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Sonoma County History, Sonoma Valley Wine Tours

Wineries &

Terrace view picture

Sonoma Valley View from
Gloria Ferrer
Champagne Caves

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Champagne Cellar
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Gloria Ferrer Wine Cave
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Read about wine caves
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Sonoma Valley from Paradise Ridge

Sonoma Valley View from
Paradise Ridge Winery

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Paradise Ridge Winery viewing deck

Paradise Ridge Winery viewing deck


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Sonoma County
Winery Maps
Chalk Hill and
Alexander Valley

Dry Creek Road
Wine Trail

Westside Road
Wine Trail

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Sonoma Valley Map
Sonoma Valley Map

Sonoma County and Sonoma Valley Wine Tours, along with Napa Valley wine tours and wine tasting are the most popular wine region tours in the U.S. California wine country wineries are known around the world for red wine, white wine and sparkling wine.
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Use the links in the blue column to the right to travel through Sonoma County, to reserve a room at a resort, bed and breakfast, inn or hotel in Sonoma County, or to tour San Francisco.
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The original home of wine production in northern California, Sonoma County offers vacationing travelers a variety of other attractions including its dramatic coastline, winding Russian River and old growth redwoods. In addition to vineyards and wineries you will also see herds of cattle and sheep, orchards, gardens and many different varieties of farms.
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Gloria Ferrer Champagne Caves Vista Terrace provides a panoramic view of the southern end of the Sonoma Valley. Read my illustrated artice for more panoramas and information on wine caves and champagne cellars.
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Paradise Ridge Winery has a viewing deck with a panoramic view of the northern end of the Sonoma Valley. Follow the links in the blue column to the right for many more Sonoma Valley pictures and wineries.

A brief History of Sonoma County

Indian tribes including Coast Miwok, Pomo and Wappo inhabited Sonoma County for thousands of years harvesting the area's abundant dear, bear, salmon, sea otters and great whales.
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Since discovery by Spanish Lieutenant Francisco de Bodega y Cuadra, who gave his name to Bodega Bay, sovereignty over the county has been claimed by Spain, England, Imperial Russia, Mexico, the Bear Flag Revolutionaries and the United States.
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Russians founded Fort Ross in 1813.
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Spains' concern over Russia's presence led to the founding of a series of California Missions. In 1823 Father Jose Altimira, founded Mission San Francisco de Solano—Sonoma Mission— the last mission in California, in the heart of the Sonoma Valley.
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Altimira's plans, which unsuccessfully included closing the two missions at San Francisco and San Rafael, received little support from other missions but surprisingly the Russians sent supplies from Ft. Ross including a bell, linens and vases.
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After Mexico secularized the missions in 1834, a young general, Mariano Guadelupe Vallejo started a 66,000-acre rancho and built the largest adobe structure in Northern California for his personal residence. Tour the restored Petaluma Adobe and see period artifacts, furnishing and working replicas in Petaluma.
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Settlers, concerned with Mexico's plans to order all Americans out of California, arrested General Vallejo on June 14, 1846 and declared California a republic. A replica of the original Bear Flag, which they quickly fashioned from unbleached muslin and a red petticoat, can be seen in the Sonoma Barracks, now part of Sonoma State Historic Park.
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In 1856 an exiled Hungarian aristocrat, Agoston Haraszthy purchased land and a winery northeast of Sonoma plaza in the Sonoma Valley. Known as the "Father of the California Wine Industry" he experimented with more than 300 classic varieties of grapes. The historic 1857 Press House once owned by Haraszthy can be seen at the Bartholomew Park Winery.
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Luther Burbank conducted his famous plant-breeding experiments in Santa Rosa and Sebastopol from 1885 to 1926, introducing more than 800 new varieties of plants. Visit Burbank's Home and Gardens at the corner of Santa Rosa and Sonoma avenues in Santa Rosa, and his Gold Ridge Farm in Sebastopol. A friend of Henry Ford, Thomas Edison and Jack London, Luther Burbank died in 1926, at the age of 77, not long after publication of his beliefs on evolution.
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Jack London State Park, London's ranch where he wrote many of his famous stories and books, has 880 acres of woodlands, fields and hiking trails in addition to the ruins of Wolf House and a museum in the house his widow built after his death on November 22, 1916.
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The world's largest geothermal resource region is The Geysers, located near Santa Rosa. Steam power generation was first attempted here in 1922. Current production can supply the electrical power needs of a city the size of San Francisco.
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Sonoma Valley is a federally-designated wine appellation region, meaning that the climate, soils, and topography of the valley produce grapes of a distinctive and extraordinary character. Ranked as one of the top wine producing regions in the world, Snoma Valley boasts more than thirty award-winning wineries and, with some of the oldest vineyards and wineries in the state, is recognized as the birthplace of California wine-making.
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After a virtual Wine Country tour you may be inspired to visit Sonoma Country and take a real wine tour. Read our Wine Trails articles for detailed information including maps, wineries and wines available on three wine trails near Healdsburg.
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Learn about Sonoma Country Parks.
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For an experience you'll always remember take one of our California Wine Tours.


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Website and all photos copyright © 20012015 Lee W. Nelson