THE ALLURE OF LAKE COUNTY
History: While it is often overshadowed by its more famous viticultural neighbors, Lake County still has a rich winemaking history that dates back to the mid-1800s. Prior to Prohibition, this was the largest wine producing district in California with a reputation that rivaled anywhere in the New World. It took until the 1960s for the county to reemerge as a premier region and today there are nearly 9,000 acres planted in Lake County’s five AVAs.
Unique Conditions: It takes its name from Clear Lake, the largest natural lake wholly within the state of California and the oldest lake in North America. Located two hours north of San Francisco, the region possesses a roughhewn look and feel that is distinctly different from anywhere else in the Golden State.
In addition to Clear Lake, this sparsely populated region features a legion of other geographical wonders including The Geysers (the largest geothermal field in the world), Mt. Konocti (visible from anywhere on the lake), and Snow Mountain (a mammoth 7,056 foot peak in the wilderness area of the Mendocino National Forest). For the eco-tourists and naturalists there are herds of Tule Elk, more than 150 species of birds, bears, fish (including one species indigenous to Clear Lake) and acres of native trees, herbs and shrubs.
The climate is continental with temperatures moderated by the cooling influence of the lake and the elevation of vineyards that range from 1,300 to over 3,000 feet above sea level. The most widely planted variety is Cabernet Sauvignon followed by Sauvignon Blanc. In addition to producing superior wines from all of the Bordeaux grapes, Lake County makes some of the world’s greatest Petite Sirahs.
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