California’s Sonoma Valley is one of those special places on Earth—a place where high-quality winegrapes can be grown and used for making high-quality wine.
So what makes Sonoma Valley so special? It’s blessed with rich soil, ample sun, cool seasonal moisture and a Mediterranean climate. Its unique topography creates a patchwork of distinct microclimates, each primed to nourish certain grape varietals. This is no one- or two-varietal appellation; this is a place where numerous types of wine can be crafted with great success.
Often referred to as the birthplace of the California wine industry, Sonoma Valley lays claim to some of the oldest vineyards and wineries in the state. It was in 1825 that Franciscan missionaries founded the first winery north of San Francisco on the Sonoma Mission grounds.1
Within Sonoma Valley’s scenic span, you’ll find more than 13,000 acres of vineyards and more than 40 premium wineries—from striking castles and garden chateaux to organic ranches and Mediterranean-style villas.
There’s also California’s oldest premium winery: Buena Vista Winery’s mossy stone relic, built by an eccentric Hungarian count.2
Size doesn’t always matter, and some of Sonoma’s smallest, tucked-away tasting rooms are the most memorable—places where you can sample cult favorites and brush elbows with the winemaker.
Many wineries offer special tours, activities and wine-and-food pairings, and there are plenty of ways to taste Sonoma’s bounty. Try a restaurant with wine flights crafted around a fixed menu, or one of the tutorials frequently offered at a local culinary school. Wineries often host winemaker dinners.
You’ll find lots of touring and tasting ideas at: sonoma.com.
With the valley’s Mediterranean climate and fertile soil, most fruits and vegetables at any given restaurant table are grown within just a few miles.
Combine the abundant local harvest with Sonoma’s renowned wines, just-baked breads, acclaimed cheeses and olive oils, and you can create a perfect wine country picnic.
Napa Valley may get most of the media attention—and that attention certainly is deserved—but Sonoma Valley vintners craft wines from homegrown grapes that are every bit as complex and enjoyable.