Posts tagged with "wineries"

FAIRFIELD, CALIFORNIA

✏️By Alexandria Baiz & Vaughn Lowery

Fairfield, California the San Francisco Bay city famous for its fruit and local wineries that provide grapes to the Napa and other surrounding vineyards.

Welcome reception at the glorious Jelly Belly Candy Company, includes a self guided factory tour by the  staff. The marvelous Company is a family-owned business based in Fairfield with another factory in North Chicago. The Goelitz family started a confectionery business in Illinois in 1869, than a Candy Business in 1924 in California. Later the Candy Company would  expand a product line to include jelly beans. In 1965, the Mini Jelly Bean was developed. This was a small bean with a center of natural flavoring, different from traditional jelly beans in which only the outer shell was flavored. The company would become the infamous Jelly Belly Candy Company, with more than 50 varieties of flavors. Flavors traditional as cherry, exotic as buttered popcorn, and even inspired alcoholic drink flavors like blackberry brandy. Ronald Reagan while governor of California would quit smoking and turn to jelly beans as a substitute. The company also makes 100 different confections like gummies, candy corn, and chocolates. The tour is fun for the kids, but just as fun for the adults. This tour takes you through the process of making jelly beans, some stages include a video monitor explanation, while wearing a mandatory Jelly Belly paper hat. And, yes you get a free pack of Jelly Belly Beans at the end. There is also a  shop where you can purchase and a Chocolate Shoppe with a fudge bar available for tastings. The ground floor cafeteria is great for lunch with Jelly Bean shaped pizzas being a favorite. For adults, upstairs is a wine tasting room with six different Suisan or green Valley Wines to match the six different chocolates made by the Chocolate Shoppe.

Mankas Steakhouse, a full American steakhouse menu with a local California flavor was our dine for the night. Chef Peter at Mankas uses favorite Suisun Valley products. The local product in Wooden Valley Winery was our first visit the next day at 7am for a visit to watch wine harvest in process. The Suisun Valley and Solano Country American Viticultural Area(AVA) -which is a wine-grape growing region-includes more than 50 sub-appellations of the best known wines region. The Suisun Valley about 8 miles long and 3 miles wide, between the Blue Ridge of the Vaca Mountains on the east. One fifth of the valley is planted as a vineyard with more than 20 varieties of grapes, established in 1982. The Green Valley just west of Suisun Valley is 4 miles long and a mile wide. Also called the Solano County/ Green Valley, AVA was established in 1983.

For breakfast a visit to  Il Fiorello Olive Oil Company dedicated to growing and milling the “finest artisan olive oil” produced by owners Ann and Mark Sievers. Ann and her husband began with a harvest of 6 pounds of olives and 170 baby trees they planted in Green Valley. This turned  into more than 2000 trees in Green Valley and Suisun Valley. The Suisan groves have 12 single varietals from Italy, Spain, France, and Greece, with blends as well.  Il Fiorello offers in depth tours of their property, that concludes in an olive oil tasting and 13 balsamic vinegar reductions. Oil tastings are paired with seasonal bites of food including the classic Frantoio oil with steak.There are even cooking classes within the Fiorello’s Kitchen.  

A visit to the GV Cellars is just what we need for a glimpse into a simpler time. The tasting area on the second floor consist of a deck view of the vineyards and Vaca Mountains. The original property was an 80-acre fruit orchard which was replaced with grapes to produce wine under “Chateau de Leu”. In 2005, Bob Hager the current owner would acquire the winery and vineyards. Today, the Cellar grows within a 30-acre vineyard six distinct varietals:Sangiovese, Dolcetto, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, and Cabernet Franc. The Dolcetto and Cabernet Franc are a house favorite.

Greeted by the  owner and winemaker Sal Glavan at his Galvan Family Cellars to taste his wines. Sal Glavan has been making wine in California since the 1990’s including a time working for GV Cellars. Galvan usually has a  focus on crafting from the Green Valley and Solano County vineyards, but also ‘high end’ wines from the Napa County vineyards. Producing about 3,500 cases a year depending upon the grapes available wines are exceptional with the signature Bordeaux-style blends or Cabernet Sauvignon-base. The cellars also hold the tasting room for rock Wren Winery, owner Dennis De Domenico has produced Green Valley grape wines since 2005. He is known for making his Frenchs style Syrah “in the classic French style”.

The Suisun Valley Co-op is a perfect tasting room that is cozy  but not crowded. Blacksmith Cellars, King Andrews Vineyards, and Sunset Cellars distribute their wine here. Matt Smith the owner and winemaker of Blacksmith Cellars started in 2003, with his release of his 2001 Alexander valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Smith starting as a chemist working in the lab at Beaulieu Vineyards in 1996. From that point he would work at various winecellars making a variety of familiar Suisun Valley wines. King Andrews is owned by Roger who is also the winemaker and Carol (Andrews) King. Sunset Cellars was established by Doug and Katsuko Sparks in 1977. Their speciality includes making small batches of  high quality red wines. There are many interesting wines to try like the Blacksmith Rose and Sunset Suisun Valley Charbono Sunset.

The Pacific Flyway, where more than a billion of birds follow the 10,000 mile stretch from South America to the Arctic on their annual migration, makes a stop in Fairfield. Suisun Marsh is one one of the significant stopover points where the birds rest, feed, and restore their energy for continuing on. The Pacific Flyway Center is an educational and conservation initiative. With goals to educate public about the Flyaway and restoring wetlands to keep the flyaway viable.

A drive to the Grizzly Waters Kayak in Suisun City, where we meet the owner James Berg and get set for kayaking Suisun Marsh. Suisun Marsh is part of the Bay Area Water Trail where you can go on trails and see local and migrating birds.

With greetings from Jennivive Soriano the supervisor of brewery experiences we explore the Anheuser-Busch Fairfield brewery. Opened in 1976, the Fairfield Brewery is the ‘greenest’ of the company’s breweries, which derives a third of its power from solar and wind energy. Brewery tours include  an hour of the Anheuser-Busch story and how their beers are produced. We took the tour of the brewery that includes the Flights of Fairfield. Fairfield is home to one of the Budweiser plants a famous attraction. The brewery is home to the one of a kind Budweiser Clydesdale (Horse) race events, tickets available online.

The Heretic Brewery Company  known for their inner heretic beers that push the boundaries of beer flavors. Owners Liz and Jamil Zainasheff started as homebrewers and in 2012 would open the Heretic Brewing Company. With a variety of 18 different beers on their menu they also have a bar menu of burgers, sandwiches, and appetizers.

The Vezér is a Suisun Valley winery, owned by Frank and Liz Vezér. The Vezérs came to Fairfield  more than 20 years ago and purchased 30 acres for vineyards, which has now spread to 60 acres. Originally selling  their grapes to other wineries but in 2001 established their own label. The family vineyards produce estate wines like their flagship, La Salette a blend of Petite Sirah and Zinfandel. There are two tasting rooms one on Mankas Corner Road and the other on Suisun Valley Road.

A visit to the Cal-Yee Farm Shop whom specializes in dried fruits and nuts. Founder Yee chew Yong fled from China to work as a laborer in California. In 1908, he rented 20 acres of farmland on Clayton Road where his son would purchase the land and his son would start the family’s dried fruit business.

The Wooden Valley winery started in 1933 after prohibition by Salvador and Manuel Brea.In 1944,  Mario Lanza would partner with Manuel and eventually become the sole owner. Third generation of Lanzas, four brothers manage the Winery today. This winery is the oldest in the Suisun Valley with a large variety of red and white wines. The Lanza wines have the authenticity of traditional Italian family wines.

Dinner at Favela’s Fusion an upscale Mexican tequileria. The menu includes signature dishes representing the flavors of different regions in Mexico. The owner  Veronica Favela-Diaz’s parents immigrated from Mexico and she grew up in Northern California. She and her father opened three restaurants in the 90’s emphasizing  affordable quality Mexican food. After Veronica and Husband Edgar traveled all over Mexico learning about the different regions foods they came up with Favelas Fusion. This fusion offers a combination of traditional authentic Mexican cuisine. The Fusion applies a mix of Mexico to obtain one of a kind dishes that are beautifully displayed like the Shrimp Fajitas burrito with cilantro infused with rice and black beans in a tomato tortilla.

A trip to the Mangels Family Vineyards to meet owner Gary Mangels and winemaker Gina Oberti. Gary Mangels is a fourth generation of a  California farming and ranching family. His great grandfather bought 240 acres of land in 1876 and the family has grown grapes, made and sold wine, and raised livestock since. In 1943, surviving through prohibition the family sold the winery operation, but maintained the vineyards. Eventually the family would purchase Suisun Valley land and partner with Gina Richmond to found the Mangels Vineyards. Gina makes a variety of red and white wines including, Pinot Grigio and Syrah.

Backroad owners Jeff and Judy Anselmo greet us inside the tasting room in  the kitchen of the house. Their wines are relatively young and maturting. As they find their style the plans for construction of the multimillion dollar tasting room will be completed in 2019. Backroad will be a neighbor to The Wagner family of wines -owner of famous Caymus Winery- new tasting room on Suisun Valley Road.  It will open in late 2018 with hopes to specialize in ‘grand durif’ and become the trademark wine for Suisun Valley.

Dinner at Chez Soul in downtown Fairfield a Louisiana style restaurant. With every Southern comfort food you can think of from Gumbo to Southern Fried chicken. “Beneath the heart is soul. The soul needs food.”. The owner Cheryl Reed runs the restaurant with her family her brother is the manager and her daughter is the cook. Cheryl’s vision for Chez Soul is good food in a welcoming place that feels like home.

The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering Weekly Preview

70 Years Of The Iconic Porsche 365:

The name Porsche has become synonymous over the decades with high performance sports cars and iconic design. Seven decades ago in the small village of Gmünd, Austria, the first car to bear the Porsche name was born. The Porsche 356/1 Roadster was powered by a 1.1-liter air-cooled flat-four engine from Volkswagen. The engine’s power was increased to 35 horsepower for the 356 which enabled a top speed of 83 mph.

In the years that followed, numerous iterations of the 356 would evolve into icons. From the Speedster to the Continental, the rear-engine rear-wheel-drive 356 gained a reputation for lively handling, dynamic capability, and revolutionary style. This year at The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering more than 20 Porsche 356s will grace the lawn to celebrate 70 years of Ferry Porsche’s dream.

“I looked around and could not find quite the car I dreamed of. So I decided to build it myself.” – Ferry Porsche

Sir Jackie Stewart:

Sir Jackie Stewart will be attending The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering this year as a guest of Rolex. He won the Formula 1 Grand Prix de Monaco three times between 1966 and 1973. Nicknamed the “Flying Scot,” he is considered one of the greatest drivers ever to set foot in a Formula 1 car. Off the track, he became a passionate advocate of driver safety in motorsport.

“The Quail is very special. It’s intimate, it has style and the collection of cars is more diverse than even Pebble Beach,” said Stewart. “Every year I see cars that I have never seen before and in such a relaxed and spacious setting, you really are able to admire them up close alongside true motoring enthusiasts and specialists. Rolex’s involvement just adds to the event’s unique charm. Everybody wants to be here.”

Culinary Spotlight- Local Wine at The Quail:

In addition to the delicious culinary offerings at The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering several local wineries will be offering their vintages to attendees. Talbott Vineyards was established in 1982 when Robb Talbott planted his original Diamond T Estate vineyard in the Carmel Valley. Talbott Logan Pinot Noir and Talbott Logan Sleepy Hollow Chardonnay will both be available at The Quail. Cambiata Pinot Noir and Albarino, J. Lohr Arroyo Vista Chardonnay and Seven Oaks Cabernet, as well as offerings from Bernardus will be featured at The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering.

VISIT × MENDOCINO COUNTY

Mendocino County Open for Business: Get your Glass up Here

MENDOCINO LAKE COMPLEX WILDFIRE CONTAINED; ALL MAJOR HIGHWAYS & TOURISM 

FACILITIES OPEN; MUSHROOM SEASON SPROUTS UP NOVEMBER 3-12



Just in time for fall fungi season, Mendocino County Tourism Commission reports containment of the Mendocino Lake Complex wildfire which was located east of Highway 101 in Redwood and Potter Valleys. A vibrant wine region, these two of the county’s 10 AVAs are now in recovery following losses suffered as the result of an October 8, 2017 blaze which consumed 37,000+ acres. Given the incident’s remote location, Mendocino’s legendary 90 miles of Pacific coastline, Anderson Valley wine region and key tourism areas of Fort Bragg, Mendocino, Little River and Point Arena Lighthouse remain untouched.

Scenic coastal Highway 1 and Mendocino County’s “Inspiration Highway” 101 are 100 percent fully operational and all tourism hotels and attractions remain unaffected, including 450+ hotel properties and 90+ wine tasting venues. Key visitor sites including the cities of Ukiah and Willits as well as the nearby attractions of the City of 10,000 Buddhas, Ridgewood Ranch (home of Seabiscuit), the Skunk Train, Vichy and Orr Hot Springs and the ancient redwood forests of Montgomery Woods State Reserve remain untouched.   

According to Mendocino County Air Quality Management District, the regional Air Quality Index is rated “Good” – the highest ranking available. In addition, fresh offshore winds and seasonal weather have tamped down ash residue. www.co.mendocino.ca.us/aqmd/advisories.html#advisory.

November marks Mendocino County’s famed mushroom season, with the 19th Annual Mushroom, Wine & Beer Fest running through November 3-12, 2017. The Northern Californian region is a magnet for fungi foragers and enthusiasts who fervently track the annual crop of coveted candy cap, chanterelle and porcini mushrooms. Mendocino is home to some 3,000 mushroom varieties, 500 which are edible. www.visitmendocino.com/event/mushroom-wine-and-beer-festival; 866.466.3636

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