Officially named the Mission San Francisco Solano de Sonoma after the Peruvian Saint Francis Solano, the Sonoma Mission is located in the heart of downtown Sonoma, CA. The mission is the last in the chain of the 21 historic Franciscan missions built in California. Originally founded on July 4, 1823, the only portion of the original building that remains is the corridor of founder Father Jose Altimira’s quarters. The chapel pictured here was built in 1840 by General Vallejo to be used by the townspeople of Sonoma. There is no active church in the mission today, but it is part of the Sonoma State Historic Park.
The Carneros area of California wine country includes part of both Napa and Sonoma Counties. Named for the sheep that once dotted the rolling hills, Los Carneros means “the rams” in Spanish. Located just north of the San Pablo bay, the cool fog and coastal breezes that come inland through the Carneros area keep the temperatures cooler more moderate than areas further inland in the Napa Valley. This allows wines that normally love cooler climates such as Pinot Noir and Chardonnay to thrive. This region was officially designated in 1983 as the Carneros American Viticultural Area (AVA) and was the first to be defined by climate rather than political boundaries. This photo was taken in spring during the time that wine makers call ‘bud break’ as the first leaves start to emerge on the grape vines.