October is also the wrap up of the fall wine harvest. In the northern hemisphere the wine harvest typically starts in August and wraps up in October. If you’ve ever been interested in visiting California wine country now is the time to go. During the off season you can drive around and sample wines, but during harvest time you can actually get your hands dirty and help pick grapes.
Because the longer the grape stays on the vine the more sugars it produces, these late season wines are typically the sweetest. If you are a moscato fan, October is your month. Anything labeled late harvest is going to be on the sweeter side.
Being that I’m a fan of Sonoma County wines, here are 10 facts about Sonoma County:
- Sonoma County as a whole is 1,131,520 acres.
- Urban areas occupy over 9% of the land area.
- Grapes grow on 6% of Sonoma County’s land area.
- According to a report by Nick Frey from the Sonoma County Winegrape Comission, there are over 59,000 acres of wine grapes planted in Sonoma County. To put that in perspective, that is equal to over 44 thousand football fields of grapevines.
- There are over 1,800 individual growers in Sonoma County.
- Chardonnay is the most planted varietal, with over 16,000 acres planted.
- Cabernet Sauvignon is the second most at over 12,000 acres planted.
- There are 16 American Viticulture Areas (AVA) in Sonoma county: Sonoma, Valley, Sonoma Mountain, Carneros, Moon Mountain, Bennett Valley, Sonoma Coast, Green Valley, Russian River, Chalk Hill, Knights Valley, Alexander Valley, Dry Creek, Fort Ross Seaview, Pine Mountain-Cloverdale Peak and Rockpile. Anything outside of the listed AVAs is classified as Sonoma County.
- There are 76 tasting rooms in Sonoma Valley alone.
- The town of Sonoma is home to the last and northernmost mission in California, Mission San Francisco Solano de Sonoma, established in 1823.