Sonoma – The Valley of the Moon
Sonoma Valley with some of the oldest wineries in California, is believed to be the birthplace of California’s wine country. Though we have been to Napa Valley a couple of times, this was our first visit to Sonoma Valley. Both Sonoma and Napa are beautiful – rows of grapevines bordered by mountains in the distance. Sonoma appeared to be a lot less crowded than Napa. However, I think Napa has more wineries with beautiful architecture and unique themes.
Sonoma Valley was inhabited by native Indians tribes. In Sonoma Valley, spanish missionaries set up the last of the 21 Missions along the coast of California – Mission Solano. This was the only one of the 21 Missions to be established in California, under the rule of the newly independent Mexico. But soon the Mexican Govt. secularized the Mission and under General Vallejo, Sonoma Town was laid out with the historic plaza as the center. In 1846, Vallejo’s arrest and the raising of the ‘Bear Flag’ by some Americans paved way to a serious of events that resulted in America’s annexation of California.
We have visited wine country in early Spring when the mustard flowers offer a beautiful show. We have visited in early summer when the grapes are just babies. This time of the year the grapes are green on the vines are yet to become fleshy. Harvest season begins in a month or two. By August end or September the grapes will be purple on the vines.
Some wineries in Sonoma offer complimentary wine tasting like the Jacuzzi Winery. We also did ‘Chocolate Wine shots’ at Jacuzzi – sweet dessert wine in chocolate cups. Jacuzzi had complimentary olive oil tasting as well. We also visited Cline Winery which had a very comfortable swing-bench on its porch and Ledson Winery, locally known as ‘The Castle’. Ledson had olive oil tasting as well. Loved the Basil olive oil.
I would like to return to Sonoma Valley to take in more of it next time!