September 2010 Archives

Interview with Frank Vezer

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by Sipping Savant

Vezer Family Vineyards ~ Suisun Valley, CA

What attracted you to Suisun Valley?
vezerPersonality1.jpgMy first six years of life were in a mining town nestled in the Cassiar Mountain range near the westernmost Yukon border of Canada. At age six my family moved to a ranch in central British Columbia. The little town was called Fraser Lake and it is in the Omineca Valley. Omineca means 'slow moving water'. The Ominieca Valley is surrounded by the Fraser Mountains. Vezer Family summers were spent traveling to the Family's birthplace of Pecs, Hungary located in the Mecsek Mountains. My childhood memories of beautiful sheltered valleys and the scenes from the Sun's shadows on the hillsides enveloping the picturesque Valleys were re-ignited when I first visited the Suisun Valley some 22 years ago. Cradled on the west by the Vaca Mountains and at the north by the Twin Sisters Summit, Suisun Valley embodied all those memories. There was no doubt that Suisun Valley Is where my wife Liz and I should raise our children! Pronounced "Sue-soon" and meaning West Wind to the original Wappo Indian settlers.

vezerPersonality2.jpgThough not widely known, Suisun Valley is one of the older AVAs (American Viticultural Areas) in North America and is approaching its 29th birthday. Suisun Valley boasted the largest winery pre-prohibition era in North America. Suisun Valley was also a favorite getaway of General Mariano Vallejo, closest confidants, and especially his daughter and her husband. The Blue Victorian Mansion was part of a land grant gift some 170 years by Spanish King Ferdinand VII for helping him settle the area. The Suisun Valley Village of Mankas Corners, originally Manka's Corner was established by the mining family Manka in 1846. The Mankas Corner had a general store with a Pony Express office and accommodations for weary delivery riders and other travelers. Today, Mankas Corner still has a 'general store', Mankas Café, Barista Café & Deli, Mankas Corner Vezer Family Winery and neighboring antique store, salon and more. Vezer Family and Staff are happy to share hospitality, time and local lore with visitors. The winery building is on the National Historic Registry and has a commemorative plaque about the Pony Express as you enter the Tasting Room, beautiful gardens and special event area for Concerts or Weddings.

History & Hospitality High Notes: Silverado Vineyards

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silveradovineyards.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

Silverado Vineyards is akin to a fine racehorse that's been groomed for performance since arriving in this world:  Not only is the precedent-setting winery still turning heads after more than 25 years on the Napa wine scene, it's staying ahead of the pack with a host of hospitality and sustainability initiatives that honor both its storied past and promising future.

Heritage High Marks
In "The Silverado Squatters" (1880), famed Scottish scribe Robert Louis Stevenson notes that "the beginning of vine planting is like the beginning of mining for precious metals: the winegrower also 'prospects,'" an apt observation given the valley's storied past as a mining community.  As Wine Country readers well know, vinous pursuits - rather than mining - are the main event today in Napa, a detail that's abundantly clear at Silverado Vineyards' beautifully articulated hilltop winery and hospitality center.

William Hill Estate Winery

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grapes.jpgNAPA, CA - Come rain or shine, William Hill Estate Winery is one of the most gorgeous properties to visit in Napa Valley. The winery is surrounded by 140-acres of their Estate owned vineyards in the rolling hills of the Silverado Bench and the views are breath-taking all year round. Whether you arrive at the end of summer with grapes ripe and ready to harvest, in fall with the leaves a sea of burnt-orange on the vine or later in the year when you can appreciate the stark beauty of their winter dormancy, each season offers you a new perspective on Napa Valley.

Napa Itinerary: Napa Adjacent

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domainetat.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

When staying in Napa, consider visiting these nearby wineries that are easily accessible to day-trippers.  Whether located within city limits or in the hills and winding canyons just further afield, they make great options for those looking to remain down-valley during their Wine Country stay.  

Napa Itinerary: Silverado Trail South

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blackstallion.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

When staying in Napa proper - an excellent jumping-off point for exploring the valley, not to mention a city booming with activity thanks to a host of recent improvements - it's easy to explore nearby wineries on the Silverado Trail.   Four of our fav Trail producers located just outside the city are detailed below - so you can quickly plan your trip and make the most of your Wine Country time.  

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