Sonoma County Wine

 

Wine-making in Sonoma, California began in 1812 when Russian colonists planted grapes at Fort Ross, along the coast. Then Father Jose Altimura led Spanish Franciscans to plant Mission grapes at Mission San Francisco Solano for ceremonial purposes in the 1820s, with these cuttings traveling further into California. For the next thirty years or so, wines using the Mission grape became a burgeoning industry, through the Bear Flag Revolt and annexation of the state of California in 1854. 
 
By this time, General Mariano Vallejo was going great guns (pardon the pun) with his own vineyard producing Mission grapes. Until he met a Hungarian businessman named Agoston Haraszthy, who bought it and replanted it with fine European vitis vinifera, renaming the vineyard Buena Vista. Haraszthy is credited with the first hillside plantings after the European tradition, as well as employing Chinese laborers to dig caves for cool temperature cellaring, and introducing the first Zinfandel cuttings Read more »

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Popular wines made in Sonoma County under $20

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Varietals Produced in Sonoma County View all

  • Merlot

    The Occitanian word “merlot” translates to “young blackbird.” An accurate description for this popular, early-budding...

  • Zinfandel

    Parentage of the grape: Crljenak to Austria to America. In the 1970s, claims surfaced that the Italian Primitivo is l...

  • Sauvignon Blanc

    Sauvignon Blanc is widely grown in California -- at over 15,000 acres, it’s now the third most planted variety -- and...

  • Cabernet Sauvignon

    “King of the Red Wine Grapes.” The colonizer of the vineyards, pushing native wine grapes into its shadows. The Caber...

  • Chardonnay

    British wine writer and critic, Jancis Robinson, once noted that throughout the 80’s and 90’s in the United States, C...

  • Pinot Noir

    “With so voluptuous a perfume, so sweet an edge, they make the blood run hot,” Joel Fleischman, wine columnist at Van...

Subregions of Sonoma County

  • Alexander Valley

    Alexander Valley, part of Sonoma County in California, is named for pioneer Cyrus Alexander. A ...

  • Dry Creek Valley

    The Carneros AVA straddles between both Napa and Sonoma Valleys, with distinct climates. The Na...

  • Knights Valley

    Knights Valley is a wine region in Northern Sonoma in the North Coast of California. It’s named...

  • Russian River Valley

    The Russian River Valley is the most southerly AVA within Northern Sonoma. It is named for the ...

  • Sonoma Coast

      The Sonoma Coast AVA is an extensive part of Sonoma County, California. It stretches betwe...

  • Bennett Valley

    Just when you’ve finally figured out the criss-cross of Sonoma County’s 12 sub-appellations here ...

  • Chalk Hill

      The Chalk Hill AVA is located within the Russian River Valley district of Northern Sonoma,...

  • Sonoma Mountain

    Sonoma Mountain is a subregion of Sonoma Valley in California. The region has different microcl...

Popular Wineries in Sonoma County View all

  • La Crema Winery

    La Crema was founded in 1979 and quickly established itself as a pioneer for intensely flavored C...

  • Goldschmidt Vineyards

    Each Goldschmidt Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon profiles a single vineyard, single varietal wine tha...

  • Tandem Winery

    Our Background shows a long history of working passionately with high-end labels; the team of gro...

  • Optima Winery

    Optima began as a dream producing just 400 cases in 1984,now, the winery is continuing their trad...

  • Murphy-Goode Winery

    At Murphy-Goode, winemaking isn’t just a family busness; it’s a family tradition – one that’s end...

  • Dark Horse Wine

    Named 2007 Winemaker of the Year by the Sonoma County Harvest Fair, winemaker Michael Loykasek ha...

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Sonoma County on Snooth

  • This Saturday June 5th 2010 is Single Night in the Russian River Valley at C Donatello Winery. 6:30 - 10:00pm Single Vineyard tastings from the following wineries: Acorn Winery Ancient Oak Cellars Balletto Vineyards Benovia Winery D&L Carinalli Dutton-Goldfield Ferrari-Carano Vineyards & Winery Foppiano Vineyards Foppoli Wines Graton Ridge Cell...

    Comment by 324443outthere 324443 outthere


  • Planning to head to Sonoma Valley over Labor Day Weekend? It is Sonoma Wine Country Weekend! County wide event with lots of activities going on. Get more information here: www.sonomawinecountryweekend.com

    Comment by 36106John Andrews 36106 John Andrews


  • If you didn't see this Snooth posting and planning a trip to Sonoma, check this out: http://www.snooth.com/wine-tours/sonoma/

    Comment by 36106John Andrews 36106 John Andrews


  • Sorry about the delay EMark. Like noted previously most, but not all, of Sonoma County was picked before the fires. More of a problem than smoke for vintners was the fact that power was out for up to 4-5 days or longer at many locations. The ability to control fermentation temperatures was an issue. Extended/carbonic maceration, which I enjoy, w... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Smoke Tainted Wine Bottles by 324443outthere 324443 outthere


  • Fritz Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley 2015

    Snoothrank:

    Funk aroma, sulfur, I assume, that seems to take longer than normal to fade. Quite fruitycherry, stone fruit. Could use some minerality or woodiness or something to beat down the fruit. Fairly mellow tannin. Reasonably good acid. Fruit imbalance prevents me from really liking this one. Read More

    Wine review by EMark


  • Ridge 'Lytton Springs' 2011

    Snoothrank:

    A very elegant Zinfandel. Does that sound strange, or what? Quite often, Zinfandel (and this bottling is 84% Zinfandel) seems to hit with tons of berries, sticks, thorns, tea leaves and other things off the floor. This one enters with no fanfare. Light red fruitnot the big berry thing that I get, a lot, with Zinfandel and, definitely, not ja... Read More

    Wine review by EMark


  • Patine Gap's Crown 2015

    Snoothrank:

    I had this one, last night. I mostly remember that this one had up front red cherry, and some "cinnamon" on the rear palate. This is an OK wine, and, I suspect, like other Mike Smith PNs I've had in the past, it will benefit from a couple more years of patience. Read More

    Wine review by EMark


  • Rodney Strong Vineyards Pinot Noir Rose Russian River Valley 2017

    Snoothrank:

    Warm spice and cherry aromas with a touch of watermelon and strawberry. Nicely fruity on the palate, smooth and generous with pleasant spice and notes of cherry and strawberry, finishing clean and light with a flaky pastry creaminess. Easy to like.. Read More

    Wine review by Snooth Editorial


  • These 2 arrived today - The 2016 Jacob's Creek Reserve Shiraz ... ... ... BarossaThe 2016 Seghesio Sonoma County Zinfandel - it's getting better hype than most at this level, much like the 201 Read More

    Forum post in the topic What have you bought lately?


  • Cline Family Cellars Syrah Sonoma County 2015

    Snoothrank:

    Concentrated black berry aromas of savory earth and creamy oak. Black cherry and blackberry fruit flavors on the palate with a zesty acidity and liberal spice box flavors through the mid palate on to a tingling finish of jam, chocolate and toasted espresso beans. Read More

    Wine review by Snooth Editorial


  • Acorn Alegria Vineyards Sangiovese Russian River Valley 2014

    Snoothrank:

    Dark plum, soft cherry and brown sugar aromas with a fruit forward, lightly perfumed strawberry and cherry pie filling note on the nose. Approachable and freshly fruited flavors of light oak and smoke with a mixed berry, dark cherry fruit blend and a finish of textured tannin and vanilla smoke. 90 pts Read More

    Wine review by Snooth Editorial


  • Church & Mills Chardonnay 2016

    Snoothrank:

    This was about as floral on the nose as they come. Almost fake. However, it was both floral and crisp. Screw top and good price point. Read More

    Wine review by connie7899


  • Macmurray Estate Vineyards Select Pinot Noir Russian River Valley 2015

    Snoothrank:

    Light plum, cherry and raspberry aromas with a touch of an earthy note, floral mixed berry preserves and even some black fruit notes of black currant. Juicy and firm on the palate, creamy textured and generous with cherry cola notes and thick tannins providing good structure through to the finish of vanilla, cinnamon and licorice. 89 pts Read More

    Wine review by Snooth Editorial


  • If you didn't see this Snooth posting and planning a trip to Sonoma, check this out: http://www.snooth.com/wine-tours/sonoma/

    Comment by 36106John Andrews 36106 John Andrews


  • The Russian River valley was my wife an my introduction to Sonoma during our 20th anniversary trip to the area. We fell in love with the geography and the vibrant Cabernets (not really a Pinot Noir lover). If one is planning on a wine vacation to either Napa or Sonoma, I would without a doubt pick Sonoma. Watching the fog come in from the Pac...

    Comment by 197388Mitch Maloney 197388 Mitch Maloney


  • First trip to California hoping to get some advice on wineres that are "must see", in the Somoma region. We are going in June and only have about 4 days. I would love any feed back on anything else i.e restaraunts lodging. L

    Comment by 325474mrlasr 325474 mrlasr


  • The 18th Winter Wineland is soon coming to Russian River Valley and Dry Creek Valley. January 16 & 17, 2010 11:00-4:00 both days 120 Wineries - 50 Lodgings Advance Online Ticket Prices Are: $40 Weekend, $30 Sunday Only, $10 for Designated Drivers At the door prices will be $50 Weekend, $40 Sunday Only, $10 for Designated Drivers Find out...

    Comment by 36106John Andrews 36106 John Andrews


  • Roessler Visit … As I had mentioned a while back I am making some wine this year and this means for a short period of time I need to be in Sonoma a lot. I need to be there to see what is going on, do punch downs and take readings on the wine. Harvest is a busy time but if you are only doing work on one ton of grapes there isn’t a lot to do. ...

    Comment by 36106John Andrews 36106 John Andrews


  • Hey HondaJohn - great job curating this page. Keep it up!

    Comment by 6331solomania9 6331 solomania9


  • Mantazas Creek Visit … One of the things that continues to amaze me is the just the sheer number of wineries that there are in Northern California. I’ve been to a lot of them but there are so many more that I have not been to. That’s why, when I had the opportunity to, I dropped in to Mantazas Creek Winery in Bennett Valley. Mantanzas Cre...

    Comment by 36106John Andrews 36106 John Andrews


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