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All podcast music: “Café connection” by morgantj / CC BY 3.0, ©2009 – Licensed under Creative Commons 
Attribution (3.0) 

Apr 6, 2019

Napa and Sonoma are the two most famous places for wine in the United States. On a map, they are right next to each other and they seem really interchangeable. But looks can be deceiving. The truth is, that they are an hour drive apart and worlds away in climate, geography, grapes, cost, marketing, and culture.


This week, Oded Shakked, winemaker and owner of Longboard Vineyards and Jim Morris, the Sonoma Wine Guy, who now works for a Napa winery help me parse the differences. This podcast should help make everything a whole lot clearer when people talk about Napa versus Sonoma!


Here are the show notes:

  • Geography:
    • The distance between the areas – 45 mi -1 hr, the difficulty in getting between them
    • Looking at a map – and the geography of the two areas
  • Marketing differences – when and how they diverged: Napa’s 20 year head start and the importance of Robert Mondavi’s marketing efforts to Napa
  • Ease of travel in Napa v Sonoma
  • The money difference/investement -- small farmers v. outside money
  • The competition element – a problem for both Sonoma and Napa
  • What’s not different: SKILL!!! Everyone knows what theya re doing for the most part
    • Provenance, time, is smaller – Napa – elite
  • Experience difference:
    • Napa – an elite or aspirational experience, status, expense, trying to weed out people
    • Sonoma – more affordable, more relaxed
  • Costs differences – and how places used it to weed people out
  • Grapes and climate
    • Diurals/acid differences – Sonoma is cooler in many spots
  • Napa Envy by Sonoma
  • Sonoma’s Identity issue
  • One common problem: cost of living is going up and it’s harder to find people to work there
  • Some travel tips for Northern California wine country and all the other stuff you can do in Sonoma!

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