While Napa and Sonoma bask in California wine-country publicity, Solano County’s “Rustic Wine Country,” aka Suisun Valley, deserves a place on your dog-friendly bucket list, too. The “hidden” valley is just off Interstate 80 near the dog-friendly city of Vacaville (40 miles from Sacramento, 33 from Davis, 52 from San Francisco), which you’ve likely zoomed past many times without a thought of getting off the highway and exploring.
Do so, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised, and then some. This isn’t a new wine-growing region; it’s oldest vineyards date to the 1880s. In the past couple of decades, though, there’s been a surge, with wineries and tasting rooms popping up all over the landscape.
If you’re into just cruising around and seeing what you can see without a lot of scheduling or appointments, check out pet-welcoming wineries including Backroad Vines, Mangels Vineyards, Wooden Valley Winery and the Suisun Valley Filling Station and Visitor Center. (The latter is a vintage gas station where you can stock up on info and taste wines from regional winemakers, as well as local craft beer.)
Worried about COVID-19 protocols? Even as mask mandates fade away, you can be assured of being looked after. At Wooden Valley, for example, tastings take place on the patio or picnic area distanced from other groups. While no food is served on site, you’re welcome to bring your own picnic or snacks for yourself and your four-legged companion. (Check for the latest protocols regarding face coverings for staff and guests).