Sonoma is regarded as the birthplace of California viticulture. The history of the Sonoma wine industry is closely tied to the early Spanish missionaries. In 1823, Franciscan fathers founded Mission San Francisco Solano, the last mission in the El Camino Real chain which runs the length of the state. Sonoma is known as having the ideal conditions for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir production.
With its mild sunny climate and fertile soil, Sonoma was the perfect setting for the missionaries to plant the first crops of grapes used in making wine for the Holy Eucharist. Later, Count Agoston Haraszthy imported cuttings from Europe and produced the first European varieties in America.
Literary legend and one-time Bay Area resident, Jack London created one of the most memorable images of the Sonoma Valley from an Indian fable. He called it the Valley of the Moons as the moon appears to rise several times over succeeding peaks in the Valley.
Healdsburg, Glen Ellen and Kenwood are small towns in the Sonoma Valley that are home to many award-winning boutique wineries.
Some of the best-known wineries in Sonoma include Sebastiani Vineyards and Buena Vista Winery (both in the Carneros District).