When you refer to Sonoma, you might be referring to one of three geographic areas that share the same name: the town of Sonoma, the renowned Sonoma Valley wine region or Sonoma County.
Sonoma, the town, is the heartbeat of Sonoma Valley. The last and northernmost Spanish-Mexican mission built along California’s historic El Camino Real is located in the square. It’s the only California mission to be established under Mexican rule, independent of Spain. This was also the location of the Bear Flag Revolt, which transferred ownership of California from Mexico to the United States.
At eight acres, Sonoma Plaza is the largest town plaza in California. Shops, restaurants, wine tasting rooms and art galleries surround the plaza. Also located nearby is Sonoma Historical State Park, which includes the Mission San Francisco de Solano, General Vallejo’s barracks, a museum and other historic buildings.
Sonoma Valley is the birthplace of California’s world-renowned wine industry began. It was missionaries who planted the first crops of grapes to make wine for the Holy Eucharist. Today there are more than 40 premium wineries, all just a short distance apart in a scenic 17-mile span, including California’s oldest commercial winery, Buena Vista.
American author Jack London forever popularized the endearment “Valley of the Moon,” with a novel of the same title. Jack London State Historic Park, near Glen Ellen, is the location of his final home.
Sonoma County encompasses a million acres with over 400 wineries divided into 16 unique wine-growing regions. The diverse landscape of Sonoma County stretches beyond vineyards to include soaring redwood forests, quaint villages and rugged ocean coastline.
There’s no shortage of award-winning cuisine coming out of more than 500 Sonoma eateries. The same Mediterranean climate that produces award-winning wines is ideal for producing artisan cheeses, bountiful fruits and vegetables, as well as livestock and seafood, defining “farm to table”.
Part of California’s “Wine Country,” Sonoma County is just west of Napa County and 45 minutes north of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge.