With a population of 500,000 and employment of 246,000, it is the least densely populated county of the Bay Area with over 1,131,520 total acres. It continues to be a well sought after destination for visitors and residents alike, whether it be a day spent at one of the many spas or wine tasting rooms, mountain biking the varied trails and country roads, or kayaking along the majestic rivers. Due to varied terrain and coastal environment of Sonoma County, much of its recreational opportunities lie within the county’s eleven California state parks, encompassing a total of 36,000 acres. In addition, the county has over thirty regional parks.
The unemployment rate is well below California and the U.S. at 3.2%. The gross metro product is about $25 billion per year rising about 3.2% per year. There are over 26,000 businesses in Sonoma County. Notable companies are Medtronics, Keysight Technologies, Amy’s Kitchen, Kendall Jackson Wineries, and Lagunitas Brewery, which continue to innovate and grow. With a rich winery district, Sonoma County’s grapes are the primary cash crop in the area. Some of Sonoma County’s world-renown wineries include: Kendall-Jackson Wine Estates, Gallo, Don Sebastiani & Sons, Korbel and Rodney Strong Wine Estates.
Major assets of the county include Santa Rosa Junior College with over 36,000 enrolled, Sonoma State University with enrollment of 9,400, and the famous Green Music Center affiliated with the University. Sonoma State also has an engineering and graduate engineering curriculum.
Wine, breweries, specialty agriculture and food are all here, growing industries evolving out of the Agricultural history of Sonoma County. They represent over $2 Billion in sales a year.
The tech industry including manufacturing is a higher proportion of employment than other California counties. The tech companies have a high multiplier effect on the economy as compared to retail or hospitality. They provide the economic base while retail, hospitality, health care, agriculture, and wine make the biggest absolute contribution to county GMP.
Sonoma County is home to over 20 major business parks, covering 3,500 acres and 40 million square feet of buildings. With plenty of available space for growth and competitive pricing below most of the Bay Area, the region remains an attractive location for businesses to relocate. Some of Sonoma County’s largest advantages are its access to major highways, domestic and international airports, skilled workforce, and proximity to San Francisco. Over the years, companies including service businesses, software companies and high-tech manufacturers have strategically headquartered their businesses in the region.