Formed in 1992 by merging the Sonoma Valley Vintners Association and the Sonoma Valley Grape Growers Association, the SVVGA is devoted to maximizing the quality of Sonoma Valley grapes and wines. Our mission is to support close working relationships among vintners and growers, while developing community awareness of the industry.
The Sonoma Valley Vintners and Growers Alliance membership includes 38 wineries and more than 134 growers.
Please feel free to browse this Web site, which is still in progress. If you're planning to visit the Sonoma Valley, perhaps go to the Member Wineries page. There you'll be able to follow the links and plan your visit. This page provides you with a little background about why our local varietals have become world-famous; we are fortunate enough to be blessed with a wonderful location and climate for grape growing and winemaking.
An hour's drive northeast of San Francisco, the Sonoma Valley is bordered on the west by the Sonoma Mountains and on the east by the Mayacamas Mountains. The crescent-shaped region stretches north from San Pablo Bay up to the outer limits of the city of Santa Rosa, and includes the towns of Sonoma, Glen Ellen, and Kenwood.
In 1981, the federal government designated more than 6,000 vineyard acres as "Sonoma Valley," a distinct viticultural area. The Valley is approximately 8 miles wide and 17 miles long, and now includes three official appellations: Sonoma Valley, Sonoma Mountain and Carneros. Today, the district includes 13,000 acres of premium wine grapes and 38 wineries.
The Sonoma Valley is known as the birthplace of the California wine industry. Franciscan mission fathers planted the first vineyards here in 1824. In 1857, "Count" Agoston Haraszthy planted the first major vineyard of European varieties here.
According to legend, Native Americans called this "Valley of the Moon" because the moon appears to rise several times a night behind surrounding hills.
Climate and geography determine all the great grape-growing regions of the world, including the Sonoma Valley. With an average of 29 inches of rainfall a year, it is one the driest areas in Sonoma County. The mountain ranges on either side isolate the valley, allowing in just enough coastal fog to cool the vineyards on summer nights. Predominantly southerly winds off San Pablo Bay also moderate temperatures that extend the growing season. The valley's geological diversity features numerous microclimates and a variety of soils that lets growers select the ideal growing conditions for each grape varietal.
The SVVGA oversees a cooperative growers exchange program that dispenses information on the availability of the grape crop. The Alliance promotes the use of blue-stemmed wine glasses at tastings and in restaurants to signify wines from the Sonoma Valley Appellation. It also conducts IPM wokshops and educational field days for members.
Grape Growers Picnic. Hosted by the vintners for the growers, this informal day is highlighted by a vintner/grower softball game, with the coveted "Rotten Grape Cup" going to the winner.
Harvest Quality Conference and Vintage Forecast. Each year, a panel of industry representatives meets in late January or early February to review the previous year's harvest from both the vintners' and the growers' standpoint.
Sonoma Valley Harvest Wine Auction. A wine auction
is held every Labor Day weekend to benefit Sonoma Valley charities. Now in its seventh
year, the auction has already become one of the top 10 wine auctions in the U.S.