Home Wine News Articles Shop for Wine Accessories About Links Downloads Contact

Good Grape Wine Company

Left side of the header
Right side of the header

Sonoma:  The Un-Napa

About seven ad campaigns ago the soda 7Up was known as the “Un-Cola.”

It was simple and brilliant.  In a soda landscape that was decidedly less complicated back then, they were not a cola.  It was easily understandable and simple.   

These days, one can hardly do any reading about wine or the wine industry without running into an article about Sonoma.

Sonoma is not Napa.  But, damned if it doesn’t seem that Sonoma is trying to figure out what it wants to be—mainly because Napa is burnished into the retina of the most wine lovers’ mind’s eye.  And, Sonoma, well, Sonoma is kind of an enigma to a lot of people.

Last month the San Francisco Chronicle had a feature by Tina Caputo on the growth, development and evolution of Sonoma County, while maintaining its small town, eccentric roots.  From the article:

Napa Valley has long looked down on its less sophisticated country cousin, and until recently, Sonoma seemed to accept and even embrace its reputation as a funky destination. But according to regional associations like Sonoma County Vintners (SCV) and the Sonoma County Tourism Bureau (SCTB), who cater to the nearly 2 million tourists that visit the county each year, Sonoma is now making a conscious effort to promote itself as a luxury destination on par with Napa—and the shift in direction seems to be paying off. had an article today about the Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers Alliance recently announced and new event, “Passport to Sonoma Valley.”

Executive Director for the Alliance, Grant Raeside, said: 

A huge part of Passport weekend will be creating an identity for the Sonoma Valley region. “We are all searching for identity and we can do that during Passport with the entire valley,”

I’m used to transparency, but these sorts of articles kind of seem like women with their g-string exposed—Oddly fascinating? Yes.  Do you look?  Yes.  Completely interesting? Not so much.

This is, of course, on the heels of seeing a two-page spread in Food & Wine magazine for Sonoma placed by the Russian River Valley Winegrowers.

Here’s my question for the Un-Napa, Sonoma.  Does marketing really have to take place?  Does Sonoma have to be more sophisticated?  Can’t Sonoma just, kinda, well, stay the way it is—celebrate their eccentricity and quirkiness and spreadouted-ness, winding roads and agricultural bent? 

Can’t Sonoma simply be the Un-Napa and isn’t that enough?  Post a comment with your thoughts.

*Update*  Currently site comments is a feature having technical difficulties.  I’ll update when fixed.


Posted in, Good Grape Daily: Pomace & Lees. Permalink | Comments (4) |


On 03/20, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) wrote:

Comment test

On 03/20, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) wrote:

Just a support comment.  Don’t mind me.  wink

On 01/10, TemmookyNew wrote:

=“”>new year foto</a>

On 05/03, Roy Tennant wrote:

As a Sonoma Valley resident and proprietor of I’d like to answer your question: “Can’t Sonoma simply be the Un-Napa and isn’t that enough?” with a resounding “Yes”. Since we aren’t over-run with tourists we can actually talk to visitors and educate them about wine. In Napa, it’s all too much about just shoving the bus loads through. Here we can relax and have a good time. I’d like to keep it that way.


View More Archives