Sonoma's Secrets: Soil and Sun

By Mackenzie Hutson May 21, 2019

Whether relaxing, wine tasting, or hiking bring you to Sonoma County, the long sunny days, crisp coastlines, and bustling culinary scene will entice you to stay. With more than 50 grape varietals grown throughout the region, more than 40 spas for much-needed relaxation, and 140 miles of trails, there is something for everyone.

Located 80 miles north of San Francisco, the dry, warm days mix with a cool breeze from the Pacific, pulling in an evening layer of fog and creating the ideal conditions for growing grapes. The region as a whole is known for these temperatures, which help maintain the complexity of the grapes, but due to its unique terroirs,the county is divided into 18 separate American Viticultural Areas (AVAs)—each with distinctive characteristics and wine specialties ranging from Chardonnay to Cabernet Sauvignon. These AVAs are spread across the coast and up into the Mayacamas Mountains, contributing to Sonoma County’s status as the largest wine producer in Northern California, beating out the more famous Napa County. While the 425-plus wineries and high wine production may make one believe differently, only 6 percent of the county is planted with vineyards, leaving the rest open to state parks, renowned restaurants, oceanic outlooks, high-class shopping, and entertainment.

It is not difficult to find a place to eat in Sonoma County, though it may be hard to choose between so many options. Rustic modernity adorns the plethora of restaurants who serve farm-to-table meals from brunch to dinner. The world is your oyster in this coastal county, which features restaurants offering everything from seafood to charcuterie and sunset views to Michelin stars.

In between meals, visit the downtown shops to pick up locally made goat’s milk, treat yourself to a honey spa treatment, walk the miles of  fir lined trails at Jack London State Historic Park, or head to Sugarloaf Ridge State Park, where a 25-foot waterfall cascades down the rocky edge in the springtime.