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Seven Artisans

Visitors try the wines at Seven Artisans Winery.

Bob Ecker

Located just “over the hill” to the east from Napa Valley, Suisun Valley has long been known as a purveyor of wine grapes sold to many well-known Napa wineries. Little by little this Solano County AVA, around since 1982, has seen wineries taking root and attracting acclaim.

This Sunday, an event called “Passport Sunday” opens up all the local wineries, even those usually not open to the public. Each winery offers foods paired by a local chef or restaurant, such as Seven Artisans with Rockville Corners Restaurant or the Suisun Valley Cooperative with B & J BBQ.

“Passport” holders can visit all the wineries and enjoy all the food, music and wines. Passport tickets are $40 and can be purchased at Passport2015.brownpapertickets.com. (Designated driver tickets are available for $20 and include all food.)

Participating wineries include Backroad Vines, GV Cellars, Mangels Vineyards, Rock Creek Vineyard, Seven Artisans Winery, Suisun Valley Cooperative (containing King Andrews Vineyards, Blacksmith Wine and Sunset Cellars), Tenbrink Winery and Wooden Valley Winery.

Ron Lanza, vice president at Wooden Valley Winery, said, “I think Passport Sunday is a great Suisun Valley event. It allows us to open our doors to visitors we may have not seen before, therefore creating buzz about Suisun Valley and all it has to offer.”

Visitors to this area will discover low-key wineries, friendly folks and no hype. Plus some excellent wines. Sauvignon blanc and petite sirah in particular do well in Suisun Valley.

Lanza from Wooden Valley said, “Suisun Valley is fast becoming known for petite sirah. It grows and flourishes in this valley’s climate and soil combination, making a wonderful bold wine with soft tannins and a good fruit profile.”

Jeffrey Miller, winemaker and owner of Seven Artisans Winery on Abernathy Road, said, “Growers and winemakers have figured out what works best here. Petite sirah is a real winner.”

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Over the years, Solano County has encouraged winery development and made things more attractive to the industry. Roger King, the owner of King Andrews Vineyards, said he is encouraged by developments in the last few years. “If I’m a young winemaker and have aspirations, a place like Suisun Valley is an opportunity. There is nothing like it elsewhere.”

Lanza agrees. “Because of expansion restrictions in Napa, we’re seeing wineries take interest in Suisun Valley as they look to expand their businesses. This will have a major impact on Suisun Valley and Wooden Valley.”

“Suisun Valley is the antithesis of edifice,” said Roger King.

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