Sauvignon Blanc in Sonoma County

Lambert Bridge Winery

Crisp and refreshing, yet seriously structured at its best, Sauvignon Blanc is the second-most popular varietal white wine in Sonoma County. If you’re looking for a Sauvignon Blanc to hold its own amongst Old World and New World expressions alike, you’ll enjoy discovering Sonoma County’s bounty.

Sauvignon Blanc Key Facts

A bin of grapes being dumped at harvest time

One parent of the red grape Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc is an important white grape in Bordeaux, France, where it’s often made as a dry white or combined with Semillon to make a sweet or dessert wine. Sauvignon Blanc grown in the more northern Loire Valley of France, notably the regions Sancerre and Pouilly-FumĂ©, is revered for its high acidity and mineral notes.

More recently, the New World producers of New Zealand have defined an iconic style of grassy, fresh and fruity Sauvignon Blanc.

Sauvignon Blanc in Sonoma County

Crushed Sauvignon Blanc grapes in a bin

Sauvignon Blanc is the second-most planted white wine grape in Sonoma County, albeit at less than one-fifth of Chardonnay’s reign. In 2020, 14,125 tons of Sauvignon Blanc were crushed at an average price of $1,554 per ton; that same year, 47, 878 tons of Chardonnay were crushed at an average per-ton price of $2,311.

Sauvignon Blanc Style

A glass of white wine next to the bottle on the tasting counter
Hanna Winery – Russian River Valley

As a parent of Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc shares a key organic kinship: pyrazines. These nitrogen-containing compounds express themselves as “green” aromas, most notably as the scent of green bell pepper. In Sauvignon Blanc, pyrazines are often expressed as notes of fresh-cut grass, green grape, gooseberry, dry hay, and/or straw. These aromas are sometimes buffered by “minerality,” or the flavor/sense of crushed stones, which adds weight and depth to an otherwise crisp, refreshing white wine.

When Sonoma County winemakers reference international styles, they often may refer to a more “mineral-driven” Loire or Sancerre style, or a more “fruit-driven” New Zealand style. However, these styles merely provide a basic roadmap to what’s possible for Sauvignon Blanc in these regions.

In terms of winemaking, Sauvignon Blanc may be aged in stainless steel, concrete eggs, or barrels. While a rounder, more oak-influenced style may be achieved in oak barrels, the wine is very rarely fermented in new oak or fermented malolactically, as is often the case with Chardonnay. When aged on its lees in tanks or barrels, Sauv Blanc (also called “SB,” or “Savvy”) may acquire a creamy top note, while barrel aging may round out flavors and even add a hint of smoke.

Sonoma County’s Key Sauvignon Blanc Regions

Alexander Valley

This warm region is best known for Bordeaux varieties, and Sauvignon Blanc finds a natural home in the gravelly soils.

Wineries: Rodney Strong (Charlotte’s Home vineyard), Roth, Francis Ford Coppola.

Dry Creek Valley

This sunny AVA is best known as Zinfandel country, but it’s absolutely a sweet spot for Sauvignon Blanc, as well.

Wineries: Ferrari-Carano, Quivira (Fig Tree vineyard), Lambert BridgeDry Creek Vineyard

Russian River Valley

This often-foggy AVA may be the most New Zealand-esque of Sonoma County regions, producing fresh, deep, fruity Sauvignon Blanc wines.

Wineries: Merry Edwards, Hanna

Bennett Valley

A uniquely frigid nook in the middle of the county, Bennett Valley is home to some exciting cooler climate Sauvignon Blancs.

Wineries: Matanzas Creek (offering a range of Sauv Blancs from Bennett Valley up to Knights Valley)

Sonoma Valley

There are just a few notable exceptions in this mostly red wine region.

Wineries: Kenwood Vineyards, Benziger Family Winery

Written by Sonoma Insider James Knight.

You Might Also Like

Comstock Wines, Healdsburg

As you plan your upcoming Sonoma County excursion, you imagine that your Wine Country ramble will unfold in a certain…

Hamel Family Wines, wine tasting and non-alcoholic tasting

With a massive flood of zero-proof beverages recently hitting the market, it’s become fairly easy to find nonalcoholic alternatives on…

Girls Getaway in Sonoma County
Food & Wine

Winter might be considered the off-season for many of the world’s hottest travel destinations, but a Wine Country visit between…

Farmhouse Inn exterior
Food & Wine

From Ben Affleck and Gwyneth Paltrow to Justin and Hailey Bieber, you may bump into a few celebrities at Sonoma…

The Valley of the Moon Vintage Festival (Julie Vader/For Sonoma Index-Tribune)
Events & Festivals

The finest of Sonoma County’s art and agriculture will be on full display this autumn in a myriad of both…

Couple at beach with dog
Outdoor Activities

Find hidden gems, outdoor adventures and more with tips from those who know the coast better than anyone: The locals….

Buena Vista Winery barrels

The term “ghost wineries” may conjure images of restless spirits wandering winery corridors, but it doesn’t refer to haunted vineyard…

Dishes from Farmhouse in Sonoma County

Underground pop-ups, food-centric wine bars, and farm-to-table favorites are gathering all kinds of momentum in Sonoma County. For this list,…

Goose and Fern Fish and Chips

Sonoma County has a growing number of restaurants that are staying open later. If you find yourself out after 9…


One of the satisfying perks of the 21st century is being able to order just about anything and have it…

See What’s Happening

Share your experience using #SonomaCounty or #LifeOpensUp