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...

  • Merlot

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

  • 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...

  • 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

  • Optima Winery

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

  • Sonoma Creek Winery & Vineyards

    The Sonoma region has a rich heritage filled with historic California character that dates back t...

  • Rutz Cellars

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

  • Dark Horse Wine

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

  • Hook & Ladder Winery

    In 1970, San Francisco firefighter Cecil De Loach and his wife Christine staked their claim in th...

  • 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

  • Wilde Farm Cardiac Hill Vineyard Syrah 2015

    Snoothrank:

    Light red fruitcherry, maybe, cranberry. Fairly tart and lean. Relatively light bodied. Very short finish. Read More

    Wine review by EMark


  • Limerick Lane Russian River Valley Syrah Grenache Blend 2015

    Snoothrank:

    Unpretentious berry fruit on entryblueberry, blackberry. Slight suggestion of vanilla. After the initial impressions it moves towards savory. Nice full-bodied wine. Sturdy tannins. Acid makes it very drinkable and, along with the tannin, suggests improvement from more sideways resting. Read More

    Wine review by EMark


  • Valdez Family Winery Zinfandel Rockpile Botticelli Vineyard 2011

    Snoothrank:

    Something of a barnyard nose, but, thankfully, that does not seem to translate on the taste buds. Very pleasant plum and berry flavor on entryslightly tart. Some dustiness. Some wood. Nice big, mouth-filling wine. Very moderate tannins still hanging around. Read More

    Wine review by EMark


  • Dry Creek Vineyard Meritage Dry Creek Valley 2013

    Snoothrank:

    Candied cranberry and plum aromas with a fresh floral note and hints of licorice. Dry and earthy on the palate with blackberry and black currant fruit, strong tannins and cola notes, good acidity but the main driver here is the earth throughout. Read More

    Wine review by Snooth Editorial


  • Keating Montecillo Vineyard Zinfandel Moon Mountain District 2015

    Snoothrank:

    Red plum fruit. Mouth-filling. I want to think jammy, but there is not the sweetness that comes with jammy wines. Some herbalness mid-palatealmost minty. A fair amount of tannin, but not over the top. Good everyday drinker. Read More

    Wine review by EMark


  • Macmurray Estate Vineyards Pinot Gris Russian River Valley 2016

    Snoothrank:

    Highly floral aromas of light orange blossom and honeysuckle, light melon and apple. Cool fruit notes, honeyed melon, grapefruit and lime with searing acidity and a tart, fresh finish. Read More

    Wine review by Snooth Editorial


  • Wind Gap Sonoma Coast Gap's Crown Vineyard Pinot Noir 2015

    Snoothrank:

    Garnet color with a fair amount of light coming through. Lots of red fruitcherry, strawberryon the tip of the tongue. Some pretty serious acid prevents it from seeming syrupy. In fact, the descriptive word that comes to mind is lean. Not terribly complex to my palate, but, certainly, not offensive. Read More

    Wine review by EMark


  • Rodney Strong Sonoma County Chardonnay 2016

    Snoothrank:

    Lightly herbed citrus aromas with a light cream note. This is mouthwatering and juicy on the palate and full of fresh fruit notes of baked apple, pear and peach with a touch of pineapple. Its juicy and a bit spicy with just enough acidity to add freshness and a cool finish thats creamy and smooth. Lovely.90 pts Read More

    Wine review by Snooth Editorial


  • Williams-Selyem Zinfandel Russian River Valley Papera Vineyard 2013

    Snoothrank:

    Nice, slightly tart, red fruit. Suggestions of wood or bramble, but suggestions, only. Some herbalnessIm getting parsley. Reasonable tannic backbone but, also quite restrained. I am enjoying this wine, but Im glad I am taking it out of storage. Read More

    Wine review by EMark


  • Rodney Strong Vineyards Merlot Sonoma County 2014

    Snoothrank:

    Creamy black currant and vanilla bean aromas with a touch of blackberry syrup and black pepper spice. Delightfully plummy and warm on the palate with dark chocolate and mixed berry aromas, some tart earth, freshness coming from the acidity and an earthy finish thats a touch herbal. Really nice bottle thats overall warm, creamy with nice body and... Read More

    Wine review by Snooth Editorial


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