FAIRFIELD — Napa Valley’s Caymus Vineyards has targeted a 178-acre site along Cordelia Road south of Fairfield for what would be Suisun Valley’s biggest winery.
The proposed winery and distillery is to have the capacity to produce 5 million gallons of wine a year and 500,000 gallons of spirits. It is to offer tours, retails sales and tasting and have space for promotional events.
This would be the only Suisun Valley winery on the southern side of Interstate 80. The location at 2658 Cordelia Road is flush against the Suisun Valley appellation southern boundary, just inside of it.
Solano County is taking comments on the environmental documents through July 26. The Planning Commission is to consider the proposed winery Aug. 1.
Officials with Caymus Vineyards did not return phone calls Wednesday.
Ron Lanza and his family run Wooden Valley Winery several miles to the west in Suisun Valley. He and other grape growers for years have been trying to promote Suisun Valley as a wine-tasting destination.
Lanza said Caymus has a big name and a great reputation.
“It will be good,” Lanza said. “It’s going to get press. This type of facility is going to get a lot of press, a lot of talk about Suisun Valley. Our biggest issue in Suisun Valley is awareness.”
Roger King of the Suisun Valley Vintners and Growers Association expects more Napa Valley wineries to come to the area at some point. Like Caymus, they might seek to have facilities both in the Napa Valley and in Suisun Valley.
“Napa Valley has functionally gotten close to the point to where it can’t expand, won’t expand and doesn’t want to expand,” King said.
He noted that the Cordelia Road location will allow Caymus to take advantage of trains and roads for transportation. The Port of Oakland is easy to reach, as is air travel. Suisun Valley’s location is an ace-in-the-hole in an industry where everything that must be moved is big, from glass to crates to bottled wine, he said.
The Caymus project would be a huge uptick to the Solano County wine economy, King said.
Victoria Erickson and her husband Ray run the Erickson Ranch produce stand on Cordelia Road. Their business is close to the Caymus property.
She expressed hope that, if the Caymus plans comes to fruition, people who visit the winery will also stop by Erickson Ranch.
“It will be great for our side of the freeway,” Erickson said. “It will be nice to have a winery over here, another attraction.”
Caymus proposes to build its winery in three phases, according to application papers filed with the county. The first phase to be built in 2014 includes a 132,000-square-foot building housing bottling facilities, bottling tanks, cased good storage and barrel storage.
A second phase to be built in 2015 and 2016 includes a 120,000-square-foot addition to the 132,000-square-foot building. The final phase to be built by 2018 includes a hospitality building and events courtyard.
The project will allow Caymus to expand production capacity, centralize packaging and wine storage and take advantage of truck and rail transportation. It will provide access to grapes grown in Solano County and other California counties, the application papers said.
Bulk juice and wine are to be transported along Cordelia and Chadborne roads in 5,000-gallon tank trucks. Tours, tasting and retail sales are to be daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., with the number of visitors reaching 250 a day at a peak, the papers said.
The ability to produce 5 million gallons of wine annually more than qualifies the proposed Caymus project as a “large winery” under Solano County’s definition. The threshold is 100,000 gallons annually.
King has heard that Caymus also plans to plant vines at the Cordelia Road site.
“Where they’re at right now is arguably the pinot country in the valley,” King said. “It’s down in the coolest part of the valley. I’m sure they will be looking at pinot. You can grow a lot of whites down there.”
Caymus Vineyards in Napa Valley is located on 73 acres in Rutherford. It has been owned since the 1940s by the Wagner family, who also founded it.
Please go to the Solano County website at www.co.solano.ca.us/depts/rm/documents/eir/default.asp to view the Caymus environmental documents.
The Caymus project, if it goes forward, would be the second large project to come to this area of Cordelia Road over the past year. Sacramento-based developer Buzz Oates bought adjacent land in 2012 within Fairfield city limits and is building two warehouses.
Grading is already underway for the Buzz Oates project.
Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.