Summer in Winters – Hot Time in the OldTown

As mentioned in a recent post, Winters, a small city of about 6500 people in southwestern Yolo County is a place to see and be seen.   First settled in 1842 and subsequently established as a town in 1875 she finally was incorporated as a city in 1898.  Winters has a rich and mostly agricultural history and, like many U.S cities, has survived a series of boom and bust cycles driven first by the railroad expansion in the mid to late 19th century and then the later discontinuance of that same rail service.  The constant has been farming with a progression from dried and fresh fruits to walnuts and almonds and a community spirit that keeps bringing her back to a vibrant state of being.  It appears that Winters is on the threshold of another boom cycle.

Downtown Winters buzzing at twilight (Linda C)

Downtown Winters buzzing at twilight (Linda C)

City business and political leaders have worked very hard with a great deal of cooperation from their residence to establish and maintain Winters character.  They have generally declined the influx of fast food chains and have pretty successfully kept a real small town feel by nurturing the establishment of home-grown businesses and then supporting them.

There are many outstanding examples of creative entrepreneurship supported by the city.  Some of those are:  Berryessa Gap Vineyards tasting room, Root Stock Gift shop and tasting room, Fortify at Briggs Art Gallery Cafe and Turkovich Family Wines tasting room are highlights.

Turkovich Family Wine (Linda C)

Turkovich Family Wine (Linda C)

Another perfect example of this city’s spirit is the 2006 restoration of the dilapidated and abandoned Southern Pacific Rail Road steel Pratt Truss bridge which had been built in 1906.  Southern Pacific replaced the wood trestle bridge with this steel Pratt Truss railroad bridge in 1906.  For the 100th anniversary of the bridge, the City of Winters successfully rehabilitated and repurposed the railroad bridge for safe transit and viewing of Putah Creek by strollers and cyclists.

Restored Vaca Valley (SP) Railroad bridge circa 1906 (Linda

Restored Vaca Valley (SP) Railroad bridge circa 1906 (Linda

The city sports wonderful retail and restaurant spaces, one of which is a reclaimed and restored downtown automobile showroom.  Restaurants range from Buckhorns Steakhouse with its road house appeal to Putah Creek Cafe (featured on Guy Fieri’s “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives,” Diner category in 2010) to Chuy’s Taqueria, to Ocean Restaurant (Chinese) to El Verduzco Taco Truck which serves tacos and burritos for take-out.  It’s actually an amazing array considering the size of the city.

Wonderful Cioppino at Putah Creek Cage (Linda C)

A beautiful town park (Rotary Park), donated by Winters Rotary Club provides a delightful venue for various outdoor events throughout the year.  Some of those events include:

Custom Car Night on the 2nd Tuesday of each month March through October with classic music, raffles and great family fun.

The Earthquake Festival, August 24th will mark the 20th which commemorates the devastating 1892 quake, on main street.

The just completed Wine and Art in the Park  (May) with wine being poured by the 11 nearby wineries.

The Plein Air Festival is a week-long outdoor art festival each May where artists arrive in Winters and paint at various locations within 15 miles of downtown Winters, and at scheduled events throughout the week.

Route 3 Wines at Wine and Art in the Park (Linda C)

Route 3 Wines at Wine and Art in the Park (Linda C)

A real hot spot for evening entertainment is Palms Playhouse which hosts a variety of entertainment including dance bands. The Matty T Band from Vacaville was a real crowd pleaser on Saturday night. There are many other things to do in and around Winters.

Matty T Band rockin at Palms Playhouse Winters (Linda C)

Matty T Band rockin at Palms Playhouse Winters (Linda C)

There are many other things to do in and around Winters.  The city is on the brink of signing up a well established hotel chain to build a small hotel.  That is, perhaps, the only link missing for this vibrant and sassy city.  Despite this minor gap, located where it is just off I505 about 14 miles from the City of Davis, 70 miles east of San Francisco and 31 miles west of Sacramento, it is totally accessible as a day trip and if one needed to spend the night, Davis and Woodland offer reasonably close lodging choices.

Winters Rotary Park (Courtesy of

Winters Rotary Park (Courtesy of

Stay tuned for part III in this series on the County of Bounty – Yolo.


About John Compisi

John Compisi is a freelance travel, adventure and lifestyle writer focusing on California, Italy, France or where ever life takes him. He is a published member of the SF Bay Area Travel Writers and the Redwood Writers Club. John, and photographer wife Linda, reside in Sonoma County and love nothing more than getting out there and experiencing the world, no matter if it’s a destination close to home, a road trip, or a journey to romantic international destinations.
This entry was posted in Day Trips, Italian Wines, Uncategorized, Wine, Wine Country, Wine Events, Wineries and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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