New wineries welcomed in Suisun Valley

March 1, 2015 - Picnic Time

Three wine-producing valleys are tighten together in a Bay Area’s coastal hills – world-famous Napa and Sonoma valleys and smaller Suisun Valley with large booze nation dreams.

Napa Valley is grappling with questions of either it is choking on a possess success, ensuing in such problems as too most traffic. This contention will continue during a Mar 10 corner assembly of a Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission.

Suisun Valley to a easterly in adjacent Solano County would like to splash during slightest a tiny of Napa’s heady wine. If Napa Valley’s booze nation is full, Suisun Valley is peaceful to take some spillover.

“Absolutely,” Suisun Valley vintner Ron Lanza pronounced with a laugh.

He’s saying a step in that direction. Wagner Family of Wine – owners of Caymus Vineyards in Napa Valley – is flourishing vines in Suisun Valley and shopping Suisun grapes. It skeleton to start building a Cordelia Winery there this summer.

Long-time Napa vintner Chuck Wagner pronounced a family during some indicate will recover a booze temperament a Suisun Valley classification on a label.

Suisun Valley classification covers about 19,000 acres, starting circuitously a wetlands of Suisun Marsh and regulating past Interstate 80 north for about 7.5 miles to a Napa County line during Wooden Valley. It includes a handful of wineries, such as Wooden Valley Winery and Vezer Family Vineyards.

But some-more than 2,259-foot-tall Twin Sisters towering separates a Suisun and Napa valleys.

Suisun Valley is mostly a tillage area with customarily traces of Napa Valley sizzle. Among a few restaurants is a Mankas Steakhouse with cook Peter Halikas, who formerly worked during Napa Valley restaurants. Among a valley’s biggest draws is Larry’s Produce stand.

Traffic problems in Suisun Valley customarily don’t outcome from tourists streamer to wineries. Rather, trade comes from commuters vital in Fairfield’s Rancho Solano resolution regulating a hollow as a by-pass to strech a turnpike or people streamer to Lake Berryessa.

Solano County wants Suisun Valley to be a booze nation success, in partial to wand off a creeping subdivisions of adjacent Fairfield. The county’s Suisun Valley Strategic Plan calls for formulating “a end for tourists seeking world-class wine.”

Lanza and his 3 brothers run Wooden Valley Winery, that notwithstanding a name is in Suisun Valley. His family has finished booze for 3 generations on land framed by oak-covered hills and kissed by cold afternoon breezes flapping in from internal bays.

“I’d adore to see 12 to 15 wineries here,” Lanza said. “That’s to make it a unequivocally viable destination.”

Lanza’s prophesy for Suisun Valley seems to be kind of a mom-and-pop chronicle of Napa. Certainly, Wooden Valley Winery has that aura, with a tasting room and cruise area where visitors usually competence run into Lanza as he goes about a day’s chores.

“We wish to keep that down-home feel, a real-connected feel to a consumer,” Lanza said.

Lanza and other Suisun Valley vintners and grapegrowers have welcomed a Wagners. They are happy to see a Cordelia Winery designed in revoke Suisun Valley along Cordelia Road.

Napa County claimed Caymus exceeded a use assent for prolongation by 1.9 million gallons in 2008. Later, Wagner pronounced a winery disagreed that bottling was production. Caymus concluded to compensate a county $1 million and, to solve a prolongation disagreement, motionless to pierce a bottling operations to Suisun Valley.

The Suisun Valley winery is to be able of producing 5 million gallons of booze annually and 500,000 gallons of spirits. It is to be a bottling heart for a family operation that grows grapes in Santa Barbara, Monterey, Sonoma and Napa counties, and now in Suisun Valley. It eventually is to embody a delicatessen and offer tours and tasting.

Napa County Planning Commission hearings for new wineries, even tiny ones, have turn drawn-out affairs. In contrast, a Solano County Planning Commission during an Aug. 1, 2013 conference fast expelled a Wagners a use assent for a winery that dwarfs by distant any other in Suisun Valley.

“I can tell we there’s some event here that’s untapped,” Wagner told a commission.

He’s not relocating out of Napa, Wagner pronounced recently. But he remarkable a transformation in Napa to revoke traffic. He wouldn’t even try to introduce something like a Cordelia Winery there, he said.

Wagner spoke not customarily about a lift from Napa Valley, though a lift of Suisun Valley. He described microclimates that roughly impersonate those up-and-down a 30-mile-long Napa Valley, though over a most shorter distance.

“In usually 6 miles, it spans from Carneros to Calistoga,” he said.

Wagner has been removing to know a people of Suisun Valley. He’s finished such things as pronounce during a Solano County Farm Bureau and a Solano County Economic Development Corp. breakfast.

“I unequivocally describe to a plantation life opinion of a people in Suisun Valley,” Wagner said.

Wagner agrees with some Suisun Valley vintners that petite sirah competence turn a valley’s signature grape.

Suisun Valley grapegrowers speak about a meridian that’s identical to that in a Napa Valley. Still, a valley’s miss of Napa mystique is clearly reflected in grape prices.

In 2014, Napa County grape growers harvested 173,770 tons during $4,065 per ton for a sum of $706 million, according to a rough 2014 grape vanquish news expelled by a state Department of Agriculture.

By comparison, Solano County growers harvested 23,009 tons during $834 per ton for a sum of $19 million. The price-per-ton figure lumps Suisun Valley grapes with reduction pricey grapes grown in such areas as Ryer Island in a Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Suisun Valley wineries haven’t sole booze on a three-tiered complement of writer to wholesaler to retailer, Wager said. The valley’s wines aren’t seen in places such as New York.

“The name`Suisun’ or ‘Solano’ never unequivocally intent a marketplace,” Wagner said. “That’s a startling thing, that there hasn’t been someone before us to step to a image and sell it in a ubiquitous marketplace on a three-tiered system.”

Lanza pronounced carrying a Wagners in Suisun Valley could move implausible consumer awareness.

“I’m genuine vehement to see them,” Lanza said. “I don’t consider it stops with them. I’ve listened mentions of other Napa producers who have been looking around Suisun Valley. we consider we’ll see a integrate some-more in a circuitously future.”

But will there be a bolt of Napa winemakers following a Wagners to Suisun Valley? Rex Stults of a Napa Valley Vintners doesn’t see that happening.

“I consider that was usually a really singular situation,” Stults said. “There’s a reason we’re a tip in a United States and on standard with anywhere in a universe in terms of booze peculiarity and recognition of a booze among high-end booze consumers. And there’s a reason people in a booze attention wish to be in Napa Valley. We’re a best.”

Solano County’s Suisun Valley Strategic Plan upheld in 2011 by a Solano County Board of Supervisors aims high. It calls for creation a classification “so famous that it creates new markets and increases direct for Suisun Valley wine.”

Visitors to this idealized Suisun Valley could eat and emporium during 8 proposed, tiny blurb centers. They could buy uninformed fruits and vegetables during furnish stands. They could admire a volcanic charcoal walls of a 1856 Rockville mill chapel and see 1900 Gomer school, with a high roofs and bell tower.

But there have been some tensions as Suisun Valley works on achieving this vision. For example, some farming residents have complained about sound entrance from nearby, outside marriage events with amplified sound.

The hollow also recently mislaid dual of a wineries, a Ledgewood Creek Winery and Winterhawk Winery. EJ Gallo bought a properties for a vineyards and close down a tasting rooms.

Suisun Valley is during a commencement of a journey. Residents have talked about formulating an agri-tourism area that doesn’t turn a traveller trap.

Whatever happens, Lanza doesn’t see Suisun Valley apropos a subsequent Napa Valley.

“Suisun Valley isn’t that big,” Lanza said. “We don’t have a distance to be what Napa is. But we could be something special.”

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