Facts About Sonoma Wine Country
Stretching from the Pacific Ocean in the west to the Mayacamas Mountains in the east, Sonoma County is the largest wine producer in Northern California's Wine Country region, which also includes Napa, Mendocino, and Lake Counties. Sonoma County wines enjoy global recognition and have won countless national and international wine awards since the 19th century.
Why is Sonoma County such a good region for wine?
Two prime reasons: climate and soil. Sonoma County offers grape growers a wide variety of climate and soil conditions, known as terroir.
The climate is ideal for growing grapes, with long, dry, sunny, warm-but-rarely-hot summer days buttressed by cool nights, ocean breezes and fog.
Oceanic fog drifts through the Petaluma Gap into the interior valleys, helping create daily temperature swings of 40 degrees or more, a diurnal range that preserves acidity and complexity in the county's winegrapes.
Also remarkable here is the wide-ranging nature of the soil. With the Mayacamas Mountains, the rolling hills of the Carneros, the Russian River Valley, coastal hills, and other geographical features, Sonoma County has more soil types than all of France, ranging from rich and loamy to volcanic/rocky and well drained.
How many different winegrapes are grown in Sonoma County?
More than 60 grape varieties are grown in Sonoma County, but just six take precedence. During the 2021 harvest, the following tons of these grape varieties were crushed in Sonoma County:
- Chardonnay: 66,265 tons
- Pinot Noir: 47,768 tons
- Cabernet Sauvignon: 40,348 tons
- Sauvignon Blanc: 13,452 tons
- Zinfandel: 11,102 tons
- Merlot: 7,627 tons
How many wine regions are there in Sonoma County?
Sonoma County's wealth of unique terroirs is reflected in the county's 18 distinct American Viticultural Areas (known as AVAs or appellations), each with its own distinctive characteristics:
- Alexander Valley
- Bennett Valley
- Carneros - Sonoma
- Chalk Hill
- Dry Creek Valley
- Fountaingrove District
- Fort Ross - Seaview
- Green Valley of Russian River Valley
- Knights Valley
- Moon Mountain
- Northern Sonoma
- Petaluma Gap
- Pine Mountain - Cloverdale Peak
- Russian River Valley
- Sonoma Coast
- Sonoma Mountain
- Sonoma Valley
How many wineries are there in Sonoma County?
Sonoma County's 18 wine regions are home to more than 425 wineries. They range from small, family-run operations to internationally acclaimed wine houses. View our list of all Sonoma County wineries.
How much of Sonoma County is planted with grapes?
Only six percent of the county is planted to vineyard, or almost 63,000 acres of vineyards. So as you explore our wines, you'll do so against a beautiful backdrop of redwood forests, crashing ocean surf, broad plains and grasslands, a lush river valley, mountains, and rolling hills. And everywhere you go you'll find excellent restaurants, fine hotels, fun activities and opportunities for outdoor adventure.
Enjoy your time in Sonoma Wine Country. View our list of all Sonoma County wineries.
Written by Sonoma Insider Suzie Rodriguez