Iconic Livermore wine country restaurant moves away from fine dining | Tim Talk | Tim Hunt | DanvilleSanRamon.com |

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About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

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Iconic Livermore wine country restaurant moves away from fine dining

Uploaded: Apr 2, 2019
The Livermore Valley’s iconic wine country restaurant is shifting its format after decades as a fine dining destination.
The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards, one of the anchors to the family-owned winery’s Arroyo Road showcase facility, is closed for renovations. The classic restaurant opened in the 1980s as the Wente family celebrated its 100th year of winemaking in the Livermore Valley.
The simple, classic architecture of the dining room, surrounded on two sides by an expansive patio, set the stage for an excellent dining experience. In another day-and-time when business often was done over lunch, the restaurant thrived day and night.
A little less than a year ago, the management shifted its daytime business, dropping lunch Tuesday through Thursday as well as weekend brunch in favor of a Friday-Sunday Vineyard Table prix-three menu with wine pairings. Dinner continued Tuesday through Sunday with the seasonal menu that often contained the same dishes as offered on the luncheon menu that also changed monthly.
The Vineyard table lunch offered the opportunity to enjoy several Wente small lot wines paired with the food.
My bride and I enjoyed a splendid vineyard table lunch last June and since then I have checked the menu as it changed monthly.
This month the page popped up with “Vineyard Table & Tasting Lounge. The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards is currently undergoing a refresh.
“Coming soon. A new casual concept that will reflect the entire Wente Vineyards experience from our sustainable estate grown wines to our renowned hospitality.”
Clearly the white table clothes and formal experience has given way to a fresh concept that’s more in tune with the dining preferences of today’s wine drinker.
Justin Noland, senior marketing manager at Wente, wrote in an email, “We are evolving our approach to enable today’s generation of wine lovers to craft their own wine and food experience in a relaxed and social atmosphere. The exciting sequel will come to life with the introduction of a modernized and approachable format offering an array of unforgettable wine country experiences. The new lively and social concept will create a timeless space where the experience of wine and food align for a memorable visit that can be enjoyed for any reason or occasion.”

He also indicated that they are still working on the experiences and plan to open the renovated restaurant in the new format in late spring. Executive Chef Mike Ward, who oversees all food service at Wente, is deeply involved in the new experience menu.
Give San Ramon Regional Medical Center CEO Ana Lucena a special award for the most unusual business photos.

Lucena was honored as one of the San Francisco Business Times’ 2019 list of 40 top business leaders under the age of 40. The 32-year-old was featured on the cover striking a ballet pose. She told the paper she’d started taking ballet lessons when she was four years old.

The Times’ annual award list included questions designed to give fresh insight into the honorees. They included leisure activities and surprising facts such as she sang the national anthem at Oakland A’s games several times.

She took over the CEO role last April after long-time CEO Gary Sloan retired. She’s a native of the South Bay and graduated from Stanford and holds an MBA from Harvard.

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