Monday, April 28, 2008

Suisun Valley Offers Ideal Climate For Winery Owner

Suisun Valley Offers Ideal Climate For Winery Owner
By Barry Eberling | DAILY REPUBLIC | April 26, 2008

Don Johnson, a long time vineyard owner and grape grower in the Suisun Valley, has recently opened Winterhawk Winery on Abernathy Road near Fairfield. Johnson believes that Suisun Valley's climate and location make it idea for creating fine wines. Photo by Chris Jordan

FAIRFIELD - Don Johnson pointed to a 5-foot-tall wall map of California to demonstrate why his new Winterhawk winery in Suisun Valley is well-situated to grow fine wine grapes.

He showed how ocean-influenced winds typically blow through the Carquinez Strait on summer afternoons, bringing cool evenings and nights to the area after warm days. That's different than most of the Central Valley, which is out of reach of those ocean breezes.

'The fluctuations in temperatures make Chardonnay taste like Chardonnay, not like Thompson's seedless,' Johnson said.

Johnson opened the Winterhawk winery on 110 acres near Abernathy Road this year. The winery grows such grapes as merlot, Chardonnay and pinot noir, which thrive with the cool nights.

Cooler weather grapes don't provide enough wine varieties to support an on-site tasting room. Instead, Johnson sells wine at the recently opened Suisun Valley Wine Cooperative at 4495 Suisun Valley Road and on his Web site, where he has a wine club.

He also offers monthly wine education seminars through his wine club. Participants learn such things as what type of local wines match up with locally grown produce and how stylistic decisions make wines taste differently.

See the complete story at the Daily Republic Online.

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