Brief History (in dates)
1823 - The Spanish Franciscan Father José Altamira planted several thousand vines in the Sonoma mission
1857 - The Hungarian nobleman, Agoston Haraszthy, known as the "Winegrower's father in California," founded the Buena Vista winery in the Sonoma Valley.
1873 - The Philoxera outbreak reaches California.
1933 - After thirteen years, the ban on the production and sale of alcohol, also known as the Dry regime, was abolished. In California, 700 wineries survive 180, and in Sonoma there are less than 50.
1933-45 - World War II interrupts imports of French wines, helping winegrowers in Sonoma County to revive their consumption of local wines.
60's - The 1960s of the last century redefined many aspects of American life. Americans travel to Europe and start to move closer to European. Hippies drink wine to revolt against their parents who drink cocktails and California winemakers begin to make world-class wines. The result is astounding - a 40% increase in US wine consumption between 1968 and 1972.
1976 - “The verdict of Paris” - brings California's guilt to the world stage. On a blind tasting in Chardonnay and Red, the French tasters give first place to American representatives.
80's - Sonoma County is known as a dairy, cereal and fruit producer. Grapes remain in fourth place. Until 1989 this changed and it became the main source of turnover in the county. Technological advances in wine production improve wines to meet the more complex tastes of consumers.
Sonoma Valley is part of the San Francisco Bay area, about 50 kilometers north of the city in Sonoma County, which borders the Marin districts, Napa, Lake, Mendosino and the Pacific Ocean and the San Pablo Bay. Its coastline is 80km long.
Most wine regions in the world benefit from the presence of rivers or water basins around them. Sonoma Valley is heavily influenced by the immediate vicinity of the Pacific Ocean. The Sonoma Mountains from the west and Maiakamas from the east make a corridor that ventilates the valley of oceanic breezes that cleanse the mists. Summer is long and dry, and the winter is short and wet - a typical Mediterranean climate found in very few places around the world. The difference is that the Sonoma is a bit warmer and the seasons are more stable and predictable, making the grape harvesting decision less dramatic in terms of rainfall.
It is difficult to find a single feature that summarizes the geography of Sonoma. Long before the vines stay here, Sonoma County was an inland sea. The tectonic cataclysms of the coastal slabs create the current Maiakamas mountains, which form the eastern border of the county and determine the structure of soils mixed with ash and lava. Thanks to millions of years of overlaying and mixing of the layers, Sonoma is home to more soils than all of France. Such diversity is a paradise for every winery. Only in the Sonoma Valley AVA are over fifteen species.
Vineyards and Varieties
Sonoma Valley AVA grows a wide variety of varieties, but six of them make almost 94% of the volume: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah.
Wine Production and Wines
The wines of Sonoma Valley emit the remarkable diversity of the region. The vast palette of terrain, soils and microclimates is revealed in wines with almost unlimited depth and complexity. This allows wine growers to make a broader range varieties and styles: lush and dense Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, who are deliciously perfected in the cooler areas near San Francisco Bay, Zinfandel, perfected in the lowlands - all that a person loving wine may wish for from an enchanting wine region.