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Wines & Vines

Lake County may have three world-famous winegrowing regions as next-door neighbors (Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino), but visitors to Lake County will find that the wineries often feel a world away, as if they’ve discovered that out-of-the-way, best-kept secret wine region.

Today, Lake County’s wine industry is booming with new, innovative wineries focused on sustainability, organic, and biodynamic principles and wines that are consistent award winners. Lake County has taken third place in winegrape sales for the third year in a row in 2007, just behind neighboring Napa and Sonoma counties. Nearly 100 labels make use of Lake County's distinct winegrapes.

The two dominant winegrape varieties of Lake County are Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon, which flourish in the high elevations, clear air, and continental climate.

A range of Sauvignon Blancs are produced with luscious berries on Lake County's more fertile and flatter soils and are harvested at different stages of ripeness, making for either crisp, herbaceous, and mineral-style wines or peach, melon, and tropical fruit-flavored wines. As a result, Lake County has quickly become a leader in the North Coast for both fruit and wine made from this variety.

It's the red soils, with coarse fragments of black obsidian rock and other rocks and minerals that make Cabernet Sauvignon thrive here. The fruit is very concentrated in flavor, and yields are modest. Knowledgeable drinkers refer to Lake County's Cabernet Sauvignon as "classic," and the varietal only improves with age. Other red wines that do well in Lake County include Syrah, Barbera, Grenache, Zinfandel, and Tempranillo.

The High Valley AVA is home to newer, renowed wineries like Brassfield Estate Winery, Shannon Ridge, and High Valley Vineyard. The AVA is made up of both volcanic soils on its hillsides and alluvial soils on its valley floor, thereby making it perfect for a range of wines — from Syrah to Pinot Noir and Pinot Grigio to Sauvignon Blanc.

So get ready for your real wine adventure. Plan a trip to Lake County to experience award-winning wines and exciting wine events and festivals—all in a setting that reflects the area’s friendly, relaxed lifestyle.

Please drink responsibly. Designate a driver.

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