A unique destination...

Historical building...

Ageless charm...

About Lisbon

The Sonoma Valley is well known as a major wine producing region in California – in fact in the United States as well – along with its neighbor to east, Napa. Its seventeen mile corridor is dotted with so many vineyards, one count came up with a number around 250, spreading all the way to the north reaching Sebastopol, and to the west bordering the coast. The town of Sonoma itself is quite small, with about 9000 inhabitants according to the 2000 census. Yet its center of commerce, also known as the Sonoma Plaza, is the biggest plaza in the state, sitting on 8 acres, surrounded by a plethora of historical buildings, charming shops, world class restaurants, wine tasting enotecas, and a town hall centered in the middle of the park. Sonoma is also the birthplace of commercial wine producing in California, with its two oldest wineries about a mile or so to the east of the plaza.

Grape Growing Climate

Summer is usually hot and dry, it is also the peak tourist season. Day time average temperatures in July is around 90F/32C while at night it is comfortably cool with an average of 51F/11C (the grape plants love the extreme day and night temperature difference). Spring and fall are very pleasant. February temperatures average 58F/15C during the day and 37F/3C at night. Winter is usually rainy but there are still sunny days in between.

A Little Bit of History

In 1846, a group of men who claimed to be under the order of General Fremont rode their horses from Sacramento to Sonoma, which was part of Mexico. The men called themselves the bears. Upon arrival, they arrested General Vallejo and his army, then erected a bear flag proclaiming the independence of the California Republic with Sonoma as its capital. There is a statue on the northeast corner of the plaza marking the spot where the independence was declared. The republic lasted only 25 days, it ended when the American army raised the Stars and Stripes flag and claimed California as part of the United States. General Vallejo later switched hjs allegiance to the US and became a very influential figure in Sonoma and California.

Mission San Francisco Solano de Sonoma, also located around the plaza, was founded in 1823 by Father Jose Altimira. It was the northernmost of all the 21 California missions, marking the end of the Mexican King’s Highway. To its left is the Mexican army barracks and Casa Grande, where General Vallejo lived.

Things to Do

Sonoma is home to Sonoma Valley Film Festival, a nationally recognized event. It also hosts NASCAR weekends during the summer time. There are also festivals such as the Jazz festivals, the Arts and Crafts fair and half marathons. Visiting wineries is on the top of many people’s list, but there are other fun activities such as shopping, horseback riding, bicycling, hiking the surrounding hills, picnicking among the vast meadows, riding a hot air balloon, and joining a plane tour. This is a great destination place for a couple, a group of friends as well as a family.