Sonoma’s Sunlit Wine Lifestyle
The wine lifestyle continues in the bright and sunny Sonoma County. Known American wines come from this place, which is one of the most important wine-producing regions in the United States. With the county’s help, California was able to become the nation’s largest wine-producing state, with Californian wines accounting for 89% of the United States’ total production.
Hosting 60,000 acres of vineyards and over 400 wineries, Sonoma enjoys global fame and has won both national and international awards for its distinct wines. However, the road to success has not always been easy for Sonoma, and it owes its present stature to the challenges and difficulties it has survived.
Sonoma County has transformed into the formidable wine industry giant it now is, and it comes with a rather peculiar tale.
Sonoma’s First Vines
Sonoma traces its viticulture history back to 1812 when a priest, Father Jose Altimira of the Mission San Francisco Solano planted the very first grapevine in the county. These vines became the forebears of several thousand more grapevines that thrived in both southern Sonoma County and Northern California. By 1854, the time of the Bear Flag Revolt, wine grapes had become a key part of the region’s agriculture.
After the Civil War, vineyards continued to prosper in Sonoma County, thanks to Agoston Haraszthy, a Hungarian, who bought Salvador Vallejo in 1855. He studied viticulture in Europe at the commission of the California Legislature, after which he returned to Sonoma, bringing over a hundred thousand cuttings of premium grape varietals. During that time, several wineries were established, including Foppiano, Korbel, Gundlach, and Sebastiani. All these still exist today.
Despite these highlights, Sonoma’s wine industry was not free from challenges. Sonoma was affected by The Prohibition. From 1920 to 1933, the government prohibited the production, sale, and transportation of liquors. This was a heavy blow to the American wine industry because winemakers were forced to abandon their vineyards or choose to plant crops instead of grapes.
The ban may have ended in 1933, but it took around 40 years for the American wine industry to recover. For Sonoma, it was only in 1999 when their vineyards bounced back to expand to more than 49,000 acres. These were operated by over 900 growers and bonded wineries.
Since the recovery, Sonoma’s wine industry has remained productive with continued wine warehousing and storage. It continued and established itself as a force in the American wine trade, eventually becoming a world-renowned wine region.
The Three Major Sections
Sonoma County’s three main sections are Sonoma Valley, Northern Sonoma, and Sonoma Coast. Each has their own American Viticultural Area (AVA) title. This title is given depending on the wine region’s climate and geography.
Sonoma Valley is the second most famous wine region in the United States, next to Napa Valley. It lies in the southeastern corner of Sonoma County.
The valley is known for its bright, intensely flavored wines due to its sufficiently cool and sunny weather. It also experiences denser and more persistent cooling fog.
Encompassing at least 10 AVAs such as the Russian River Valley and Alexander Valley, Northern Sonoma is larger and more complex than Sonoma Valley. The towns of Sebastapol and Santa Rosa, the county’s main wine vaults, mark Northern Sonoma’s southern limits.
On the other hand, closing the gap between Northern Sonoma and Sonoma Valley is Sonoma Coast. Its majority is close to the county’s coast while its southern half covers some 15 miles inland.
Big name grape varieties are harvested in Sonoma County. Cabernet Sauvignon is the most popular red variety in the county while Zinfandel, United States’ iconic red wine grape, can be found in warmer, drier spots. There are vineyards growing the stellar Cabernet Franc, as Merlot – the Cabernets’ Bordeaux stablemate – remains a significant variety. Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Syrah, and White Sauvignon Blanc are the other grape varieties found across Sonoma’s vineyards.
California is synonymous with fine weather and relaxation, and Sonoma County contributes a lot of luster to this West Coast gem. Though its rise to fame was not easy, Sonoma County has persevered from its very first vines to the world-renowned varieties it produces today. The future definitely looks bright for this wine county.
Trying out the wines from Sonoma doesn’t necessitate traveling all the way to the United States. Case in point is Singapore where luxurious wine cellars, rigged with state-of-the-art facilities and storage are available. Singapore Wine Vault has become an attraction, thanks to Sonoma’s wines as well as the tipple from all across the globe.