Enjoy Your Next Fantasy Dining Experience at Solterra Winery & Kitchen
Written By: Nicole Fera
Photographed By: Josie Gonzales
Floral Display By: Petals and Bliss
To me, nothing goes better with an amazing dinner than a beautifully set table and of course, wine. At Solterra Winery & Kitchen, Owner and Winemaker Chris Van Alyea and Executive Chef Suzanne Williams deliver all of that and more with their rustic take on food, wine, and presentation. A working winery with a kitchen, Solterra is the only one of its kind in San Diego, making it a unique destination to experience. Today, the table is set in their back room of the restaurant, which actually doubles as the place where they make their wonderful wine, which has received top awards in the most prestigious competitions. Barrels filled with all of their exclusive, delicious wines line the room, giving it a rural, cozy feel. The table is a wooden high-top built for six and surrounded with high-back, dark, just weathered enough chairs to complete the look. Since the barrels, table and chairs all coordinate with the wooden theme that fills the room, the table pops with all of its color. Teal vases are lined up along the center of the table, with the largest one placed right in the center. The vases are filled with eye-catching purple flowers that instantly brighten up the entire setting, along with bright green succulents that stand beside them. Along the center of the table, in between the vases, lay the stems to some of these flowers with their leaves still attached and some scattered purple flowers standing on their own. The table is the perfect combination between effortless and organized with all of its whimsical components.
Of course, each table setting includes a glass of Solterra wine, because what meal inside a room full of wine barrels could ever be complete without a glass of its own? Each place setting has a large, square, crisp, white plate that sits below a smaller clay plate which holds each beautifully crafted dish that Chef Williams has prepared. Complementing the table setting, Chef Williams created a different dish for all six plates that have been set with dishes like the Butternut Squash Flatbread, Lamb Chops, Coastal Paella and Persimmon Salad.
Williams is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone and classically trained in French cuisine. She has worked in many restaurants on the Napa, Los Angeles, and San Diego scene, where she gained her impressive culinary knowledge and technique. In 2013, she not only competed on Food Network’s “Chef Wanted, Mediterranean Madness, ” but took home the grand prize in the competition. Since then, she has been coming up with whimsical, original, farm-to-table dishes for Solterra Winery & Kitchen, bringing her creativity to light with all of the dishes on the menu. Each item truly showcases Williams’ originality with food and her ability to take classic ingredients and transform them into something new, exciting and extremely tasty.
Solterra Winery & Kitchen’s divine food is, of course, always paired with its exquisite wine, made by Chris Van Alyea. Originally from Sonoma County, Van Alyea began making his own wine in 1999, and his first commercial production was in 2002. The love and passion that Van Alyea has for his business is clearly present in all aspects of his work.
This is what sets Solterra aside from not only other wineries, but other restaurants as well. There are few places where you can have your wine made on location and then paired with scrumptious, gourmet food that you know has all been made using local ingredients. The whole restaurant embodies a farm-to-table approach, which includes the grapes as well, and shines through in all that Solterra offers to their guests.
Native Knowledge: As if delicious food and award winning wine weren’t enough, Solterra Winery & Kitchen also provides live music Thursday-Friday and Sunday nights, making it the perfect place to enjoy a romantic date or girls’ night out.
Plan Your Party: For an urban-style Napa experience, come to Solterra Winery & Kitchen for your next event. Offering one of the most unique spaces in the county, it’s great for rehearsal dinners, birthday parties and corporate events.
Living Like a Local: Although most wineries in California are found in the warm, inland valleys, Solterra Winery & Kitchen’s location, just a few blocks from the beach, provides a unique climate for their wine. The humidity along the coast is higher, and the temperatures are a lot cooler. These factors make it ideal for aging their wine in the barrels found on site.
Solterra Winery & Kitchen
934 N Coast Hwy 101
Leucadia, CA 92024 | 760.230.2970