Sonoma | Napa

While living in or visiting Sonoma County, navigate to your favorite browser to Google and search ‘winery near me.’

Wine has been made in The States for around 400 years, but it is only in the last 40 that American wine really began to earn respect on a global scale. The U.S. is now the world’s fourth-biggest wine-producing nation (behind France, Italy, and Spain) and produces roughly 18.5 million hectoliters each year.

All 50 U.S states have enough diversity of macro-climates to produce wine to some extent. Even Alaska has a few wineries, though focus is, understandably enough, placed on fruit wine and the occasional ice wine.

However California accounts for around 85 percent of national output. This volume – 685 million US gallons (2.6 billion liters) in 2018 – is about nine times more than the combined total of the next three: Washington, Oregon, and New York.

Sonoma County

picture of Sonoma County
Route 1, Bridge over Russian River, Sonoma County, California
  • Russian River Valley: the appellation was granted AVA status in 1983 and accounts for about one-sixth of the total planted vineyard acreage in Sonoma County. In 2005 the AVA was expanded by 30,200 acres (122 km2) to 126,600 by recognizing previously overlooked portions of the fog regions. Presently the Russian River AVA includes more than 15,000 acres (61 km2) planted to wine grapes. The area is known for its success with cool climate varietals, notably Pinot noir and Chardonnay. Search ‘Russian River Valley winery’
  • Alexander Valley: In 1840 Cyrus Alexander arrived in what we know today as the Alexander Valley. “The brightest and the best spot in the world” he declared. Cyrus and employer/partner Henry Fitch applied for and received a land grant of 48,800 acres from the Mexican government, Rancho Sotoyome. Cyrus would manage the ranch for at least four years and in turn, would receive 8,800 acres of land as payment for services rendered. Cyrus was to be the first to grow vines here. Others would move into the valley over time, planting grapes and other crops over the ensuing decades, first Mission grapes but later Zinfandel, Chardonnay, and Cabernet Sauvignon. By 1889 the first commercial winery in Alexander Valley was built – Lone Pine Vineyard by Shadrach Osborn. Quickly followed was Horace Chase’s Red Winery, whose first winemaker was Broder Frellson. Broder’s daughter Reta would later marry Osborn’s son William, and begin a family lineage of grape growing and winemaking that continues to this day. A good search to try in Google is ‘Alexander Valley wineries’
  • Sonoma Valley: Sonoma Valley is a valley located in southeastern Sonoma County, California, in the North Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area. Known as the birthplace of the California wine industry, the valley is home to some of the earliest vineyards and wineries in the state, some of which survived the phylloxera epidemic of the 1870s and the impact of prohibition in the early 20th century. Today, the valley’s wines are protected by the U.S. Federal Government’s Sonoma Valley and Carneros AVAs (or American Viticultural Areas).

Napa Valley

Savor Napa Valley’s award-winning wines and top-rated restaurants while soaking up its sun-drenched vineyards. Flanked by two mountain ranges, the Napa Valley spans 43,000 vineyard acres and boasts a unique Mediterranean climate that makes for ideal grape growing conditions—especially bold cabernet sauvignon, oak-influenced chardonnay, and fruit-forward merlot.