Solano County has been in California viticulture dating back to the 1800’s. Solano County was named for the fabled Chief Solano (Francisco Solano) of the Suisunes tribe of the Patwin people.
Mangels Winery in the late 1800’s, was one of the largest wineries in the United States, growing typical grapes of the period in head pruned vineyards. Carignane was highly popular along with Zinfandel in that time period.
In the early periods of the American AVA system development, Suisun Valley AVA and Green Valley AVA became the first and only official AVA designations in Solano County, subsequently joined to create the larger North Coast AVA.
Currently Solano County has 22 wineries, of which 13 have vineyards and 10 sell grapes, according to WinesVinesDATA. The largest, Green Valley Cellars in Fairfield, Calif., produces 22,000 cases per year; only four others produce 5,000 or more cases.
Suisun Valley lies within the ultra-premium growing area known as the California North Coast, which includes Napa, Sonoma, and Mendocino counties. The Valley gained official recognition as an American Viticulture Area in 1982.
Today, just about every variety of wine-grape is being grown here. More importantly, Suisun Valley wineries are earning a reputation of their own; growing, producing, and selling premium, award-winning wines.
Located southeast of the Napa Valley AVA, Green Valley is about 1 mile (1.6 km) wide and 4 miles (6.4 km) long. The valley is close to San Pablo Bay and thus has a maritime climate. Most of the vineyards are planted on the valley floor and benefit from moist, cooling winds in the summer afternoons.
THE BEST WINERIES IN SOLANO COUNTY
Wooden Valley Winery
Offer a complete cellar of Wooden Valley Wines-all grown and bottled on the estate by the family. These include Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, White Gamay, Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel, Miscela, Vino Bianco, Vino Rosso and Zinfandel Port. The Lanza family wines are Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon. Guests are always welcome to their winery and tasting room to sample wines.
Mangels Vineyards grow varieties that are well-suited to the specific sites, where their vineyards are located in Suisun Valley.
Their first priority is to produce wines that express the true character of each grapevine, as it grows in Suisun Valley. They want the fruit to shine and any winemaking techniques (oak versus stainless, malolacatic fermentation, etc) to be a subtle background to enhance the expression of the fruit and the terroir. Another goal is to create wines that are ready to drink now and pleasing to the consumer.
Purple Pearl Vineyard
Purple Pearl Vineyards is a small family owned winery in Dixon, CA. It Cultivates 32 acres of vineyards and, according to co-owner Brenda Inman, sells all but 30% of the grapes.
Rutherford Ranch Winery
Rutherford Ranch is located in Napa Valley’s Rutherford District – one of the region’s most renowned sub-appellations and long considered the heart of the valley. Nestled on the site of the original Round Hill Winery, which was started in the 1970’s by Ernie and Virginia Van Asperen.
Other well-known wineries in Solano County include:
- Trinitas Cellars
- Hendry Vineyard and Winery
- Berryessa Gap Vineyards
- Captain Vineyards