Sonoma Valley AVA
Grapes growing in a vineyard in the Sonoma Valley AVA.
|Type||American Viticultural Area|
|Year established||1981, amended in 1985 and 1987|
|Part of||California, North Coast AVA, Sonoma Coast AVA, Sonoma County|
|Sub-regions||Bennett Valley AVA, Los Carneros AVA, Sonoma Mountain AVA|
|Size of planted vineyards||60,065 acres (24,307 ha)|
|Grapes produced||Aleatico, Alicante Bouschet, Barbera, Burger, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignane, Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, Grand noir, Grenache, Lenoir, Malbec, Merlot, Mourvedre, Muscadelle, Muscat Canelli, Nebbiolo, Palomino, Petit Bouschet, Petit Verdot, Petite Sirah, Pinot noir, Riesling, Sangiovese, Sauvignon blanc, Semillon, Silvaner, Syrah, Tempranillo, Teroldego, Trousseau gris, Viognier, Zinfandel|
|No. of wineries||254|
The Sonoma Valley AVA is an American Viticultural Area in Sonoma County, California, USA which centers on the Sonoma Valley (also known as The Valley of the Moon) in the southern portion of the county. The appellation is bordered by two mountain ranges: the Mayacamas Mountains to the east and the Sonoma Mountains to the west.
Sonoma Valley has played a significant role in the history of California wine. The first vineyards in the valley were planted by Franciscan monks at Mission San Francisco Solano in 1823. In 1857, Agoston Haraszthy established one of California's first successful commercial wineries here when he founded Buena Vista Winery. By 1920, there were 256 wineries in Sonoma Valley with more than 20,000 acres (8,100 ha) planted to grape vines. Prohibition affected Sonoma Valley as hard as any other wine region in California, and most wineries were unable to continue operating. Recovery after the repeal of Prohibition in 1933 was slow. Even in 1969, there were only 58 bonded wineries in Sonoma Valley. The wine industry in the valley began to expand rapidly in the 1970s and 1980s. Official boundaries for the Sonoma Valley wine region were codified into federal law in 1981 as the eighth designated American Viticultural Area. By 2005, there were 254 wineries, and over 65,000 acres (26,000 ha) under vine. The wine industry annually contributes over $8 billion USD to the local economy.
Climate and geography
The area is known for its unique terroir with Sonoma Mountain protecting the area from the wet and cool influence of the nearby Pacific Ocean. The Sonoma Mountains to the west help protect the valley from excessive rainfall. The cool air that does affect the region comes northward from San Pablo Bay through the Los Carneros region and southward from the Santa Rosa Plain.
- Code of Federal Regulations. "§ 9.29 Sonoma Valley." Title 27: Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; Part 9 — American Viticultural Areas; Subpart C — Approved American Viticultural Areas. Retrieved Jan. 4, 2008.
- Heintz, William (2005). "History". Sonoma County Winegrape Commission. Retrieved Jan. 4, 2008.
- Appellation America (2007). "Sonoma Valley (AVA): Appellation Description". Retrieved Jan. 4, 2008.