With its idyllic dreamscapes and posh-perfect lifestyle, Sonoma County has always been the ideal place for wealthy retirees. But when remote work came calling, folks working in industries like tech and finance came pouring in. Before the pandemic, wealthy families moved to the Wine Country for years.
The steady rise in Sonoma County’s average household income can be attributed to this influx of out-of-towners. The average cost of wine country houses for sale is the clearest indicator of what is happening—median home prices have risen by 12.5% from a year earlier, often pushing Windsor house prices beyond the range of locals.
For many individuals and families moving from the crowded Bay Area to Sonoma’s idyllic valleys, Wine Country provides more bang for their buck than Silicon Valley, so they are prepared to pay top dollar for a taste of the quiet life.
8 Compelling reasons to move to Sonoma County
As a result, Sonoma County is a top tourist destination for visitors from all around the world. They come to taste the wines from Sonoma’s 425 plus vineyards, attend world-famous food festivals, explore over fifty national and regional parks, and take a dip in the beautiful blue waters of the Pacific Ocean.
Meanwhile, winters in Sonoma are the perfect time to snuggle up in velvet sofas and leather wing chairs inside your Pine Mountain real estate, sipping bold California Chardonnays or Pinot Noirs.
Rural with proximity to urban areas
Sonoma County is one of the best places to set up shop for investors and remote workers. The influx of affluence and industries has rejuvenated the economy, increasing consumer spending and boosting new businesses in Sonoma.
Sonoma County’s best places to eat
If you have never been on a culinary tour, Sonoma is a great place to start. Healdsburg Wine & Food Walking Tours is an excellent way to taste and meander through this quaint Sonoma city as you look for Healdsburg houses for sale.
You won’t want to miss Soco’s Restaurant Week, which takes place in February. This annual, ten-day event lets guests explore reduced or fixed-price menus at over eighty Sonoma County restaurants, showcasing the finest culinary experiences featuring specially crafted local menus, farm-fresh ingredients, and award-winning chefs.
Valley restaurant is one of Sonoma’s top culinary destinations and was named one of the best bars in America by Esquire Magazine. Their focus on organic, biodynamic, sustainable wines and local, seasonal produce is unforgettable.
Petaluma is one of California’s oldest cities and has garnered a reputation as Northern California’s foodie haven. There is something for everyone here, and its location along the North Bay makes fresh seafood readily available.
Speaking of seafood, Sonoma County is particularly proud of its fresh Dungeness crabs from the Pacific Ocean. For a one-of-a-kind, boat-to-mouth experience on Bodega Bay, visit Spud Point Crab Company. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can even catch and cook the coveted crab yourself—just make sure you secure your fishing permit first.
Wine and culture
You can experience exceptional wines and their associated culture, from nook-and-cranny wineries to large establishments with extensive waiting lists. The area is as beautiful as it is flavorful. You will fall in love with the majestic vistas of endless vineyards and magical scenery.
An excellent place to start might be Sonoma County’s Tasting Pass, which allows people to taste wine, craft brews, and distilled spirits.
From wineries with hidden wine caves to those with equestrian pavilions and open wilderness, there is no end to what you can feast your eyes (and your palate) upon. Feel free to ask your luxury Wine County real estate agent for additional local area hot spots.
Santa Rosa: Sonoma County’s microbrewery capital
Craft cocktail distilleries and cider samplers abound. You can even have a beer tour while biking or charter a limousine for your brewery tour to fully experience Santa Rosa’s abundant brewing culture.
Also noteworthy, but not a brewery: Santa Rosa was the home of “Peanuts” creator Charles M. Schultz and is currently home to the Charles M. Schultz Museum and Research Center, which is dedicated to his works.
Sebastopol: Sonoma's creative town
Creative souls will find a unique, industrial-chic, artisan marketplace at The Barlow. This open-air craft community contains over thirty of Sonoma County’s best artisans, vintners, and chefs across twelve-and-a-half acres.
Meanwhile, in Sonoma, The Donum Estate is home to The Donum Collection—one of the world’s largest sculpture collections, with more than fifty works throughout their 200-acre estate. Artists from eighteen nations and six continents are represented here.
Sebastopol also hosts Sonoma County’s Gravenstein Apple Fair, fondly known as “the sweetest fair in Sonoma County.” Held in mid-August, come to enjoy live music, arts and crafts, kids’ activities, craft cider, beer, wine, and fresh local food.
Bodega Bay’s incredible coastline
Not to be confused with Bodega Bay, just a few miles inland is the town of Bodega. For film buffs, you’ll delight that Bodega was the setting for Alfred Hitchcock’s iconic movie, The Birds.
The best education in California
Institutions of higher learning nearby include:
Sonoma State University
The University of Northern California North Coast School of Education
Quality of life in Sonoma County
- Transportation: You don’t need a car to get around. Sonoma County Transit (SCT) has a state-of-the-art fleet that sprawls the area. The Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) also handily serves Sonoma county. Cycling is also a popular option, given the pleasant weather and the County’s bicycle-pedestrian pathway project.
- Healthcare: As you look at houses for sale, the question of access to healthcare may have come up. Have no fear. Nine major regional hospitals and several health centers provide top-notch health care services.