4/30/2009

Land of the Living Liquid

Posted by The Wine Whore |

Fun Friday Wine Fact:
The History of Sonoma


"Wine is a living liquid..." Julia Child


Despite Napa Valley's slight eclipse over this region in proximity and reputation, Sonoma County is rich in history and significance to the world of wine. This Napa neighbor is nestled between 76 miles of rugged Pacific Ocean coastline to the west, and verdant landscapes of rolling hills and mountains to the east. Renowned with "Old California" character, this is one hotspot you'll want to explore on your next trip to wine country.

How did Sonoma begin its affair with wine?

Sonoma's wine heritage dates back to the early 1800�s as Russian colonists began to plant grapes along the coastline. The legacy of these vineyards blossomed in 1823 as Spanish Franciscan fathers planted several thousand grape vines at their northernmost California mission named San Francisco Solano. This effort was pioneered by Padre Jos� Altimera who recognized Sonoma for its "fertile land, mineral springs, waterways, abundant game, and mild climate".



Sonoma�s role in California�s history does not solely exist because of its vineyards. In fact, not far from the San Francisco Solano mission rests the home of the town plaza where California first exhibited its independence from Mexico. Aptly named after the furry creature waving atop the flagpole, the Bear Flag revolt signified independence from Mexican rule and the birthplace of American California.



To look at the plethora of wineries that now exist in Sonoma will make you wonder how they all came to make this location home. The rich history of wine in Sonoma County is actually attributed to "The Father of California Wine Industry ", Count Agoston Haraszthy who is credited for promoting the notion that Sonoma County could be home to fine wines. To ignite his cause, he immigrated over 100,000 cuttings of prized grape varietals from France, Italy and Spain into California. With so many wines being recognized for greatness from this region, it is clear that Haraszthy's belief successfully grew into reality.

Tradition lives on as Sonoma County continues to produce over 130,000 tons of grapes from nearly 48,000 acres of vineyards. Every bottle produced is an expression of Sonoma and the generations of family history which have united with years of diligent work to create its existence. Every wine is a living liquid born from these grapes imprinted with DNA of this legacy for us all to enjoy.


Be sure to also check out last week's Wine Fact.


(Read more wine reviews and info at The Wine Whore)


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