Sonoma Valley, Calif. By Sarah Lovelace

After our visit to Napa we will be well-prepared wine connoisseurs, able to notice particular growing techniques in the rows and rows of the 183 year old Sonoma vines, and taste subtle flavors and detect aromas the untrained tongue and nose may not be able to discern. 
Ok, we won’t be that good. But I bet we’ll feel more prepared for the wine tasting Sonoma has to offer us after a trip through Napa the day before. 
Called the “Valley of the Moon,” Sonoma differs from Napa because it is California’s original wine country and is the birthplace of California’s wine industry. Nowadays, Napa Valley has usurped more of the fame for the region’s many superb vintages. But Sonoma is where it all began.

As history progressed and the land began to become more developed, the Mexican government secularized the missions that had previously covered the valley area. General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo made the missions fortified strongholds against the Russians who were encroaching on the land, moving away from their original religious purpose. These buildings have been carefully preserved and we can tour around in them to experience the 150 year old history. 
Most importantly, we’ll be looking to further our tastes in wine and frolic through the rich, colorful scenery of this jewel in the heart of California. Look for us in places like:

-Gundlach Bundschu Winery (at left)

-Benzinger Family Winery

-Buena Vista Winery

-Blackstone Winery

-Valley of the Moon Winery

-The Cellar Door

(From top) Photo by Kyle Slattery courtesy; photo by Nomade Moderne courtesy; photo by mrjoro courtesy