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Cityguide created for
The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa
100 Boyes Boulevard
Sonoma, CA 95476
Reservations: 707-938-9000
Phone: 800-862-4945
FAX: 707-938-4250

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Thursday
Morning clouds. Pleasantly warm.
88/55 °F
32/13°C
Friday
Mostly sunny. Pleasantly warm.
89/54 °F
32/13°C
Saturday
Passing clouds. Pleasantly warm.
89/54 °F
32/12°C
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About Napa Valley / Sonoma Valley, CA

The story of the Wine Country can be traced to the mid-19th century, when the grandfather of California viticulture, Hungarian-born Agoston Haraszathy de Mokcsa, concluded that his 500-plus-acre Buena Vista estate in modern Sonoma County could produce winemaking grapes to rival those of Europe. Indeed, in addition to a Mediterranean climate of moderate temperatures and ample year-round rainfall, this part of Northern California boasts a landscape where two verdant valleys are cleft by rolling mountains. The result is an environment not unlike that of Tuscany and one that yields excellent pinot noir, chardonnay, merlot, and sauvignon blanc, not to mention terrific olives. Napa Valley, to the east, offers 200-plus commercial vineyards, most of which were founded after 1975. It extends from the San Pablo Bay's fertile Carneros region northward to Calistoga; its inviting hamlets and villages offer fine dining, shopping, and sightseeing opportunities. To the west is Sonoma County, the less touristy sibling of Napa. Sonoma extends to the coast, and its jagged cliffs and dramatic vistas compose a photographer's dreamscape. Its quaint, family-owned wineries are more secluded than those of its Napa neighbor, giving visitors the sense that they've escaped from the bustle of the real world, if only for a little while.
Napa Valley / Sonoma Valley, CA Factoid
As one might expect, the Napa and Sonoma Valleys have not always been known as the California Wine Country. In fact, up until around 1850, wheat was the valleys' cash crop. Although spotting a wheat field today would be a tough task, it's still possible to find remnants of the area's past. St. Helena's Bale Gristmill, for example, dates from the 1840s and stayed in operation until well after 1900. In fact, the water wheel still works, and those who time a visit just right may be able to pick up a sack or two of old fashioned flour.

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