Sonoma County was bustling with development at the turn the 19th century with luxury mansions springing up here and there to accommodate established residents and wealthy San Francisco elite.

Colonel Mark McDonald, who made his money in road construction, became one of Santa Rosa’s most famous early citizens. In the 1860s he purchased and subdivided the 160 acres of land in what became McDonald Avenue. The beautiful Victorian homes, many of which are still standing today, are some of the county’s best reminders of an opulent bygone era.

The landmarks on this famous street are not alone in our county, there are many marvelous mansions sprinkled throughout the Redwood Empire, each linked to an interesting story of the wealthy homeowner who commissioned the estate.

Click through our gallery above to see more of the opulent homes built in Sonoma County at the turn of the 19th century.




Sidebar, 2016 Russian River Valley, Sonoma County Rosé, 13% alcohol, $21. ★★★★

This rosé is 100% syrah, and it has aromas and flavors of raspberry, cranberry and pepper. It’s a rosé that has great quench — pitch perfect balance. Striking.


Vaughn Duffy, 2016 Rosé of Pinot Noir, Sonoma County, 14.1%, $20. ★★★★: This is a rosé with a range -- watermelon, strawberry and peach. Great minerality. Finishes crisp.

Scherrer 2016 Sonoma County Dry Rosé, 13%, $22. ★★★★: A lovely rosé, with a commingling of tangy fruit — strawberry, watermelon and a hint of tart cranberry. Lively acid. Smart.

Ferrer Carano, 2016 Dry Sangiovese Rosé, 13.8%, $14. ★★★1/2: This is a tasty rose that showcases sangiovese at its best. Wild strawberry meets tart cranberry. Refreshing acidity. Lovely.

Angeline Vineyard, 2016 California Rosé of Pinot Noir, 12.5%. $13. ★★★1/2: This rosé is another great option. Notes of watermelon, strawberry and grapefruit. Citrusy finish.


Peg Melnik’s Tasting Room blog