It’s concert season again at Wente Vineyards, where the 27th annual summer series of exciting alfresco shows is now under way.
Preceded by dinner inside the family-owned vineyard’s lushly rustic mission-style restaurant or buffet-style under the big, blue Livermore sky, with a full menu of Wente wines, these shows are fantastic opportunities to see and hear some of the world’s best-loved performers from a wide range of genres in one of the Bay Area’s most beautiful, intimate and elegant concert venues. The music rises as the sun falls and night transforms the surrounding vineyards and countryside.
Tickets solely for the music portion of the evenings, excluding a dinner option, are also available.
Concerts held previously this summer included Huey Lewis & the News, Counting Crows and the Wallflowers, while upcoming performances feature Styx on July 31, Chicago on August 5, Chris Botti on August 19 and REO Speedwagon on September 12.
This season’s first performer was country-pop favorite Martina McBride. This Grammy award-winner had the crowd bouncing eagerly in their seats with saucy songs such as “Wild Angels” and “When Hell-Raisin’ Women Get the Blues” and emotional ones such as “My Baby Loves Me” and “Valentine.” It was hard to tell in the dark, but bets are on that there was not a dry eye in the vineyard after McBride performed “I’m Gonna Love You Through It,” a plaintive paean to partners who keep each other strong through fear and illness. But all tears dried quickly as the petite performer turned the Roger Miller classic “King of the Road” into a raucous sing-along.
Roaring that song’s chorus into the starry sky sparked fond memories of summer camp — but no summer camp food could ever hold a kindling stick to the glorious buffet served before the concert that night at Wente, featuring freshly sliced meats, mashed potatoes, summer squash, artisan breads, avocado salad, spiced nuts, chocolate tarts and much more.
Familiar oldies such as “Help Me Make It Through the Night” and “I Never Promised You a Rose Garden” stoked the classic country vein, but McBride shone brightest when singing tunes from her most recent album, Eleven — six of whose eleven tracks she co-wrote.
Another thing they didn’t have at summer camp was Chardonnay….
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