Gastronomy

Published on November 2nd, 2015 | by Molly Montgomery

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About Sonoma Wine Country

For Francophiles and French tourists, California’s Wine Country is the closest thing to the French countryside you can see without crossing the Atlantic. There is a healthy rivalry between French wine producers and California wine producers dating back decades as depicted in the film Bottle Shock (2008). Many wine lovers from both countries enjoy tours and tastings at wineries in California’s Napa Valley, the state’s most popular wine region. However, if you are visiting Napa, be sure to take a trip to neighboring Sonoma County, another important region for wine in California.

Sonoma County, in the outer region of the San Francisco Bay Area, boasts over 400 wineries, 17 American Viticulural Areas (AVAs) and many wine-related tourist attractions. Wine is only one of the many reasons to visit Sonoma County, however. The region is also known for its coastline and historic areas that have retained their small-town charm.

Sonoma County, mainly suburban and rural, is located just an hour north of San Francisco and contains the cities of Santa Rosa, Petaluma, Sonoma, Healdsburg, and Sebastopol, among others. The main city in the area is Santa Rosa, with a population of 167,000, and there are 500,000 people in the county. Even in the more urban areas of Santa Rosa, you can find grapes growing on the vine and farms on the outskirts of the city. Sonoma County
wine is very diverse. Zinfandels, Chardonnays, Cabernet Sauvignons, and Pinot Noirs are the most commonly grown wines in the region. There are hundreds of wineries to visit and various tours offered in Sonoma Wine Country, but below are a few of the highlights of the region.

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Francis Ford Coppola Winery. Photo by Decanter.

Francis Ford Coppola Winery
If you’re looking for a family friendly winery to visit in Sonoma County, you will want to visit the Francis Ford Coppola Winery. This winery, located in Geyserville, is owned by the famous director Francis Ford Coppola whose vision for the winery was to create a “wine wonderland.” In addition to wine tastings the winery, features a pool, restaurant, and a movie gallery with memorabilia from Coppola’s films. There are many family-oriented events throughout the year at the winery, including a just-for-kids smoothie tastings that your children can join while you are
tasting wine.
For more information, visit www.francisfordcoppolawinery.com.

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Buena Vista Winery. Photo by NapaValleyRegister.

Buena Vista Winery
The wineries in California may not have the centuries of history and tradition that exists in France, but the next best thing can be found at Buena Vista Winery. Founded in 1857, the Buena Vista Winery, located in the city of Sonoma, is one of the most historically significant wineries in California. The founder, Agoston Haraszthy, a Hungarian immigrant, brought back over 300 varieties of grapes from Europe to experiment with in his
vineyards in Sonoma. Today, you can visit this historic winery and its tasting room and learn about the history of winemaking in California. The winery also includes a museum exhibiting historic viticulture tools from France.
For more information, visit www.buenavistawinery.com.

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Jordan Winery. Photo by bararch.

Jordan Winery
The Jordan Winery Estate, located in Healdsburg, emulates the best French winery estates, combining wine, food, and hospitality. The property contains a chateau based on French architecture as well as vineyards, olive tree groves, and grazing land. The winery is known for its food and wine pairings available at its tastings. The Jordan Winery makes Cabernet
Sauvignon and Chardonnay, and is located in the Alexander Valley. Visitors can sign up for a food and wine tasting experience in the winery library and can also take a tour of the winery or the estate.
For more information, visit www.jordanwinery.com.

Preston Farm and Winery
At Preston of Dry Creek, a farm and winery also located in Healdsburg, you will find more than wine: you will also find fresh produce and handmade food products. The farm and winery are family-owned and certified organic, and the owners of the farm are food activists committed to agricultural sustainability. Visiting Preston, you will be able to taste wine and food
in an intimate setting while relaxing at the winery’s picnic grounds. Some of the food offered alongside the wine includes freshly made bread, cured olives, and seasonal produce such as organic vegetables, fruits, and nuts.
The farm and winery also make an appearance at Healdsburg’s farmer’s market every week.
For more information, visit www.prestonvineyards.com.

Heading Page Photo: Grayline


About the Author

is an English teaching assistant at a high school in France and a recent graduate of UCLA, where she studied English and French. Her writing has been published in *TravelAge West Magazine* and in various literary journals including *Westwind* and the *Blue Lake Review*.



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