When you think of California wine country, one word usually comes to mind – Napa! But what about Fairfield?

- Fairfield, California – another side of Napa -

Fairfield, located just 30 minutes from Napa, is an excellent option for those wanting to visit Napa without breaking the bank. With affordable accommodations and a plethora of dining options, Fairfield is the perfect spot to stay and eat when visiting the region.

Situated between the Bay Area and Sacramento, Fairfield is an excellent option for proximity travel. Not only are you within arm’s reach of Napa, but you are also close enough to head to San Francisco for the day, which is just an hour’s drive. There are many things to do in and around the Fairfield area, yet staying there can cut your hotel cost by as much as half; most hotels in Fairfield are a third to a half the cost of those elsewhere.

Heretic Brewing offers great beer, food, music and even homemade vodka!
President Ronald Reagan, created from Jelly Bellys, put the candy company on the map by keeping a huge jar on his desk.

 

Flying into the area means soaring over miles of agriculture – the land is so fertile. Fairfield is the home of Travis Air Force Base and the headquarters of Jelly Belly. With a population of just over 120,000, Anand Patel, CEO of Visit Fairfield, says the city’s slogan is a perfect fit – “Uncomplicated. Uncongested. Unspoiled,” and driving through downtown, under the iconic Fairfield sign which has been in place since 1926, the slogan is spot on. Napa can mean long lines of cars and people. San Francisco is a big, busy city but visitors in Fairfield can stroll through downtown, dine in restaurants and visit wineries without the crowds and hassles.

Dining

Luigi’s

Exceptional Italian food and pizza in a welcoming family atmosphere. Locally owned and operated for over 40 years. Lots of beer choices and don’t miss the garlic fries!

Favela’s Fusion

Boasting rustic charm and fantastic food, Favela’s consistently serves delicious Mexican dishes. Stop in for carnitas and a hand-crafted margarita!

Valley Cafe

This funky, art-filled spot makes the perfect place for breakfast. Just checking out the décor can take hours – fun! Enjoy a mimosa with your morning meal outside on their patio.

Evelyn’s Big Italian Pizzeria

For the best pizza in Fairfield, look no further. This downtown Fairfield eatery offers a wide selection of Italian food with a New York flare. While you most certainly can’t beat the pizza, they also offer sandwiches, salads, calzones and pasta dinners.

Mankas Steakhouse

This is a refined, relaxed steakhouse and seafood restaurant featuring beer, wine and cocktails. Enjoy the culinary treats of Chef Peter Halikas without pretension or an inflated bill.

Just plane fun! Bringing the “sport” back to flying is the goal for ICON Air.
The Valley Cafe is located at a small country roads’ intersection outside of town and is decorated with album covers from all genres and eras. Very, very cool.

Things to Do

Il Fiorello Olive Oil Company

There’s nothing quite like quality, artisan olive oil. At Il Fiorello, owners Ann and Mark Seivers produce just that. Stop by the Visitor Center and Olive Mill for a tour and tasting. Tours are appointment only but tastings are offered daily from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Group cooking lessons can also be arranged for those interested. The Seivers also offer special themed weekends.

Heretic Brewing 

At Heretic Brewing, craft beer is a religion! This locally owned microbrewery distributes product to 13 states and 13 countries. Free tours are offered for those interested and start at 4 p.m. each Friday, Saturday and Sunday. They offer weekend brunch and lots of live music. Be sure to try the Mandarin IPA made from locally sourced mandarins or the popular Passion Fruit Agony!

Jelly Belly

The Jelly Belly Visitor Center is open daily from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and tours are free! No reservations required. On the tour you will get to see the inner workings of the factory up close and personal as well as experience all things jelly bean! You can even enjoy a hamburger or a pizza in the shape of a jelly bean! And, of course, don’t miss out on the BeanBoozled Challenge before leaving.

Welcome to Fairfield!
 
 
Caymus Vineyards is worth a visit.

 

Vineyards

There are 15 vineyards in and around Fairfield as well as many in nearby Napa. Not all are open seven days a week, so be sure to check their websites before planning a tasting or tour!

Vezer Family Vineyard’s Blue Victorian

A lovely winery owned by Frank and Liz Vezer. Take the Blue Victorian Barrel Blending Tour where you will be invited to taste their popular Petite Sirah, Zinfandel and Cabernet. The tour is $20 and reservations are required. Walk-ins are also available at the Blue Victorian’s tasting room where you will be guided through a tasting of their wines. Last, but certainly not least, don’t miss their live music series!

Mangels Vineyards

Mangels Vineyards is the joint effort of the Mangels and Oberti families. The two families have been working together to create delicious wine for more than 100 years. Stop by their tasting room between 12 p.m-5 p.m., Friday through Sunday.

Caymus Vineyards

Should you decide to drive out to Napa, be sure to stop in at Caymus Vineyards, a family-owned operation for nearly five decades. Today they produce 65,000 cases of wine with Texas being their largest market in the United States! Should you be interested in partaking in a tasting at Caymus, make sure to make a reservation. Tasting hours are 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. daily; the fee is $50.

ICON Aircraft

Located in nearby Vacaville, the ICON A5 is an American amphibious light-sport aircraft designed and produced by ICON Aircraft. A concept aircraft was first flown in 2008 and creation of the production tooling began in December 2012. The aircraft is designed for recreation and flies just under 10,000 feet.

Passport Sunday

Passport Sunday in an annual event showcasing wine and food tastings at nine venues. Included in those participating in the event are Il Fiorello Olive Oil Company, Jelly Belly Candy Company, Mangels Vineyards and Caymus Vineyards, to name a few. Tickets typically sell out quickly as the event continues to grow in popularity. Tickets are $60.

For more information: VisitFairfield.com, FairfieldMainstreet.com, HereticBrewing.com, Iconaircraft.com, ilfiorello.com, jellybelly.com, Caymus.com, Suisunvalley.com, mangelsvineyards.com, Mankassteakhouse.com, Suisunvalleyfillingstation.com, Vezerfamilyvineyard.com and woodenvalley.com.

Cynthia Calvert
Author: Cynthia CalvertEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Owner
A trained journalist with a masters degree from Lamar University, a masters from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, as well as extensive coursework toward a masters of science in psychology from the University of New Orleans, Calvert founded the Tribune Newspapers in 2007. Her experiences as an investigative, award winning reporter (She won Journalist of the Year from the Houston Press Club among many other awards for reporting and writing), professor and chair of the journalism department for Lone Star College-Kingwood and vice president of editorial for a large group of community weeklies provides her with a triple dose of bankable skills that cover every aspect of the journalism field. Solid reporting. Careful interviews. Respect and curiosity for people and places.

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