The Livermore Valley AVA geography encompasses both the valley floor and the encircling hills of Alameda County and the southern part of Contra Costa County. Livermore Valley is one of California’s oldest wine regions as Robert Livermore planted the first commercial grapes in the 1840’s. In fact, California was put on the wine map because of Livermore Valley, which was the first American wine region to receive a Gold Medal Award at the Paris Exposition in 1889. This designation is largely based on the unique, gravel-based soils and the marine winds that are drawn into the valley every afternoon from San Francisco Bay. The Livermore Valley has an east-west orientation, making it unique among northern California winegrowing regions. It is 15 miles long (east to west), 10 miles wide (north to south), and surrounded by coastal range mountains and foothills. The east-west orientation of the valley allows the coastal fog and marine breezes to come in from the Pacific Ocean and the San Francisco Bay and cool the valley’s warm air, resulting in warm days and cool nights ideal conditions for producing fully-ripened, balanced fruit.