Clear skies, lush landscapes, laughter and flowing wine.
Such was the long-awaited return of Passport Sunday.
The event, organized by the Suisun Valley Vintners and Growers Association, included nine venues, 12 wineries, live music, food trucks and a chance to explore the often overlooked Suisun Valley.
Friends and families turned out in droves to soak up the sun and sip a variety of local wines.
At Suisun Creek Winery, large black and white striped umbrellas fluttered in the breeze as attendees tucked into charcuterie boards and sampled a selection of wines, including a refreshing Verdelho whose fruitiness seemed fresh from the orchards.
At Mangels Vineyards, a performer sang on the terrace as visitors clustered on chairs and benches, sipping glasses of, say, strawberry-infused Malbec while catching up on each other’s lives. Meanwhile, many have made their way to the table displaying wonderful preserves from the Erickson Ranch, thinking of gifts for themselves and, perhaps, Mother’s Day.
The gathering was lively at Suisun Valley Co-Op, with crowds mingling at the bar and outdoor lounges. The installments were numerous, the greetings friendly.
Grabbing their cups, friends Frances Brooks and Lauren Bailey of Vallejo reminisced about past Passport Sundays.
“We met six years ago at this event,” Bailey pointed out. So when they heard that Passport was starting up again, the friends planned to go.
“It’s so much fun,” Brooks shared. “And it’s a wonderful day today. It’s just a beautiful day, a big event.
Other crowds gathered at Wooden Valley Winery, trying the new Rosetta, a dry wine, which was specially poured that day. Not yet available to the public, the wine was nevertheless on hand for passports to try.
A band performed rousing classics on a nearby stage as a Hawaiian-inspired food truck offered island-style dishes such as Spam musubi, sliders and tater tots topped with pork and kalua cheese.
Near the stage, Lerato Childs from Suisun City, Nicole Obasuyi from Sacramento and Marie Garie from Suisun City chatted and laughed before finally venturing out to dance.
Garie, wearing a long yellow dress and eager to dance, shared some important information.
“I just turned 63,” she said, pointing to the stage and wishing for faster beats. “I have to drop it like it’s hot!”
In the end, she did, drawing a crowd as she rocked the dance floor.
At Tenbrink Vineyards and Tolenas Winery, attendees wandered the sprawling property and sampled dishes from Eat Food Familia. Lots of tight glasses of a crisp and flavorful Assyrtiko, a white Greek grape variety native to the island of Santorini in Greece. Or a Tolenas favourite, Eclipse, a light and refreshing pinot noir.
BackRoad Vines at the 360 Village drew crowds, as did the soft opening of Caymus-Suisun Winery across the street.
The latter, slated for a grand opening in May, featured towering palm trees, glass walls and gorgeous views.
Many ended the day at the Suisun Valley gas station, where they danced around a large stage and moved from table to table hugging friends old and new.
The Jelly Belly Visitor Center also participated, offering a special chocolate and wine experience.