Suisun Valley Stakes Its Viticultural Claim
Updated: Apr 14, 2021
The Napa Valley might receive most of California’s wine attention, but a district just southeast of the world-renowned winemaking region claims equally deep grapevine roots. Established in 1982, on the heels of Napa’s burgeoning acclaim, the Suisun Valley AVA boasts award-winning wineries, the varietals of which routinely receive gold, silver, and bronze medals from the critics.
This under-the-radar winemaking territory, in which grapes have been growing since the 1800s, is a mere eight miles north to south, and three miles east to west. Its optimal location between two coastal mountain ranges provides the perfect vineyard climate. The soil is abundant, deep, and varied, and allows for 23 different grape varietals to flourish. Here, Petite Sirah is king (or queen) in this region also known for its Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.
And though its wines are every bit as esteemed as its westward neighbor, tastings and visits held by the wineries within the Suisun Valley Vintners and Grower’s Association are a bit different. With an emphasis on community, the region’s primarily family-owned wineries offer a rustic charm. A laidback vibe invites visitors to become a part of the family. At Suisun Valley tastings, the winemakers themselves typically play host. The experience is personal, authentic, and down-to-earth.
All of the region’s wineries are located within close proximity of one another in the Suisun Valley ‘Loop,’ located just off of Hwy 1-80 in Fairfield, California, allowing guests the ability to conveniently explore the tight-knit wine region. They include: BackRoad Vines, Blacksmith Cellars, King Andrews Vineyards, Mangels Vineyard, Suisun Creek Winery, Sunset Cellars, Tenbrink Family Vineyards, Tolenas Vineyards and Winery, Vezer Family Vineyards, and Wooden Valley Winery.
Ready to sample? A wonderful representation of the area’s vinous export can be found with the following:
The Wagner Family’s commitment to making truly signature wines inspired them to create a grand wine with top-quality Petite Sirah grapes. True to the Caymus style, the Grand Durif is approachable in youth as well as at maturity.
Mangels Vineyards is dedicated to continuing its 100-year family tradition of making premium well-balanced wines bursting with aromatics from varietals grown in the Suisun Valley.
Family owned and operated Suisun Creek Winery is dedicated to exceptional care of their vineyards and handcrafting their wines. Winemaker Brian Babcock implements both the science and art of winemaking to create signature pours.
The winemakers at Tenbrink Vineyards are committed to low-intervention natural winemaking done in small lots, blending old and new techniques to craft wines that showcase the land they came from.
Wooden Valley Winery has produced award-winning wines from the Suisun Valley appellation since 1933. Their estate-grown wines are crafted to capture the full expression and distinct character of the Suisun Valley appellation.