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Winterhawk Winery: Suisun Valley Juke Joint 

If you like wine, if you like R&B. If you live within 50 miles of
Suisun Valley and have five dollars in your pocket, you’re crazy if you don’t go to Winterhawk Winery on Saturdays.

It was a sopping Saturday, but Alvon and His All Star Band made it impossible to sit, so there we were, dancing in our raincoats. We got down, down, as Sly would say, in our puffy vests, rain gear and one old guy in an American Eagle sweatshirt, no doubt swiped from his grandson.  

The logo sweatshirt wasn’t the only thing that was incongruously wonderful.  We were some white people, some black people, in the middle of a vineyard, dancing to Motown in what amounted to a very large shed.  

Winterhawk Winery’s Saturdays of soul are the doing of the owner, Don Johnson, a guy originally from Flint Michigan (ah, that explains the R&B). Across from the winery turned dancing shed, he surveys the scene from a folding chair on the office patio, with a couple of dogs, and a lot of women.

The deal is this: for $5 you buy a ticket, taste a bunch of Winterhawk Wines, then choose your favorite for a glass, take that glass to a table, dance to music and eat free pizza, rolled, pulled and oven fired as you watch. Who cares if the wine is good?

It was too cold to really taste the wine, I’ll have to go back when my breath isn’t steaming to try it again. I have bought Winterhawk Chardonnay ($16) in the past and it was good, with pear, apple and butterscotch, not a lot of acid, fine. Yes fine.

But the Saturday experience, now that was fine.  There was no shortage of men who asked us to dance, and who after the dance, courtly led us back to our seats. Their mothers, no doubt long gone, would be proud. But dancing without a partner was OK too. Everyone was having such fun, dancing, "in the moment."
It was very Zen in a Wilson Pickett kind of way.

I did wonder, surveying the grey heads of the crowd, if R&B, like opera, was destined for the AARP slag heap. But later some younger folks arrived and I was cheered to see that soul and wine have a brilliant future, even on a dripping day.


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