formally landscaped and manicured into an elegant and dramatic driveway entrance – perfect for wedding processions and creating a “wow” moments for guests upon arriving at the property for the first time. The doors of the event venue and the impressive kings tables used as accent tables for weddings were all hand-carved from old redwood trees and custom made for the property.
Before the Palm was built, the landowner, Mike Callahan, partnered with Read Phillips of Beets Catering to open the event venue. Beets Catering took over the management of the property, including event coordination and all food and beverage service. With over 25 years of experience catering all over the Bay Area, Beets Catering had a stellar reputation for creating flawless parties with restaurant-quality cuisine. Eventually, the company was renamed Beets Hospitality Group to better reflect the actual management of the event venue. A dedicated staff of event coordinators, chefs, and property management were hired to ensure couples receive the utmost attention for their events.
A separate company from the winery, the Palm Event Center in the Vineyard is now regarded as one of the most elegant event venues in the Bay Area. Featuring warm, friendly staff with extensive event expertise, the property has earned the reputation as a welcoming, affordable venue with luxury amenities and a historical past.
WINERY & WINE FESTIVAL INFORMATION
Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association
ACTIVITIES, LODGING, TRAVEL INFORMATION
CALENDAR OF EVENTS IN AREA
San Francisco Premium Outlets
Danville Blackhawk Shopping & Dining
Downtown Livermore Shopping
Downtown Pleasanton Shopping Listings
REHEARSAL DINNER RECOMMENDATIONS
475 St. John Street, Pleasanton
4 miles from Palm Event Center
CAMPO DI BOCCE
175 E. Vineyard Avenue, Livermore
0.3 miles from Palm Event Center
325 S. L Street, Livermore
5 miles from Palm Event Center
4500 Tassajara Road, Dublin
6 miles from Palm Event Center
ESIN RESTAURANT & BAR
750 Camino Ramon, Danville
4 miles from Palm Event Center
425 Main Street, Pleasanton
18 miles from Palm Event Center
OASIS GRILLE & WINE LOUNGE
780 Main Street, Pleasanton
4 miles from Palm Event Center
TERRA MIA ITALIAN RESTAURANT
4040 East Avenue, Livermore
6 miles from Palm Event Center
THE RESTAURANT AT WENTE
5050 Arroyo Road, Livermore
5 miles from Palm Event Center
UNCLE YU’S AT THE VINEYARD
39 S. Livermore Avenue, #125, Livermore
5 miles from Palm Event Center
ZEPHYR GRILL & BAR
1736 1st Street, Livermore
4 miles from Palm Event Center
Relaxing Day in Livermore Wine Country
LATE MORNING/EARLY AFTERNOON:
Start the day meeting up with the bridal party and any in-town guests at Salt Craft for brunch or lunch.
Girls head over to the Purple Orchid Spa for a day of pampering with a facial, sugar glow and massage. Sip wine and indulge in a light snack while relaxing before the big day. Guys head to either Poppy Ridge Golf Course or The Course at Wente Vineyards for a game of golf amongst the vines.
Meet up with everyone again for dinner and a fun game of bocce at Campo di Bocce down the street from the Palm.
Girls & Guys Bridal Party Day Out in Danville
Meet at the cute, rustic Sideboard in quaint downtown Danville for an early brunch or lunch. Sip coffee or their famous s’mores hot chocolate while catching up and gaining a little caffeine for the day.
Stroll around Danville's downtown window shopping. Next head to Pinot's Palette to get crafty. At Pinot's Palette drink wine, chat and be inspired by a local artist who guides you step-by-step through a featured painting. Round out your afternoon by stopping at the Auburn Lounge Auburn Lounge wine tasting bar to listen to live acoustic music or stop for a quick pedicure and manicure at Pinkie's Nail Studio to make sure you are picture-perfect for the big day.
Invite all in-town guests to dinner with your bridal party at Bridges Restaurant & Bar.
Meet up at Crumbs Breakfast & Lunch and load up on pancakes or waffles to be fueled for the impending drinking spree.
Walk over to Danville Cigar and settle into a comfy chair with a glass of port and a premium cigar for a classy start to the day. Afterward, take the guys to Danville Bowl and put your bowling skills to work seeing who will be the guy buying drinks at the end of the night.
Hit the bar scene at Pete's Brass Rail & Car Wash and then McGah's to be entertained by dueling pianos as you drink a cold one.
Invite all in-town guests to dinner with the bridal party at Bridges Restaurant & Bar.
Beer Tasting and Adventures in Livermore Valley Wine Country
For an epic day of team strategy – meet at American Paitball Park in Livermore off of Hwy 84 for an afternoon of running and dodging. Tip: Make sure to book a private party package. If you are in the need for speed – Meet at Umigo Speed Raceway to try to best your friends in go-kart racing. Either activity will work up a thirst to explore Livermore Valley’s beer tasting rooms.
Begin your beer odyssey at Altamont Beer Works for a tasting flight of their popular brews. Next, hop over to Working Man Brewery for a beer on tap and learn about the beer-making process. Lastly, check out Tap 25 Craft Beer, located in the popular Blacksmith Square in downtown Livermore. Listen to live music in their outdoor beer garden.
Head to nearby Simply Fondue in downtown Livermore for an evening of cocktails and gooey cheese goodness. Try the Campfire Chocolate Fondue for a decadent end to your evening.
Fun Nature Day with Guests
Pack a snack and plenty of water and meet your guests at the Sunol Regional Wilderness Area, called “Little Yosemite” by locals. Choose your trail and make it a fun afternoon hike with all your guests. TIP: Hikes range from 3 miles to 8 miles. Make sure you pick one that is accessible to all your co-hikers.
Drive 15 minutes away to the Niles Canyon Railroad Sunol Station and charter a caboose for you to party with your guests while enjoying beautiful views on North America’s First Transcontinental Railroad. TIP: Your charter reservation includes three picnic tables before the ride to Niles and an area inside the caboose for snacks and refreshments. The caboose is a one-way ride so make sure to have some cars parked in Niles for the drive back. You can also purchase tickets for Wine Tasting trains as well.
Walk from the train platform to Papillon Restaurant for an elegant French-inspired dinner or for a more casual evening, check out Bronco Billy’s Pizza Palace.
Livermore Valley Wine Country Experience Day
After brunch at Salt Craft have your bridal party and in-town guests meet you at the Wente Vineyards tasting room.
Book a ride on the Mello Cielo at Ruby Hill Winery to be treated to a swanky bus ride through the vineyards and production facility, finally ending up at the Ruby Hill Water Tower, where you and 12 guests are treated to a food and wine pairing. Or, hop aboard the USS Rubino Duck Boat for a tour of Rubino Estates Winery grapevines and then production facility. The tour will conclude with an outdoor sit-down tasting paired with light food offerings.
From Wente, head to Steven Kent’s wines next door in The Barrel Room. Drive a short distance to Darcie Kent and view their art collection while sipping on some of the best wines in the valley. Lastly, on Tesla Road stop in at McGrail Winery and experience some down-home hospitality while tasting their award-winning wines. Take their 90 minute tour of their vineyards and barrel room and learn even more about the winemaking process. TIP: For a fun adventure, rent Segways through the Livermore Tour Company to ride through wine country.
Check out the schedule at www.theblockeastend.com, a website dedicated to showing the happenings of a collection of artisan beer, wine and spirit producers located all within a block of each other in Livermore. Most businesses have entertainment and food offerings - including food trucks - to cap off your day in wine country (bigger parties call ahead).
Shop the Day Away
Meet in Downtown Pleasanton at The Press or Tri-Valley Bistro for an early lunch. Afterward, wander Main Street window shopping and ducking into boutiques on quest for the ultimate honeymoon outfit. Stop at Meadowlark Dairy just off the main strip for delicious soft-serve ice cream.
Hop in the car and drive over to the San Francisco Premium Outlets for an afternoon of designer bargain hunting with stores such as Barneys, Saks Fifth Avenue, Splendid, Michael Kors, Armani and Kate Spade.
Grab dinner at Hops and Sessions, a self-pour tap room and restaurant, and afterward dance the night away at Aviation with silent disco or R-Place with karaoke.
How to Create the Perfect Hotel Welcome Tote
For a destination wine country wedding, a hotel welcome tote is always a nice touch for out-of-town guests. The combination of a gift and a thoughtful way to say you’re glad they are there, it is the perfect gesture to ensure guests feel comfortable while away from home.
Here’s a guide in how to create the perfect welcome tote:
Start with the container you will be putting all your goodies in. A versatile tote is your best bet – burlap, canvas or woven. Bags with subtle designs are almost always loved more by guests since they can be reused. If you want a custom design on your tote, think about getting someone to create a map of the area, or a stylized “brand” logo for your wedding, or maybe even a charming wine-themed drawing.
Other cute vessel ideas are wine boxes, vintage small travel bags, or baskets. Even better, purchase a reusable, collapsible tote that guests can then throw into their purse later for their next shopping errand run (check out www.flipandtumble.com).
Next, figure out a few necessities to keep your guests comfortable. Tissues, hangover remedies, band-aids, and a sleep mask are perfect for a weary traveler and partygoer.
Provide information regarding your wedding and the area. This can include a printed itinerary of the wedding events during the next few days, a local driving map, a wine tour booklet (contact Livermore Valley Winegrowers for a printed brochure – 925.447.9463), and a visitor guide of fun things to do (request Tri-Valley Inspiration Guides from Visit Tri-Valley – 925.846.8910).
Provide snacks and drinks. Perfect for guests to nosh on before or after the main event. Personalized water bottles, bulk trail mix packaged into cute bags, and even something a little sweet will help guests be energized throughout the trip.
Feature one or a few local products from the area. This gives your guests a little local treat and helps them feel connected to where you have decided to marry. Some local ideas are:
- Olivina Olive Oil – one of the oldest ranches in the area. Olivina used to be a cattle ranch with scattered olive trees. An early pioneer of the olive oil industry in Calfornia the ranch became known for its golden oil. Find them at the Pleasanton Farmer’s Market .
- Victorine Valley Farms – a small boutique company that produces small lot olive oil. They also produce flavored oils, olive oil soaps and accessories. Find them in the Blacksmith Square in downtown Livermore.
- Green Soap Bath Shoppe – a local shop in downtown Livermore specializing in organic, housemade bath products. These include soaps, body lotions, candles and bath bombs.
- Rubino Estates Winery – our next door neighbor sells cute splits of wine, perfect for a welcome tote. In addition, full-size bottles of wine allow couples to share. Bottles can be customized with personalized labels.
- Danville Chocolates – delicious homemade caramels, chocolates, truffles and dipped fruits will satisfy any guest with a sweet tooth.
- Altamont Beer Works, Eight Bridges Brewing Company, Working Man Brewing Company – Livermore Valley is also known as a beer destination too. A brew or two in a welcome tote will always help make a trip festive.
Add your own flair – do you as a couple have an absolute favorite candy? Is there a special memento you want to share with your guests that reminds you of your first date? Here’s the chance to put your personal stamp as a couple on the wedding and give guests a little insight into how cool you and your future spouse are.