Tom Coyne started out as a home winemaker (while he was a chemical engineer for Clorox), then started working as a cellar rat at Rosenblum Cellars, then started making a little wine under his own label and selling it there in 1989, and finally made the leap to his own winery and vineyards in Livermore in 1994. Along the way, he became one of the Bay Area's best winemakers, specializing in Rhone varieties and multiple Merlots, but capable of doing a great job with anything from Pinot Blanc to Spanish grapes you never heard of, with local Livermore fruit and grapes from Lodi, Contra Costa County, and the Sierra Foothills. The bonus treat is the winery itself: a venerable Livermore winemaking site, founded in 1881 as Chateau Bellvue, complete with historic buildings and a nifty view. Does Tom Coyne respect tradition? Here's a clue — he refuses to be bothered with e-mail.
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