Log In / Join Now

Wine Spectator School

Class 7: New World Model: California

sonoma county


A More Relaxed Pace

In contrast to the glitz and glamour of Napa Valley, Sonoma County seems bucolic. This is farm country and wine grapes are just one of the many diverse crops grown among the rolling green hills.

Although life progresses at a more relaxed pace in Sonoma County, the wines themselves can be world-class.



Diverse Growing Areas

Sonoma County sprawls from the Pacific Ocean and coastal mountains on the west to Napa Valley and the Mayacamas on the east.

Unlike Napa, where the vineyards carpet one long valley, diverse growing areas are sprinkled throughout the county.

The most important AVAs are described below. In addition, Sonoma County is home to many smaller appellations, such as Chalk...

Ready to enroll?

First, you must register for a membership to WineSpectator.com. Your membership benefits include:
  • FREE enrollment in any course at Wine Spectator School
  • Over 230,000 searchable ratings and tasting notes
  • FREE mobile access so you can research wines wherever you are
  • E-newsletters with advance ratings
  • Editors’ blogs
  • Food and wine matching tool
  • And much more
Log In If You're Already a WineSpectator.com Member

If you have questions about Wine Spectator School, please contact us.

Job Opportunity

Wine Spectator is hiring an assistant editor at its New York office. Get more details.

Free Email Newsletters—Sign Up

Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions
New! Ratings Flash | New! Unfiltered

» View samples
» Or sign up now!
» Manage my newsletter preferences


The marketplace for all your wine needs, including:

Wine Storage | Wine Clubs
Dining & Travel | Wine Auctions
Wine Shops | Wine Accessories

WineRatings+ app: Download now for 340,000+ ratings.