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Lake County

 Courtesy of Lake County Winegrowers Alliance

Our winery is located in Lake County, the county directly north of Napa County and directly east of Mendocino County.

 

For purposes of wine appellation nomenclature, the federal government has designated four counties as the North Coast quality grape growing region. These counties are Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino and Lake.

 

Lake County is by far the most rural and least populated and developed of these four counties. We have around 25 wineries and 8,000 acres of wine grapes in Lake County. This compares with 45,000 in Napa, 60,000 in Sonoma and 16,700 in Mendocino.

 

The current population of Lake County is only around 65,000 people. It is a mountainous county with a base elevation of around 1350 feet. Some of the vineyards in Lake County from which we purchase grapes are as high as 2700 feet. 

 

The county is geographically dominated by Clear Lake (the largest natural lake in California) which is 25 miles long and a 4500 ft extinct volcano which sits on the shores of the lake, Mt. Konocti. In the far northeastern part of the county, the mountains rise to 8,000 ft and are snow capped all winter long.

 

 

Lake County was part of Napa County until 1896 and had a thriving grape and wine industry at the turn of the century. Wines from Lake County grapes won numerous medals and awards at national and international fairs and expositions in the early 1900’s.

 

 

Prohibition sounded a death knell for both the vineyards and wineries of Lake County. While grape growing prospered in Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino Counties to supply the enormous number of home winemakers during prohibition, Lake County’s isolation

and the fact that it was the only one of these counties without railroad access prohibited the economical transport of its grapes to market.

 

 

The post-prohibition revival of grape growing in Lake County began in the late 1960s.  While there were a handful of wineries here from 1975-2000, it really wasn’t until right around 2000 that the rapid expansion of wineries in Lake County began.