If you have been alive for a while then you have probably heard of Sonoma County. Sonoma County is in the state of California, it’s county seat is Santa Rosa and the 2010 census put its population at 483,879. Sonoma County is known for its production of dairy and poultry products, hops, apples, and prunes. However one of its most important and biggest outputs are wines.
Sonoma County is the largest producer of wines amongst the California regions, has 13 approved AVAs under it and attracts around 7 million visitors every year.
A history of wine in Sonoma County
Sonoma was established in 1850 but grapes had been cultivated in the region as far back as 1812. A priest, Jose Altimira planted his vines in the thousands and as they grew and flourished, cuttings were taken to other parts of California to start up new vineyards. However, the grapes that were planted in vineyards then and yielded such high profits would not be considered high-grade varietals in today’s wineries. In the year 1855, arriving with over 100,000 cuttings of premium varietals, a Hungarian called Agoston Haraszthy arrived in Sonoma and purchased the Salvador Vallejo vineyards which helped establish the Sonoma country wine industry as we know it today.
Grape varieties of Sonoma County
There are over 1100 growers in Sonoma County which means there is no shortage of grape varieties to be found in this region. Its favorable California climate makes it easy for almost every grape variety to grow well here and yield rich harvests. Some of the grape varieties grown in Sonoma include
- Cabernet Sauvignon
- Cabernet Franc
- Pinot Noir
- Sauvignon Blanc
These grapes are used to produce remarkable blend wines, sparkling wines and interesting varietals with red wines taking the center stage.
Vineyards in Sonoma County
Wine tours and tastings would be nowhere near complete without a visit to the world famous Sonoma County vineyard and wineries. The vineyards are open for mixed or private tours where visitors can observe everything from grape picking and select to processing and touring of wine cellars. There are over 425 vineyards in Sonoma which are owned and run meticulously by the same families for generations. The wines are filled with the acidity and flavors of the grapes as well as the traditions and winemaking skills of the winemakers themselves. Approximately 60,000 acres (24,281 hectares) by the year 2016 of vineyards were planted in Sonoma County
Sonoma County has so much to offer tourists, visitors and locals alike. It’s elegance, scenery and award winning wines are part of what make Sonoma County sit among the most noteworthy and popular wine regions in the world that produce a high yield of quality grapes every year. Although some parts of Sonoma like Santa Rosa were devastated by the 2017 wildfires, their wine industry is recovering rapidly and continues to produce excellent vintages. Examples of wines from Sonoma County include Marcassin ‘Marcassin Vineyard’ Pinot Noir, Ridge Vineyards Geyserville Zinfandel, and Verite La Joie.