Sonoma County has 18 wine growing regions (American Viticulture Areas or AVAs), and they are all affected by their climate in different ways. Some are coastal (such as Sonoma Coast and Fort-Ross Seaview - it's in the name), and feel the cooling effects of morning fogs. Others are further inland (such as Alexander Valley and Chalk Hill), benefiting from a long ripening season and water stress (this is a good thing, honestly!). This means that the wines produced around Sonoma are subject to different conditions, giving a great variety.
Around 29% of grapes grown in Sonoma County are Pinot Noir. Cooler fogs in the coastal regions give the perfect conditions for Pinot Noir to thrive. Look out for Pinot from the Sonoma Coast for elegant minerality and good acidity, and Los Carneros for a riper, fuller bodied wine. Wines with jammy fruits flavours go well with duck and big casserole dishes. Lighter fruity versions suit vegetable pasta dishes or chicken.
- Cabernet Sauvignon. Unsurprisingly, America's most common red grape grows here too! We recommend a few years of ageing. Expect cedar oak and cherries.
- Merlot. Excellent for smooth tannins and good value, Merlot is a popular choice for a dinner party! Expect cherries and currants, with a good character.
- Syrah. This up and coming grape is hugely affected by the climate. In cooler areas, its acidity has time to develop and give a peppery note.
One thing the majority of Sonoma can agree on though, is sustainability. 99% of Sonoma County vineyards are certified sustainable!