It’s located just minutes off one of northern California’s busiest thoroughfares, yet it has managed to hang on to its agricultural roots and emerge as a hidden gem of North Coast wine country.
The Suisun Valley is just north of Interstate 80, the road that connects the Bay Area with Reno and beyond, basically between the towns of Cordelia and Fairfield. It is bounded on three sides by roads that lead to the Napa Valley, 25 minutes away, and offers its own style of wine-tasting adventure.
With its country roads and low traffic volume, you won’t even think about the super-highway just minutes to the south.
The majority of wineries in Suisun Valley are family and/or locally owned. It’s quite common to encounter a proprietor or winemaker during a visit, and it’s this kind of one-on-one interaction – which is becoming increasingly rare in Napa – that makes a visit to Suisun Valley enjoyable and memorable.
There currently are five locations open for wine tasting in the valley: Ledgewood Creek Winery, Vezer Family Vineyard Tasting Room, Wooden Valley Winery, Blue Victorian Vineyards, and the Suisun Valley Wine Cooperative. All are staffed by friendly people who are knowledgeable and genuinely interested in the valley and the wines they serve.
Tasting at most locations is complimentary, and if a fee is charged, it’s generally applied to a purchase.
Ledgewood Creek Winery has an inviting picnic area and three wines crafted specifically for outdoor enjoyment: PicniQue Red, PicniQue Chardonnay and PicniQue Sauvignon Blanc. Among its other bottlings is a tasty Viognier.
The Vezer Family Vineyard offers handcrafted wines in a family setting with beautiful gardens and a European Deli on-site. The speciality of the house is a wine known as “La Salette,” a red wine that the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition described as being “in a class of its own.”
The family also operates nearby Blue Victorian Vineyards, providing a unique setting for a wine-tasting expedition, amidst the vineyards.
Wooden Valley Winery is celebrating its 75th year, and the tasting room offers a range of varietal wines to sample, along with gourmet food and wine accessories. The vine-covered picnic area is popular with visitors during the warm seasons.
For three generations, the Lanza family has worked the vineyards of Wooden Valley Winery to bring forward wines that showcase the varied microclimates of Suisun Valley. The winery’s unusual tasting bar is crafted from very large, old redwood casks – an attraction in itself.
The Suisun Valley Wine Cooperative offers an enjoyable, relaxed wine-tasting experience, with wines poured by winemakers and growers from five distinct, family-owned wineries: Blacksmith Cellars, King Andrews Vineyards, Mangels Vineyards, Sunset Cellars and Winterhawk.
A great time to visit the Suisun Valley is during the annual Art on the Vine festival, which this year will be held June 5-6. In addition to the art, there will be food, wine tasting and live music.
On the 4th of July, Wooden Valley Winery will host an event dubbed Reds, Whites and Blues, offering plenty of wine, barrel samples, food and music.
The driving time from either San Francisco or Sacramento to the Suisun Valley is approximately 45 minutes, and there are dozens of nearby hotels and motels along I-80. Exit onto Suisun Valley Road or Abernathy Road, and this under-the-radar wine region will be mere minutes away.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION…
Ledgewood Creek Winery
4589 Abernathy Rd.
Open Daily 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Blue Victorian Vineyards
5071 Suisun Valley Rd.
Open Daily, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Vezer Family Vineyard
2522 Mankas Corner Rd., Suite V
Open Daily, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Wooden Valley Winery
4756 Suisun Valley Rd.
Open Weekends, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Suisun Valley Wine Cooperative
4495 Suisun Valley Rd.
12 noon-5 p.m., or By Appointment
Art on the Vine Festival