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

  • Chardonnay

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

  • 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...

  • Merlot

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

  • Cabernet Sauvignon

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

  • 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

  • Murphy-Goode Winery

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

  • Rutz Cellars

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

  • Kunde Family Winery

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

  • Dumol Wine Company

    Our 25 acre biodynamically farmed Estate Vineyard is located on an undulating eastfacing slope of...

  • Kenwood Vineyards

    Located in the heart of the Sonoma Valley, Kenwood Vineyards is dedicated to producing premium wi...

  • Medlock Ames

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

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Sonoma County on Snooth

  • Rodney Strong Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley 2014


    Warm and heady aromas of blackberry and black currant. Smooth and juicy on the palate with notes of dark black currant and black cherry, this does a good job of showcasing the fruit, presenting a fresh palate through to a creamy finish with medium firm tannins. Read More

    Wine review by Snooth Editorial

  • J Vineyards Chardonnay Russian River Valley 2016


    Cool fruit aromas of banana and apricot, creamy vanilla, green apple and light floral perfume. Green apple and cream on the palate on entry with a soft mid palate of melon, light lemon and pear, oak spice, baked apple and crumb cake, finishing a bit bitter with toasted coconut and more oak. 89 pts Read More

    Wine review by Snooth Editorial

  • Patz & Hall Pinot Noir Gaps Crown Vineyard 2012


    A nice sturdy wine, If you're looking for the IPOB-type of PN that has been the fad the last few years, this ain't it. Black cherry, and, maybe, plum, on the tip of the tongue. Some spiciness--cinnamon? Surprisingly (for PN) noticeable tannin, Good acid. Read More

    Wine review by EMark

  • Rockpile Winery Mauritson Zinfandel Rockpile Westphall Ridge Vineyard 2012


    Berries and stone fruit. Interestingly, the wine seems full-bodied but it isnt a mouthful. A little salinity. Nice tart acids. Very sedate tannin. There will be no Day 2 report on this wine. It will be gone before the evening is over. Read More

    Wine review by EMark

  • Rodney Strong Malbec Reserve Sonoma County 2014


    Very spicy on the nose with black pepper and licorice notes. Full palate of blackberry and black currant fruit, creamy textured and broad with a smoky veneer of earthy spice, vanilla bean and toasted coffee. Thus is held up by its good structure and bold acidity. Read More

    Wine review by Snooth Editorial

  • Gary Farrell Wines Pinot Noir Russian River Valley 2015


    Light floral cherry and raspberry notes with hints of fruit candy and dark oak spice, plum skin and fresh herb. Bold mixed berry, cherry and red currant palate with thick streaks of earthy tar and oak spice and warm mellow heat underlying the fruit, this sings on the palate with a good blend of refreshing fruit, fresh acidity and earthen charact... Read More

    Wine review by Snooth Editorial

  • J Vineyards Pinot Noir Russian River Valley 2016


    Elegant and layered floral aromas of red currant and ripe black cherry with soft perfume and strong baking spice notes. Juicy and firm on the palate with a lively palate of fresh acidity, good earthiness, a tingling of herb and bold smoky notes alongside hints of tar and black pepper. The mid palate starts with a burst of cherry fruit that conti... Read More

    Wine review by Snooth Editorial

  • Gary Farrell Chardonnay Russian River Valley 2015


    Lemon curd and peach blossom aromas with aromas of fresh grapefruit and apple. Gorgeous, tart fruit notes of grapefruit and fresh lemon, puckering acidity and wooded oak notes, floral honeysuckle, light citrus zest and herb and a finish of apple, pear and melon. Fantastic complexity and depth but with a lightness that keeps the palate clean.93 pts Read More

    Wine review by Snooth Editorial

  • Peter Paul Russian River Bacigalupi Chardonnay 2015


    Fairly oaky wine is introduced by caramel flavor, but then there is bright tropical fruit--kiwi, pineapple. The pineapple tells you that it is supported by refreshing acid, but, then the the acid seems more lemon pithy. A pretty good wine. Not light-bodied, but a refreshing summer wine. Read More

    Wine review by EMark

  • Dry Creek Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Dry Creek Valley 2015


    Dusty earth and candied aromas of plum, grape and cherry, a touch floral as well. Cherry and cranberry fruit on the palate, tart and tannic with smoky tree roots and thick earth towards the finish. Read More

    Wine review by Snooth Editorial

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