There are many diverse wine growing regions in Sonoma County. Each has a unique climate and geography and directly correlates to the wine in your glass. From warm, sunny days to cooler, fog covered valley floors, the variations in the geography and climate influence each individual region in many ways.

“Sonoma County is an incredible spot to make many different styles of wines—it’s almost like a whole country in one county.”

-Keith Goldston, Master Sommelier

Alexander Valley

Almost as warm as Knights Valley, Alexander Valley has gravelly soil that produces some of the county’s richest Cabernet Sauvignon, along with flavorful, ripe Chardonnay. The Valley’s hillsides produce complex and concentrated Zinfandel, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Learn More About Alexander Valley

14449
Vineyard Acres
43
Wineries
1984
Established In

Cabernet Sauvignon
Key Variety

Bennett Valley

Merlot shines in Bennett Valley like nowhere else, with volcanic-laced, clayey soils and a moderately cool climate that results in extended hang time. The long growing season helps maximize flavors and increase concentration, while the cooler temperatures preserve the grapes’ natural acidity.

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700
Vineyard Acres
17
Wineries
2003
Established In

Chardonnay, Merlot
Key Varieties

Carneros

One of the world’s premier winegrowing regions, Carneros is a cool climate appellation known for its unassailable Chardonnays, elegant Pinot Noirs and spectacular sparkling wines. Fun fact: Carneros was the first wine region based on climate rather than political boundaries.

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6481
Vineyard Acres
22
Wineries
1983
Established In

Chardonnay, Pinot Noir
Key Varieties

Chalk Hill

Soil, climate and elevation all separate Chalk Hill from other parts of Sonoma’s
Russian River Valley. Occupying the northeast corner of the Russian River AVA, Chalk Hill is named for its chalky white ash soils. These mildly fertile soils lend themselves to the production of excellent whites, particularly Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

Learn More About Chalk Hill

1491
Vineyard Acres
5
Wineries
1983
Established In

Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon
Key Varieties

Dry Creek Valley

Approximately 16 miles long and two miles wide, Dry Creek Valley is one of the smallest enclosed American Viticultural Areas. Roughly 9,300 acres of vineyards extend along the valley floor, the surrounding benchlands and hillsides, and 58 wineries produce a diverse selection of wines ranging from the renowned Zinfandels to Bordeaux and Mediterranean varietals.

Learn More About Dry Creek Valley

8055
Vineyard Acres
63
Wineries
1983
Established In

Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon
Key Varieties

Fort Ross – Seaview

Fort Ross-Seaview American viticultural area is located in the western part of Sonoma County, close to the Pacific Ocean, Vineyards within this area are generally located on rounded ridges with summits extending above 1,200 feet consisting of steep, mountainous terrain made up of canyons, narrow valleys, ridges and 800- to 1,800-foot peaks.

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715
Vineyard Acres
5
Wineries
2012
Established In

Pinot Noir
Key Variety

Fountaingrove District

Located in a section of eastern Sonoma County that is comprised of 500 hillside acres. Home to five wineries and more than 35 vineyards, the new AVA is noted for its Bordeaux varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc as well as Syrah and Zinfandel. The area is surrounded by Sonoma Valley and Bennett Valley to the south, Knights Valley and Chalk Hill to the north, and the Russian River Valley to the west. The most remarkable feature of the new district is its elevation, up to more than 2,000 feet in some places, as well as a marine influence caused by a gap in the mountains in Santa Rosa.

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500
Vineyard Acres
5
Wineries
2015
Established In

Pinot Noir
Key Variety

Green Valley

Foggy and filled with Goldridge soil for growing perfect Pinot Noir, Green Valley is one of the smallest appellations in Sonoma County. It’s very tightly delineated, both geographically and climatically, and is the most consistent of any North Coast appellation in terms of soil, climate and flavor.

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2860
Vineyard Acres
10
Wineries
1983
Established In

Chardonnay, Pinot Noir
Key Varieties

Knights Valley

Knights Valley, the most remote of Sonoma County’s appellations, snuggles up against Mt. St. Helena, the area’s most influential geographical feature. The unique character of this appellation can be discovered in its mountain vineyards, where ideal growing conditions have resulted in Cabernet Sauvignon of regal quality.

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2496
Vineyard Acres
2
Wineries
1983
Established In

Cabernet Sauvignon
Key Variety

Moon Mountain

Moon Mountain District lies east of Highway 12 and spans 17,663 acres, which includes 1,500 acres of commercial vineyards planted at elevations from 400 to 2,200 feet. It’s located within the Sonoma Valley AVA, but the Moon Mountain vintners and growers have long wanted to distinguish their high elevation wines on the labels.

Learn More About Moon Mountain

1500
Vineyard Acres
4
Wineries
2013
Established In

Cabernet Sauvignon
Key Variety

Northern Sonoma

This AVA is as vast and amorphous as its name, encompassing Chalk Hill, Knights Valley, Alexander Valley, Dry Creek Valley, Russian River Valley and most of Green Valley.

329000
Vineyard Acres
1990
Established In

Cabernet Sauvignon
Key Variety

Pine Mountain – Cloverdale Peak

This viticultural area is totally within the multi-county North Coast viticultural area, and overlaps the northernmost portions of the Alexander Valley viticultural AVA and the Northern Sonoma AVA. The distinguishing features of this region include mountainous soils, steep topography with high elevations and a growing season climate that contrasts with the climate of the Alexander Valley floor below.

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310
Vineyard Acres
1
Wineries
2011
Established In

Cabernet Sauvignon
Key Variety

Rockpile

Spreading west of Lake Sonoma to the Mendocino County border, Rockpile is known for intensely-flavored red grape varietals with great concentration and balance. The elevations of up to 1,900 feet expose the vines to more California warmth and sunshine, boosting their ripeness and richness.

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192
Vineyard Acres
0
Wineries
2002
Established In

Zinfandel
Key Variety

Russian River Valley

The Russian River Valley climate is sculpted by the regular intrusion of cooling fog from the Pacific Ocean a few miles to the west. The fog arrives in the evening, often dropping the temperature 35 to 40 degrees from its daytime high, and retreats to the ocean the following morning. This natural air-conditioning allows the grapes to develop full flavor maturity over an extended growing season.

Learn More About Russian River Valley

13896
Vineyard Acres
94
Wineries
1983
Established In

Chardonnay, Pinot Noir
Key Varieties

Sonoma Coast

The Sonoma Coast AVA extends from San Pablo Bay to the border with Mendocino County. The appellation is known for its cool climate and high rainfall relative to other parts of Sonoma County. Close to the Pacific, with more than twice the annual rainfall of its inland neighbors, it’s warm enough to ripen wine grapes because most vineyards are above the fog line.

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5055
Vineyard Acres
7
Wineries
1987
Established In

Chardonnay, Pinot Noir
Key Varieties

Sonoma Mountain

The 2,400-foot Sonoma Mountain range rises above the town of Glen Ellen at the western edge of the Valley of the Moon. These vineyards fall within the larger Sonoma Valley AVA. However, due to the unique hillside terroir, they are entitled to use the more specific designation of the Sonoma Mountain AVA. Powerful, yet elegant Cabernet Sauvignons – the appellation’s specialty – grow here on well-drained soils.

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667
Vineyard Acres
3
Wineries
1985
Established In

Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay
Key Varieties

Sonoma Valley

The Sonoma Valley AVA centers on the Sonoma Valley 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. Along with being the center of Sonoma County’s winemaking history, the area is also known for its unique terroir, protected from the wet and cool influence of the nearby Pacific Ocean by Sonoma Mountain.

Learn More About Sonoma Valley

5565
Vineyard Acres
81
Wineries
1981
Established In

Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay
Key Varieties

Discover the Different Types of Grapes Grown in Sonoma County >