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

  • Zinfandel

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

  • 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...

  • Merlot

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

  • Pinot Noir

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

  • Sauvignon Blanc

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

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

  • Hafner Vineyard

    We're a small family winery tucked away in Alexander Valley, 15 minutes from Healdsburg. You w...

  • Murphy-Goode Winery

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

  • Kunde Family Winery

    Family owned and operated for five generations, Kunde Family Estate produces ultra-premium, estat...

  • Moon Mountain

    Moon Mountain Vineyard is located high on the Sonoma Valley side of Mount Veeder, at nearly the 2...

  • Medlock Ames

    Medlock Ames is located on 335 acres of rolling oak and madrone woodland in the South-Western por...

  • Rutz Cellars

    2004 Rutz Cellars Dutton Ranch Russian River Valley Pinot Noir ($45) Owner Keith Rutz seeks outst...

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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


  • Bryter Estates Pinot Noir 2012 2012

    Snoothrank:

    I've had three Bryter wines and never has one failed to impress. I'm an interloper in the land of Pinot Noir...a novice at best. But even a neophyte can sense that this is an outstanding representation of the varietal. Tasted it last night, so I'm lost for actual detailed descriptors. What lingers in my mind is the elegant, balanced nose -- subt... Read More

    Wine review by GrantC


  • La Crema Chardonnay Russian River Valley 2013

    Snoothrank:

    Green citrus and oatmeal on the nose with a touch of spiced green apple and lemon peel. Milk chocolate dipped peaches and apples fan across the palate. The finish creeps back toward the citrus side of things with notes of orange slices and lemon drops. Read More

    Wine review by Snooth Editorial


  • Merry Edwards Pinot Noir Russian River Valley Georganne 2009

    Snoothrank:

    Pretty, dark red color. Some fruit on the nose but more wood or leather. Lightest hint of strawberry on introduction to the tongue/palate. This is a pretty big wine. However, it is wonderfully balanced. Fruit, tannin and acid are all there, but nothing dominates. They all support each other. Read More

    Wine review by EMark


  • Ghost Pines Pinot Noir Sonoma-Monterey 2013

    Snoothrank:

    Bright cherry aromas are framed by earthy notes of forest floor and joined by raspberry, blueberry and a bit of heat. In the mouth this is very approachable and soft with velvety ripe black cherry and blackberry flavors that seem to have some sweetness to them, some cocoa and bramble fruit join in on the finish. Read More

    Wine review by Snooth Editorial


  • Of course, Greg, Sonoma has some of the best New World PNs. Think I was sounding klaxons for The True here half a dozen years ago. Just proportionately so much dross, still, in that county and Napa, as well as further south. Oregon has its own issues, but also some good PN. I've lusted after the rare-perfected CA pinot for decades, and only had ... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Pinot Noir throwdown


  • Bedrock Wine Co. Sodini Vineyard Zinfandel 2012

    Snoothrank:

    [Hmm. Ill be darned. It looks like I have commented on this wine in the past, and it looks like my impressions are quite different. I guess that shows that I dont know jack about wine.] Opaque dark red color. Some rustic earthiness in the nose. Very fruit forwardred fruits or berries, strawberry, red cherry. Some pepperiness. Very easy o... Read More

    Wine review by EMark


  • Imagery Estate Winery Viognier Russian River Valley 2013

    Snoothrank:

    Clear, very pale yellow in the glassvery close to white. Very floral, perfumey nose with the slightest hint of spice that I would associate with Gewurztraminer. Sure enough, lots of white stone fruit flavor on the tip of the tongue that morphs into a melon suggestion at the back. Also, a bit of spritz on the tip of the tongue. Good acid back... Read More

    Wine review by EMark


  • Cenyth Red 2009

    Snoothrank:

    Classic Left Bank Bordeaux blend. Medium plus body, near black in color with aroma a bit floral with fresh earth. Tannins have soften & good mouth feel. Fresh earth and dark fruit flavors. I rate it 90 points. Read More

    Wine review by gtcphurst


  • Lake Norman Winery Sauvignon Blanc Sandbar 2013

    Snoothrank:

    This is an excellent Sauv Blanc made by a winery in North Carolina sourcing Russian River grapes. On the nose is light lemon cream and a touch of green melon. There is also creamy lemon on the tongue along with slightly tart green plum, slightly under ripe peach and just a touch of white pepper on the back end. There is crisp acidity and a me... Read More

    Wine review by vin0vin0


  • Viszlay Vineyards the Mt. Eden Estate Chardonnay 2012

    Snoothrank:

    Very nice Russian River chardonnay. This is more about ripe stone fruit, fig, apricot and pear. There is also some oak influence but not too much and some creamy mouthfeel but without the buttery flavor. Would prefer a bit more acidity but overall a good RRV chard. Read More

    Wine review by vin0vin0


  • 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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