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Grapes spend their last few days on the vine in the Ruby Hill vineyards before they will be harvested for the 2008 season. Below: Courtney Cooke, who with her husband John Canfield own Crackerbox Vineyard in Livermore, sell grapes to Mitchell Katz at Ruby Hill. Here, she helps in the assembly line process of petite sirah grapes at the Pleasanton winery.

Convention & Visitor’s Bureau and businesses—will help create the region as a destination, which Napa has done so successfully.

“Look at our cousin to the north. Napa has these charming cities—Yountville, St. Helena, Calistoga, Rutherford—that are all within the Napa (Valley),” Chandler said. “And they do a good job of marketing their own hometown, but they are in a designated American Viticulture Area or wine region. We have such charming downtowns, look at Pleasanton and Danville and Livermore.”

Chandler acknowledges that most of the wineries are in Livermore, two are in Pleasanton, two in Sunol and one in Castro Valley, but added that there are wine boutiques in Danville. There are also a number of upscale restaurants in the Tri-Valley region, which pair nicely with the wineries. There are also other amenities in the region that would attract those who enjoy wine tasting, such as golf courses, bocce ball, spa retreats and hiking and biking trails, Chandler said.

“We should not limit ourselves because there is so much to do in this region that makes it a destination,” she said. “We just need to communicate what those things are because people have different interests.”

The transit occupancy tax charged by cities on hotel stays could be an avenue for the winegrowers association. It currently doesn’t receive any TOT funding.

Pleasanton City Manager Nelson Fialho said the city is open to hearing a proposal for funding the association.

“We’re willing to pay. We just want them to demonstrate that they’re going to market the whole area,” he said. N

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