The case for Sonoma
The county’s 1,576 square miles are a sprawling garden of organic produce, free-range meats, and since 1824, grapes. (George
Yount planted Napa’s first vines in the 1830s, using Sonoma cuttings.) Napa offers the thrill of tasting wines few can afford
and eating trendy food cooked by the employees of celebrity chefs. In Sonoma, you can access countryside, towns, and tasting
rooms—sans appointment—to try some of the most distinctive and innovative wines available. True, pockets have trended upscale.
Limos? Check. Celebs like Lady Gaga looking to buy? Check. But at heart, this is authentic country open to visitors—casual
and wine snob alike.
Western Sonoma County’s Rod Smith is a two-time James Beard award winner for wine writing.