By Deborah Grossman
Wine tasting at the supermarket? Why not. When tastings are free and nibbles are served? At Livermore’s newly renovated First Street Safeway, you can pause from grocery shopping to snack on cheese and paté, sip wine, and chat with wine industry legends. From Chalk Hill to Mumm, winery owners come to the store to talk about their wine, suggest food pairings, and sign bottles. Recent visitors have included Mike Grgich of Grgich Hills and baseball’s Tommy Lasorda of Lasorda Wine.
“This is the way a store should be, with specialty areas where you can take a break, have some coffee, or taste some wine and think about what to cook for dinner,” says Olympic gold medalist Peggy Fleming. The retired ice skater visited Safeway’s wine-tasting bar—smack in the middle of Safeway’s 2,000-bottle-strong wine department—with her physician and winemaker husband, Greg Jenkins. The couple poured their Fleming Jenkins wine.
People crowded around the bar to ask Fleming about her wine, her Olympic experience, and her favorite quiche recipe. The best-selling Fleming Jenkins wine that day was the 2005 Madden Ranch Syrah, sourced with grapes from the Livermore vineyard of former NFL coach John Madden, a friend of Fleming’s.
In the coming months, expect to mingle with Jeff Bundschu of Gundlach-Bundschu Winery, Walter Raymond of Raymond Vineyards, and Kate MacMurray, spokesperson for MacMurray Ranch and daughter of My Three Sons television legend Fred MacMurray.
Tastings take place daily. For a schedule, visit www.winesteward.blogspot.com or call the store at (925) 455-2520, Ext. 1234 for the wine department. Safeway, 4495 First St., Livermore.