FAIRFIELD — Suisun Valley wines won praise Thursday, when the region celebrated the anniversary of its 1982 designation as an American viticultural area.
The Suisun Valley Ava Anniversary Celebration included wine-tasting at GV Cellars, Wooden Valley Winery and the Suisun Valley Wine Cooperative, where Vacaville resident Jerry Parrish, 67, sampled a Pinot Noir and spoke about the quality and cost of wines in the valley.
Wine in neighboring Napa County comes a higher price, he said.
“Once you cross that line, it costs a lot more,” Parrish said of the county line separating Solano and Napa.
“We used to go to Napa,” he said. “We found the wines here compare.”
Kat Sparks, who with her husband Doug started the Suisun Valley cooperative in 2007, said part of this area’s appeal is that “it’s not Napanized.” Suisun Valley is spared the snobbery and price spikes that can come with the neighboring wine region, she said.
Fairfield resident Anna Jensen, 44, visiting GV Cellars, said shopping malls are a common destination the day after Christmas. Standing amid acres of open space and rows of wine grapes, she said, “This is so much better.”
Michael and Michele Viri of Fairfield said the winery along Mason Road serves as an oasis.
“It’s like you drive into a different world,” Michael Viri said. “It’s kind of like our hidden gem.”
Winemaker Salvador Galvan at GV Cellars said the anniversary celebrated Thursday allows the valley to showcase the area that’s becoming more of a destination. A New York Times story a few months ago about the region helped, he added. People from Colorado and Hawaii who were in Napa were among visitors deciding to add Suisun Valley to their trip after reading the newspaper, he said.
The anniversary celebrated Thursday in the valley follows a federal agency more than three decades approving the viticultural area here, allowing it to be used as the origin on wine labels and advertisements.
Social media, said Pat Mendez, director of wine sales and events for the Suisun Valley Wine Cooperative and Winterhawk Winery, is the way a lot of people now learn about wines. “Fortunately, we have some good things,” she said of Internet messages about the region’s wine.
Vacaville resident Tim Tigue, 47, who works in Calistoga, said Napa area wineries don’t look down on other Northern California wine growing regions.
“We don’t really see the snobbery,” he said. “The snobbery is more from France.”
Winemakers in Napa and elsewhere take pride in their wines, Tigue added.
Vacaville resident Parrish said the wine someone enjoys is a good wine regardless of price or vintage.
“If you like Boone’s Farm 2 o’clock yesterday,” he advised, “drink it.”
Reach Ryan McCarthy at 427-6935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.