Appellations (growing regions) are an amalgam of soil, slope and sunshine. In order to produce wines distinctive in personality, soils must be loose enough so that water does not accumulate in the ground, thus retarding clear flavor development in the fruit. The lay of the land must be such that vine leaves are exposed to enough sunlight to create a healthy plant, one capable of maturing its grape crop.
Within the framework of “sunshine” we include all weather related factors. Beyond sunlight, we look also for sufficient rainfall or irrigation to promote natural sugar development and to the temperature moderating effects of some body of water–ocean, bay or river–so that flavor-boosting grape acidity is not lost in ripening.
Sonoma County is blessed with a bevy of the best of those factors, presented in such a variety of combinations as to create a welcome, wholesome diversity of growing regions where, curiously, north is “hot” and south is “cool.” Not only is Sonoma County revered for foodstuffs ranging from goat cheese to Muscovy duck, from Pacific oysters to flavorful, farm fresh produce that restaurants clamor for, nearly every type of wine grape can be splendidly grown in one or more of Sonoma County’s regions, from the cool weather loving Pinot Noir and Chardonnay to the warm weather Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel.