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Sonoma County Essential Info

Overview

Sonoma County, located in California's North Coast in the San Francisco Bay Area, is about 45 minutes north of San Francisco. The area has the same post-60s flavor of Marin County, and the same sophisticated oenophilia as Napa to the East. Its coastal region is beautiful and rugged, and the agricultural pastureland is some of the most quintessentially beautiful to be found in California. It's less touristy than nearby Napa Valley, and it has a distinctive vintage charm that sets it apart from its neighbor.

Sonoma's 425-plus wineries are one of the main attractions. Main wine varieties produced include zinfandel, pinot noir, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc (also called "fume blanc"), cabernet sauvignon, merlot, syrah.

Sonoma County also has some of the best restaurants in Northern California, catering to all budgets. You can easily find restaurants ranging from budget to upscale, with cuisines running the gamut from Vietnamese to Italian to Turkish to Oaxacan. It is a food-lover's paradise.
Due to the varied scenery in Sonoma County and proximity to the city of San Francisco, a large number of motion pictures have been filmed using venues within the county. Some of the earliest U.S. filmmaking occurred in Sonoma County such as Salomy Jane (1914) and one of Broncho Billy Anderson's 1915 Westerns. Many of these films are classics in American cinematography such as the 1947 film The Farmer's Daughter (starring Joseph Cotten and Loretta Young) and two Alfred Hitchcock films, Shadow of a Doubt of 1943, filmed and set in Santa Rosa and The Birds of 1963, filmed largely in Bodega Bay and Bodega. Many other modern classics have used Sonoma County as a filming venue, including American Graffiti, filmed largely in Petaluma.

Basics

Best Time To Go

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Year round

Fun Facts

  1. 80% of the scenes in Bottleshock, the movie about the wine tasting victory of a Napa Valley chardonnay over France's best whites in 1976, were actually shot in Sonoma.
  2. Sonoma is considered the birthplace of wine-making in California, dating back to the original vineyards of Mission San Francisco Solano, with improvements made by Agoston Haraszthy, the father of California viticulture and credited with introduction of the Zinfandel/Primitivo grape varietal.
  3. John Lasseter, an animator and the chief creative executive at Pixar Animation Studioswho won Academy Awards for ToyStory, reside in the Sonoma Valley area of the city, with his family.
  4. Sonoma Plaza is surrounded by many historical buildings, including the Mission San Francisco Solano, Captain Salvador Vallejo's Casa Grande, the Presidio of Sonoma, the Blue Wing Inn, the Sebastiani Theatre, and the Toscano Hotel.

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