The Sonoma County wine region features numerous wineries making juice from a diverse selection of grape varietals. In fact, the county is the most diverse premium wine-grape growing region in the entire United States.
With so much to choose from – a travel guide can help you save time and energy running around. That is time that could be spent… Drinking Wine!!
For true wine-lovers looking to raise a glass (or two) in this award winning region, there is much to offer. A feast for the senses.
Sonoma County Wine – A prime spot for wine connoisseurs with 17 American viticultural areas producing around 6 percent of all the wine in California.
While there are more than enough Sonoma tasting rooms and wineries to keep imbibers happily raising a glass, for those people who want to explore a particular varietal or appellation, it is best to plan a route accordingly before setting out along the wine road.
Known for a laid-back, unpretentious tasting room vibe and the uncanny ability to put visitors in a relaxed state of mind, Sonoma County is a terrific place for travelers looking to try different grape varietals in one trip.
7 varieties make up about 90% of planted vineyard acres:
Chardonnay (16,000 acres)
Pinot Noir (13,000 acres)
Cabernet Sauvignon (12,000 acres)
Zinfandel (5,000 acres)
Merlot (4,500 acres)
Sauvignon Blanc (2,500 acres)
Syrah (1,600 acres)
Are YOU a big fan of Pinot Noir…? Or often find yourself in the Chardonnay aisle…?
It sounds as though Sonoma County may just be the perfect place to find yourself.
The pleasures of eating and drinking are celebrated each and every day. The County itself is large with a wide variety of terrain to explore.
Traveling from one side of the county to another can be time consuming. Cut your travel time down by planning your day’s itinerary based on region or favorite grape varietal.
Think first about the things that you would most want to visit during your stay. It is good to think in terms of the weather as well, Sonoma County has very different seasons.
Each season varies when it comes to vineyard views and also the size of the crowds you will find in the tasting rooms.
To make sure things go more smoothly… plan your trip during the season you think suits you and your travel companions. Whether it is less crowds in the winter season you are after… or views of the changing leaves in the Fall that attracts you to Sonoma… wine country is sure to please.
Since the popularity of the movie Sideways, it is a well known fact that many wine lovers flock to California wine tasting rooms to enjoy a glass of Pinot.
Sonoma County has been quickly developing into a mecca for Pinot Noir, including many small batch and new family owned producers. There are many varietals grown here but a few types of grapes that stand out from the rest, Pinot Noir included.
Although we do LOVE our Pinot in Sonoma, Chardonnay is the most abundant varietal in Sonoma County, with over 17,000 vineyard acres planted.
Sonoma County’s 17 American Viticulture Areas (AVAs) reflect the wide variety of climate and soil conditions in the County. 17 different regions in just one County shows the true diversity offered in this wine mecca.
Many wineries are able to offer a variety of bottles and grape blends to consumers all coming from the local vineyards of Sonoma. How is it possible to find just the right tasting room for YOU?!?
First and foremost – Find a good map.
Sonoma’s wine tasting rooms are spread out and the distance/ time between stops is important to lay out prior to getting on the road. If you are staying in Healdsburg… starting your tour with a visit to a winery in the town of Sonoma… would require almost an hour’s drive.
It is best to choose one region at a time or “per day” to visit. Again… no wasting precious wine drinking time with all that unnecessary driving.
Visit one area at a time and enjoy it all the more. “Google” it. Learn more about which tasting rooms are in the area you want to visit.
There are many wine growing regions here, each with its own unique climate, and growing conditions. The region that you visit should directly correlate to the types of flavors you will find in your wine glass.
For instance, the foggy terroir combined with gold-ridge soil in the Green Valley AVA is perfect for growing Pinot Noir while most of the areas in the higher elevation and hotter regions of Alexander Valley would be better suited for heartier varietals like Cabernet or Zinfandel.
What flavor notes do YOU like to discover in your wine glass??
Sonoma County Appellations (AVA): Alexander Valley, Bennett Valley, Carneros – Sonoma, Chalk Hill, Dry Creek Valley, Fort Ross – Seaview, Fountaingrove District, Green Valley of Russian River Valley, Knights Valley, Moon Mountain, Northern Sonoma, Pine Mountain – Cloverdale Peak, Rockpile, Russian River Valley, Sonoma Coast, Sonoma Mountain, Sonoma Valley.
Chardonnay & Pinot Noir To Die For
- Chalk Hill AVA
- Fort Ross / Seaview AVA
- Green Valley AVA
- Los Carneros AVA
- Russian River Valley AVA
- Sonoma Coast AVA
A Softer More Mellow Red
- Bennett Valley AVA
- Fountaingrove District AVA
- Knights Valley AVA
- Sonoma Valley AVA
- Northern Sonoma AVA
Full-Bodied Reds Rich In Flavor
- Alexander Valley AVA
- Dry Creek Valley AVA
- Moon Mountain District AVA
- Pine Mountain / Cloverdale Peak AVA
- Rockpile AVA
- Sonoma Mountain AVA
Sonoma County wines are just as diverse as they are delicious! Get your glass ready.
Spanning over 1 million square acres, a little planning goes a long way here. The best way to tour and experience wine in Sonoma is to try to concentrate on only one or two of these award winning regions on a visit. Don’t go “winging it” and hoping to drive around finding “just the right” place to stop and taste.
It can be tough to know where to begin. Narrowing it down to which wine varietals you want to taste should help you to determine the best region of Sonoma to visit. Start planning your tasting room route from there.
Take in the gorgeous scenery, smells, and tastes of world class vineyards. Sonoma County, California, stretches from the Pacific ocean to the Mayacamas Mountains and boasts more than 60,000 acres of vineyards with over 400 wineries to enjoy.
This Northern California wine region should be on any wine lover’s bucket list.
Choose an area and spend the day exploring that particular region, the wine, the foods and the terroir. Learn about each AVA separately… and understand the wine region as a whole… all the more.
Get ready to visit, sip, enjoy, taste, re-visit, take notes, and then do it all again at different locations next time you visit Sonoma County’s Wine Country!
Driving through the region is like getting lost in the french countryside. I look forward to seeing you there too… glass in hand of course.