Sonoma Wine

Sonoma Wine is wine produced in Sonoma County, California. Sonoma Wine production began in the 1800s when wine grapes became a primary agricultural product of the region. 

Sonoma Wine is produced by 18 American Viticulture Areas (AVAs) in Sonoma County. Each AVA is distinguished for its climate, geography, and grapes that produce award-winning Sonoma Wine.

What is the history behind Sonoma Wine?

The origin of Sonoma wine started as early as 1812 with the planting of grapes in Fort Ross. During the Bear Flag Revolt and the following occupation of California by the United States in 1854, the growing of Sonoma wine grapes was a staple agricultural product of the region. After the Civil War and prior to Prohibition, Bundschu, Foppiano, Korbel, Simi, Gundlach, Quitzow, and Sebastiani were Sonoma wineries that existed then and still continue to do so to date.

256 Sonoma wineries were in existence during the 1920s, having more than 22, 000 acres (89km2) in production. Commercial winemaking in Sonoma experienced a decline during the Prohibition. During its repeal in 1933, less than 50 wineries in Sonoma County remained. In the 1960s, only 12, 000 acres (49km2) were vineyards. This grew to over 49, 000 acres (198km2) by 1999 where the vineyards were owned by over 750 growers and 180 bonded wineries.

In 2007, more than half of the 250 Sonoma wineries in existence were less than 20 years old. The Kincade Fire in 2019 caused a week of severe heat in some Sonoma wineries and vineyards, and the smoke and evacuation led to the neglect of newly fermenting wine.

Who are the influential people in establishing Sonoma Wine?

Padre Jose Altimira grew thousands of wine grape vines in Mission San Francisco Solano, now known as the city of Sonoma in south Sonoma County in 1823.

Agoston Haraszthy came to Sonoma Valley in 1855 and bought the Salvador Vallejo vineyard and renamed it Buena Vista. Haraszthy was commissioned in 1861 by the California legislature to study viticulture in Europe, after which he came back with more than 100,00 cuttings of first-rate grape varietals.

What are the regions producing Sonoma Wine?

Each region producing Sonoma wine has a unique climate and geography which directly influences the outcome. There are 18 American Viticulture Areas (AVAs) that produce Sonoma wine. An AVA is a designated appellation for a specific wine-growing region in the United States that allows wineries and consumers to distinguish the origin of the grapes produced for winemaking.

  • Los Carneros AVA -located near the San Pablo Bay making it ideal for growing Pinot Noir and Chardonnay Sonoma wine varietals. It has 9, 000 vineyard acres and includes the Charles Creek Vineyard, Cline Cellars, Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards wineries and Viansa Winery and Marketplace.
  • Russian River Valley AVA– has a regular intrusion of cooling fog from the Pacific Ocean. This lets grapes develop full flavor maturity over a prolonged growing season. Sonoma wines in this region include Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. It has 14,167 vineyard acres and 94 wineries including DeLoach Vineyard and Korbel Champagne Cellars.
  • Sonoma Coast AVA– featuring a cool climate and high rainfall so Pinot Noir and Chardonnay Sonoma wine varietals grow well in this region. It has 5,055 vineyard acres and 7 wineries including Kistler Vineyards.
  • Sonoma Valley AVA – boasts of Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay Sonoma wine varietals, with 192 vineyards and over a hundred wineries including B.R Cohn Winery, Kenwood Wineyards, and Remick Ridge Vineyards.
  • Northern Sonoma AVA – an all-encompassing appellation including Chalk Hill, Knights Valley, Alexander Valley, Dry Creek Valley, Russian River Valley, most of Green Valley, and portions of Rockpile and Pine Mountain-Cloverdale Peak. Kendall-Jackson Winery is within this appellation.

Has Sonoma Wine won any notable award?

In 2019, Sonoma County won the 2019 Wine Region of the Year award by Wine Enthusiast during its 20th annual Wine Star Awards. The award distinguished the efforts of the region to boost Sonoma Wine such as the Sonoma County Wine Auction and Taste of Sonoma.

How to experience Sonoma Wine?

The taste of Sonoma wine can be experienced in the following tours:

  • Benzinger Family Winery
  • Sonoma-Cutrer Vineyards
  • Platypus Wine Tours in Sonoma
  • Grapeline Wine Tours
  • Sonoma Food and Wine Tour-by Gourmet Food & Wine Tours
  • Rose Wine Tours
  • Wine Nation Tours
  • Sonoma Wine Tours 2 Go
  • Sonoma Food Tour
  • Sonoma Valley Bike Tours & Rentals
  • Old Vine Wine Tours
  • Napa Valley and Sonoma Boutique Wine Tours
  • Ceciliasson & Gustavsson
  • Beau Wine Tours & Limousine Service
  • Sonoma Valley Wine Trolley
  • Blue Star Tours Sonoma Napa Russian River
  • West Wine Tours
  • St. Helena Food and Wine Tour
  • Vin de Luxe Tours
  • Bohemian Highway Travel Co.
  • Sonoma Segway
  • Wine Country Tours, Napa Tours and Sonoma Tours
  • Sonoma wine can also be tasted in the following top wineries:
  • J Vineyards And Winery
  • Meadowcroft wines
  • Garden Creek Vineyards
  • Roche Winery
  • Ledson Winery & Vineyards
  • Lake Sonoma Winery
  • Jordan Vineyard & Winery
  • Highway 12 Winery Tasting Room
  • BACA Wines
  • Valley of the Moon Winery
  • Medlock Ames
  • BedrockWine Co.
  • Kenwood Vineyards
  • Three Sticks Wines at the Adobe
  • St. Francis Winery & Vineyards
  • Cochon Tasting Bar
  • Auteur Wines
  • Rancho Maria Wines
  • WALT Wines
  • Sojourn Cellars
  • Landmark Vineyards
  • Bump Wine Cellars
  • The Drink
  • Winery Sixteen 600 Tasting
  • Banshee Wines
  • Fulcrum Wines
  • Aperture Cellars
  • Sebastiani Vineyards & Winery
  • Marine Layer Wines
  • Sosie Wines
  • Bricoleur Vineyards
  • Kamen Estate Wines