In Solano County, the glass is more than halfway full, and that continued optimism will carry into 2014, according to Solano Economic Development Corp. President Sandy Person.
"We're Team Solano," she said Thursday at the annual meeting of the Solano EDC. "Working together, we make the magic. ... I feel the energy and it's exciting."
She highlighted several successes in each city and the county during 2013.
Vacaville saw growth in the biotech industries at Genentech and Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc., a company of Johnson & Johnson. Fundraising for the Doolittle Center/Jimmy Doolittle Air and Space Museum has begun, and the Nut Tree will continue to see businesses and restaurants open this year.
Also, ICON Aircraft still has Vacaville on its radar as a place to relocate its business. ICON is known for its prototype A5, a two-seater, gas-powered recreational plane that can take off and land on water, turf or runways. It costs upward of $180,000 and has a waiting list of buyers. The business is considering making Vacaville a destination for A5 and other aircraft enthusiasts, as flying lessons could be held at a facility yet to be built near the Nut Tree Airport. An estimated 500 jobs would be created.
The highlights in Dixon, according to Person, include the groundbreaking on the West B Street undercrossing at the railroad tracks for pedestrians and bicycles, and the completion of Heritage Commons, a 60-unit, affordable senior housing complex.
Solano County shared in victories too. It will open the Stanton Correctional Facility this summer and it's producing a study on how to diversify Solano County's economy in areas other than Travis Air Force Base. At the same time, the county is looking at ways to update land-use plans to protect operations at Travis.
Additionally, the entire county stands to benefit from Caymus Vineyards setting up shop on the old Hopkins Ranch on Cordelia Road.
Chuck Wagner, a Rutherford resident and Caymus's owner, was Thursday's keynote speaker. He said he looks forward to expanding the family's Napa County business into Solano County.
The Wagner family has ties to Solano, he added. His great-great-great-grandfather homesteaded in Elmira in 1861, and the winery already uses some grapes grown in Solano County. He said he plans to create a label unique to the county.
Solano County's climate is great, as is its rich soil and plentiful water, he said.
"You're very lucky here to have sufficient water," Wagner said. "It's a gorgeous area and a gorgeous area for grapes."
Caymus's move comes after a legal settlement with Napa County for exceeding the permitted production capacity at the company's Rutherford winery. In an effort to comply with Napa regulations, the Wagners looked to Solano for a place to bottle and ship.
He said Napa is known for its cabernet sauvignon and Sonoma County is known for a variety of other wines, and what Solano County will be known for remains to be seen.
"There is a verve that I want to be associated with here," he said.