Sonoma Valley AVA

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Sonoma Valley AVA
Wine region
The view from Gloria Ferrer - Stierch.jpg
TypeAmerican Viticultural Area
Year established1981, amended in 1985 and 1987[1]
CountryUnited States
Part ofCalifornia, North Coast AVA, Sonoma Coast AVA, Sonoma County
Sub-regionsBennett Valley AVA, Los Carneros AVA, Sonoma Mountain AVA, Moon Mountain District Sonoma County AVA[2]
Size of planted vineyards60,065 acres (24,307 ha)[3]
Grapes producedAleatico, 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[4]
No. of wineries254[3]

The Sonoma Valley AVA is an American Viticultural Area in Sonoma County, California which centers on the Sonoma Valley in the southern portion of the county. The name 'Sonoma' means 'Valley of the Moon' in the local Native American dialect.[5] The appellation is bordered by two mountain ranges: the Mayacamas Mountains to the east and the Sonoma Mountains to the west.


Grapes growing in the Sonoma Valley AVA

Sonoma Valley has played a significant role in the history of California wine. The first vineyards in the valley were planted by Franciscan friars 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.[4] 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, and only about 50 wineries survived.[6]

In 1969, there were still only 58 bonded wineries in Sonoma Valley. The wine industry in the valley began to expand rapidly in the 1970s and 1980s. By 1975 some 24,000 acres (9,700 ha.) were under plantation.[6] 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.[3]

Climate and geography[edit]

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.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "§9.29 Sonoma Valley" (Title 27: Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; Part 9 — American Viticultural Areas; Subpart C — Approved American Viticultural Areas). Code of Federal Regulations (e-CFR). Retrieved January 4, 2008.
  2. ^ "Establishment of the Moon Mountain District Sonoma County Viticultural Area" (78 FR 60690 27 CFR 9 Doc#: 2013-23942). Federal Register. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. October 2, 2013. pp. 60690–60693.
  3. ^ a b c Heintz, William (2005). "History". Sonoma County Winegrape Commission. Archived from the original on January 7, 2008. Retrieved January 4, 2008.
  4. ^ a b c "Sonoma Valley (AVA): Appellation Profile". Appellation America. 2007. Archived from the original on January 26, 2018. Retrieved January 4, 2008.
  5. ^ Bowman, J. N. (July 1, 1946). "The Meaning of the Name "Sonoma"". California Folklore Quarterly. Western States Folklore Society. 5 (3): 300–302. doi:10.2307/1495526. JSTOR 1495526.
  6. ^ a b History,, retrieved August 3, 2021

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 38°22′N 122°30′W / 38.367°N 122.500°W / 38.367; -122.500