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...

  • Sauvignon Blanc

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

  • 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...

  • Merlot

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

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

  • Optima Winery

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

  • A. Rafanelli

    The Rafanelli family is now in its fourth generation of growing grapes and making wine in the Dry...

  • Medlock Ames

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

  • Goldschmidt Vineyards

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

  • Casa de la Cruz

    Casa de la Cruz wines are a companion label of Keller Estate Winery. These lovely entry level Cha...

  • Clos du Bois

      Clos du Bois didn’t start small and build up like many other wineries - it started with a ...

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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:

    Comment by 36106John Andrews 36106 John Andrews

  • If you didn't see this Snooth posting and planning a trip to Sonoma, check this out:

    Comment by 36106John Andrews 36106 John Andrews

  • Sonoma County, CA, USA  Read More

    Forum post in the topic Bubbles of Gold: Wine... by 324443outthere 324443 outthere

  • Seghesio Zinfandel Sonoma 2013


    Very easy drinking. Medium-bodied. Modest hit of red fruitraspberry, plumon introduction. Very little tannin to speak of. Could use a touch more tartness. For $20, or so, it is a very good everyday drinker, but, again, not an aspirational wine. Read More

    Wine review by EMark

  • La Crema Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast 2013


    Ripe cherries on the nose with a bit of alcohol. Lightly sweet cherries in the mouth with good acidity and a long drying finish. Read More

    Wine review by RandyFisher

  • Jax Y3 Pinot Noir 2013


    Not as fruit forward as a traditional Pinot. Spice and raspberry flavors and aromas. Read More

    Wine review by BeautifulCalamity

  • Gary Farrell Pinot Noir Russian River 2012


    No written review

    Wine review by Mr Dolce

  • So Peter Mathis, who has worked at Ravenswood for eons, has his own grenache ... grenache popping up around Sonoma County--OT travels more of the Zin/PN trails, I guess--but there's just not a ton.  Will Bucklin makes grenache--he's got just about everything, after all--and his is probably some of the oldest vines anywhere.  They almost certai... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Garnacha, grenache--tomato,...

  • Dehlinger Pinot Noir Altamont 2013

    Snoothrank: Read More

    Wine review by alm mtw

  • Chateau St. Jean Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley 2012

    Snoothrank: Read More

    Wine review by alm mtw

  • Rodney Strong Cabernet Sauvignon Knights Valley 2013


    Vanilla cream notes pour off the nose with soft cherry and blackberry, notes of fresh tobacco leaf and clove. This is austere and full bodied, with silky tannins hardening towards the front of the palate and highlighting creamy blackberry and black currant flavors, toast and cedar, and a smoky finish of dark chocolate and blackberry preserve. Ri... Read More

    Wine review by Snooth Editorial

  • Bella Vineyards Zinfandel Lily Hill Estate 2010


    A touch smoky and perhaps burnt rubber on the nose which blows off showing the underlying blackberry fruit. A bit candied on entry, with some cooked fig and prune notes. Read More

    Wine review by Snooth Editorial

  • If you didn't see this Snooth posting and planning a trip to Sonoma, check this out:

    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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