Livermore's Olivina presses on for olive oil

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You’d be hard-pressed to find a more natural pairing than grapevines and olive trees; they’ve been companion plants throughout the Mediterranean for millennia.

So it’s not surprising that olives thrive in the Livermore Valley, a wine-growing region where distant sea breezes turn warm days into cool evenings.

As the number of vineyards has soared in the past 15 years, olive trees have grown apace, mixing with vines and expanding into groves. There is now a wealth of Livermore olive oil producers, from enthusiasts picking a few Manzanilla trees, to small wineries, to entrepreneurs pressing thousands of gallons of European varietals.

The largest is the Olivina, a property whose name reflects the rolling acres of olives and vines planted in the 19th century. But the initial plantings of vines and trees fell prey to Prohibition, phylloxera and personal misfortune decades ago. The land was left fallow, and the Olivina became a cattle ranch.

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