Despite being approved as an American Viticultural Area more than 20 years ago, and having a history of growing grapes for more than 150 years, the Suisun Valley – located in Western Solano County - has yet to acquire the notoriety of neighboring wine producing regions such as the Napa Valley. However, with the increased appellation awareness amongst savvy wine consumers, and an energetic spirit amongst a new breed of Suisun Valley wineries that is likely to change.
Wineries such as Olabisi, are concentrating their efforts on Rhone varietals, amongst other grapes, adept at growing in the warm Mediterranean like conditions of the valley. This new expertise within the valley can in large part be credited to extensive research into proper trellising and clonal selections as well as the spirit of the growers within the AVA.
In terms of terroir, the Suisun Valley is generally a warm climate (climatic zone 3), but benefits a little from the cooling effects of moist ocean breezes that enter the valley via Suisun bay. These winds cool the vineyards throughout the growing season and help minimize the risk of frost. The effects are particularly strong in the southern extreme where vineyards would be more directly exposed to Suisun Bay. Not surprisingly, most vineyards are planted in the warmer, northern half of the valley.
More than 20 grape varietals are grown in the Suisun Valley, but only time will determine which will become this region’s signature grape.
In the southern Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina and Georgia vineyards are small and few, yet the establishment of the Upper Hiwassee Highlands could bring much more.
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Madame Merlot, you’re a big gal, soft and smoky; how we love your full, curvaceous figure. But you are