It’s an amazing thing to watch an AVA come alive. When I arrived at a meeting of wine grape growers in Suisun Valley about five years ago, the general consensus was that it was time for Suisun Valley wine grape growers to step into the spotlight.

They were living and working in a forgotten appellation, placed on the southeastern quadrant of the North Coast AVA, in the shadow of their neighboring Napa cousin…

I told the wine grape growers that they were going to make it through their wines, even though I was hired to get their grapes sold. I knew that this may not be the path they were looking for, but I knew/know what’s going to spark a fellow writer’s imagination. As much as we love the farmers who grow the grapes, wine writers want to write about the end product… Wine. Not so much the fertilizer and tractors, and which wires are being purchased to be strung on what trellising system.

Time was on my side, and so were the guys of Suisun Valley. Month after month we’ve met, taken copious notes, and told an amazing story of life in Suisun Valley through the eyes of grape growers who have all been bitten by the wine bug.

The Suisun Valley Grape Growers have grown to now have a Vintners Committee, which recently held a passport Sunday, their first, and surely not their last. If they weren’t pouring, and most of them were, they were out winery hopping. One visitor from Vacaville said to Jose and me, “This is so great! We have wineries in our back yard, and we don’t have to go over the hill.”

This is how it all happens. A stone is thrown into a still pond, and the rings naturally flow outward. There’s still plenty of growth ahead for these ambitious farmers, and it’s such an amazing thing to be watching. I know Margrit Mondavi can tell the same tales of when Robert would drive his car up and down Route 129/28, slowing down to a snail’s pace in front of his winery, inching into his driveway, and people simply following him out of sheer curiosity.

Images of food, art, and wine in Suisun Valley on a Sunday…