The little winery that could

Long-time readers may remember that I am a partner in Sunset Cellars, a boutique winery that literally began in a garage (in the Sunset District of San Francisco). Ten years after we bought our first commercial fruit, we are finally able to open a wine tasting room, and the news has been noticed in the wine industry media (more on that below).

The location of our new establishment is the comparatively unknown-yet-accessible Suisun Valley [pronounce it "sue soon"] in Solano County, California, roughly 25 miles east of Berkeley. We are very much at home there. A growing share of our production is coming from Suisun Valley, and our friend Roger King is a leading grower of grapes there.

The Suisun Valley American Viticultural Area (AVA) produces extremely high quality grapes, but most of the harvest formerly was blended into wines (up to 25% of the total) labeled as coming from elsewhere (including much blended into Napa Valley labels). Napa wineries have bought up some Suisun vineyards in the past decade.

But there is a growing local winemaking presence, producing wines from Suisun grapes, wines proudly sold with Suisun Valley on the label. Sunset Cellars and a handful of other wineries have won some
major awards for Suisun Valley wines and we're still building momentum.

Sunset Cellars is really too small an operation to bear the overhead of a decent tasting room, so my partners organized a cooperative venture to open and staff a joint tasting room, featuring the wines of five small Suisun Valley wineries:  Sunset Cellars, Twilight Ridge, King Andrews Vineyards, Shale Peak Vineyards and Winterhawk.

Dozens of permits are necessary to legally pour and sell wine. We have finally received our last permit, and our wine tasting room will open next week. I'll write about it some more at that time, I am sure. But in the meantime, featured the opening of our tasting room on its website today. You can read the article here. There's a nice picture of one of the vineyards in Suisun Valley.

Here is a map. Note that we are convenient to two major freeways, I-80 and I-680