Capay Valley Vineyards continues to produce quality wine

Growing vines was not the original plan of longtime Capay Valley residents Tom Frederick and Pam Welch when they decided to purchase their neighbor’s property.

According to Welch, while the couple was enjoying the wine, it didn’t even occur to them to plant grapes at first because they were doing something else. It was only when it was suggested that wine grapes would grow well in the area that Welch and Frederick decided to go into the wine business.

The Cellar – located at 13757 Hwy. 16 just around the corner from Cache Creek Casino Resort in Brooks – was established in 1998. At first the vineyard began shipping its grapes to other wineries before developing its own facility, which was completed in 2010. Now , everything is done completely on site.

“Everything we do now here is what they call the estate, which means the grapes never leave,” Welch explained. “We grow them, we make the wine, everything happens here before we sell it. We take care of everything here. »

In the early 2000s, Capay Valley Vineyards began working to federally declare the valley a U.S. viticultural area — a wine region “with specific geographic or climatic characteristics that distinguish it from surrounding regions and affect how grapes grow. are grown,” according to the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.

In the process, it was discovered that a winery in the Capay Valley had been named “the best winery in the state” in 1861.

“Capay Valley Vineyards is pleased to have come full circle in history by once again producing award-winning wines in the Capay Valley,” their website states.

According to their website, the varietals have been chosen specifically to complement the climate and soil and all vineyard tasks, including pruning, shoot thinning and harvesting, are done by hand, tailored to each variety. Harvesting is done at night to ensure the fruit is fresh to begin the winemaking process.

The winery produces several types of wine – all overseen by winemaker Terri Strain – including a Tempranillo, sparkling Tempranillo, Viognier, sparkling Viorgnier, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot. When asked what his personal favorite wine was, Welch joked that it was like being asked to pick a favorite child. She noted that their bubbly strains were extremely popular among their customers.

Wines produced by Capay Valley Vineyards in their tasting room. Winemaking is overseen by winemaker Terri Strain. (Jordan Silva-Benham/Daily Democrat)

Customers can currently purchase Capay Valley Vineyards wines directly from their tasting room and various area stores, including Nugget stores, Davis Food Co-op, Costco, Lorenzo Market in Winters, and Corti Brothers. While the winery was impacted like every other business during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Welch said she was grateful for all the business across the stores that kept sales strong.

The tasting room is currently open Saturdays and Sundays from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., however, their website encourages customers to call ahead to confirm hours.

“I always ask people to call and check because we have a lot of local events,” Welch said.

The winery hosts and participates in several events throughout the year, including the Twilight Picnic, an annual event of the Yolo County Vineyard and Winery Association, Lavender Festivals, YoloArts’ Art Farm Gala, and Dinner on Main.

Welch said his goals for the company over the coming year are to continue to work within the community, come up with new selling ideas, and be as sustainable as possible by keeping their carbon footprint at a low level.

“It’s a great community,” Welch said. “There have always been people working together on various projects and it’s good to be part of the whole agricultural scene here. I think we benefit from each other’s experiences, types of cultures and we all kind of work together if you will. We really appreciate all the hard work of the organic farmers here.

For more information on Capay Valley Vineyards and their wines, visit

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