Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Suisun Valley Hosts Grape Growers Association

Suisun Valley Hosts Grape Growers Association
By Nathan Halverson

FAIRFIELD - As a testament to Suisun Valley's growing reputation in the wine community, the North Coast Grape Growers Association board of directors meeting will be held at the Vintage Caffe in Rockville today.

Roger King, president of the association, said holding the meeting here helps establish the area in the mind of other members.

"This is part of making Suisun Valley more viable in the North Coast (American viticulture area), where for a while it had fallen off," King said. "It's all about sustaining agriculture through profitable business."

This will be the first time Suisun Valley hosts the board of directors, who have been increasingly holding their meetings around Northern California.

Separately, the Suisun association applied to have the valley recognized as a unique American viticultural area, which is granted by the U.S. Tax and Trade Bureau.

Having Suisun Valley named as a viticultural area will allow wineries located there - currently two exist - to better market their wines, according to King. If their application is approved, the Suisun Valley will be considered an appellation - an exclusive region. Napa Valley and Northern Sonoma are registered appellations.
To become recognized as an American viticultural area according to the association, a petitioner must provide three things:

- Evidence that the proposed viticultural area is locally or nationally known.

- Historical or current evidence that the boundaries of the viticultural area petition are as specified in the petition.

- Evidence relating to the geographical characteristics - climate, soil, elevation, physical features, etc. - which distinguish the viticultural features of the proposed area from surrounding areas.

"The appellation system has become a big part of the wine branding system," King said. "The whole point is to better strengthen the awareness level of viticulture here in Suisun Valley."

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