History

Suisun Valley’s history dates back to the Southern Patwin Indians, who lived between Suisun, Vacaville, and Putah Creek. By the 1800s, Spanish and European invaders forced these Native Americans into small tribal units.

In 1823, Suisun Valley was considered by Padre Jose Altimira as the next Spanish Mission of California, to follow the one in San Rafael. Altimira decided that this land couldn’t support a large population, and founded Mission San Francisco Solano in Sonoma.

Suisunes Chief Sem Yeto was baptized by missionaries as “Solano.” At that time, Padre Francis Solano was a missionary to the Peruvian Indians. In 1850, when Chief Solano died, he was buried in Suisun Valley. On January 4, 1850, the California constitutional committee recommended the formation of 18 counties. The originally named “Benicia County,” was later renamed Solano County, to honor Chief Solano of the Suisunes.

Agricultural History
In 1848, Daniel Berry became the first listed American settler in Suisun Valley. He arrived with five other family members. In the fall of 1850, Spanish, Mexican, and American settlers forced the Suisunes out of their valley. The greater part of the tribe migrated into Napa County.

Suisun Valley was soon recognized for its superior farming. Wheat became a crop worth growing; then, fruit trees were planted. Families such as the Pierces, Hatches, and Chadbournes planted apricot, pear, cherry, peach, and nut orchards.

Grape Growing History
In 1858, Austrian native John Votypke started to grow grapes in Green Valley. His vineyard was located at the foot of Twin Sisters, and by 1863 he began to make wine. Brothers Henry and Claus Schultz planted a vineyard in the same rich valley, and started C. Schultz & Co. The winery operated for about 20 years.

By 1866, Louis Mangels arrived in New York City from Germany. He immediately left for the West Coast, arriving on June 22, 1866. During the next 10 years, he saved money to buy 240 acres in Suisun Valley. Louis built his winery in 1893, and called it Solano Winery. He planted more vineyards, and his winery grew to produce 500,000 gallons of wine a year by 1906. When Prohibition hit the US, Mangles’ winery was one of eight in the U.S. allowed to legally produce wine.

Suisun Valley has continuously grown grapes since 1858, just as the small valley continues to support people who have a passion for farming produce. This has kept Suisun Valley the rustic treasure that it remains.

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Valley Aerial
iconsWine

Wineries and farm stands are clustered together along beautiful country roads and easy to navigate.