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Wine Spectator School

Class 3: Sonoma County and the Central Coast

The main concepts covered in Class 3 include the following:


  • Located north of SF, between Pacific Ocean and Mayacamas
  • Less populated, farm country with diverse crops
  • Nearly twice the size of Napa County with more than a million acres
  • Race for quality as costs of owning and farming vineyards soar
  • Blends common, specific sites increasing as more identified


  • Sprinkled throughout the county
  • 11 appellations with many grape varieties and wine styles
  • Some known for specific varieties, others for diversity and quality
  • Most vines = Alexander and Sonoma Valleys = valley and hillside

Climate: Hot and Cold

  • Variation depends on topography and exposure to the Pacific
  • Extreme western SC too cold and foggy to ripen grapes
  • Within a few miles of ocean,...

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  • And much more
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