Friday, 21 June 2024

Langtry offers guests a chance to explore estate, winemaking

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The tour offers great views of Langtry's beautiful countryside. Photo by Harold LaBonte.

 

MIDDLETOWN – Wine tasting in Lake County just became a moving event at Langtry Estate & Vineyards in Guenoc Valley.

Langtry now offers guided tours of the winery and the vineyards themselves. The tours begin at the visitor center. Guests, five at a time, are transported around the 21,000-plus acres in one of two brand new electric vehicles.

The modern, virtually silent vehicles are driven by tour host Jose Vasquez. Vasquez has decades of experience in the wine business, extending across several counties and with some of the best known premium brands.

Vasquez offers up a plethora of Langtry history as well as a keen knowledge of viticulture facts and information throughout the tour.

 

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A portrait of Lillie Langtry. Photo by Harold LaBonte.
 



Tephra Ridge is the first major stop on the tour. Located five miles from the visitor center and 1,200 feet above the valley floor, we found, among the hillside vineyards, a level clearing and a trellis covered with old-growth grapevines that provide a shaded area for two large picnic tables. Low stone walls surround the picnic area providing as framework reminiscent of old European architecture.

It is here that Vasquez set up lunch and began the first wine tasting, featuring a 2004 Petite Sirah and a 2006 Sauvignon Blanc, both from the top shelf of the Langtry line and either one a great match to the cuisine, depending on your preferences.

 

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Tour guide Jose Vasquez sets up for lunch. Photo by Harold LaBonte.



The ride back to the valley floor takes guests through some of the most recent winegrape plantings as well as through several acres of decades-old vines. Each parcel is expertly tended and as well-groomed as a first-class golf course.

The home of the estate's namesake, Lillie Langtry, dates back to the late 19th century and is being reconstructed. It will be added to the tour in the not-too-distant future.

 

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Lillie Langtry's home on the property, undergoing renovation. Photo by Harold LaBonte.



Returning to the visitor center, guests may tour the mechanical side of the winemaking operation and view the large wooden vessels that each hold many hundreds of gallons of wine, dozens of them standing 20 feet tall or higher.

Across the aisle are hundreds upon hundreds of oak barrels. Each contains red wine, which sits for up to three and a half years before reaching the bottling stage.

 

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Oak barrels store the wine before bottling. Photo by Harold LaBonte.


The visitor center houses several executive offices as well as a tasting room and a very well designed gift shop containing a wide variety of food and wine-related products.

Two tours are offered. A wine tasting and cheese pairing experience is offered at 10 a.m. and again at 2 p.m. The lunch tour, as described, departs at 11:30 a.m. Reservations are required.

Set aside two hours for the lunch tour and a look around the grounds.

Langtry Estate and Vineyard’s hospitality office can be reached by calling Lori at 707-987-2385 or check out their web site, www.langtryestate.com.

E-mail Harold LaBonte at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

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A new electric car that shuttles visitors around the grounds. Photo by Harold Labonte.


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