High Valley AVA

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High Valley AVA
Wine region
TypeAmerican Viticultural Area
Year established2005[1]
CountryUnited States
Part ofCalifornia, North Coast AVA, Lake County, Clear Lake AVA
Other regions in California, North Coast AVA, Lake County, Clear Lake AVABig Valley District-Lake County AVA, Kelsey Bench-Lake County AVA, Red Hills Lake County AVA[2]
Total area15,000 acres (61 km2)[citation needed]
Size of planted vineyards700 acres (2.8 km2)[citation needed]

High Valley AVA is an American Viticultural Area (AVA) located in the eastern part of Lake County, California. True to its name, the valley is situated on high elevations ranging from 1,600 feet (490 m) to 3,000 feet (910 m), but it actually encompasses two distinct growing regions, the valley floor and the hillsides. The cool marine breezes are consistently sifting into the valley, keeping the valley cooler than the other appellations in Lake County. Red volcanic soils can be found on the hillsides while alluvial fans and benches on the valley floor provide well-drained beds for the vines. Red Bordeaux varietals and Syrah can be found planted along warmer ridges, while the cooler valley floor contains Pinot grigio, Pinot noir, Chardonnay, Riesling and Sauvignon blanc.[3]


The valley itself is 9 miles (14 km) long and 3 miles (4.8 km) wide, with an east–west orientation unusual in the Californian coastal range, a result of volcanic activity of Round Mountain, an extinct volcano lying within the valley. The AVA contains 15,000 acres (61 km2), and about 700 acres (2.8 km2) are currently planted in vineyards. Most are relatively new, but within the area are some of the oldest vines in California. There are 15 struggling Zinfandel and Muscat vines planted by the Ogulin family, which brought them from Slovenia around 1875. Since Slovenia borders Croatia, where cousins of Zinfandel vines are found, this suggests significance in the history of California Zinfandel. The old vines shouldn't be a surprise, for before Prohibition, Lake County was producing reputable wines before the vineyards were replaced with other crops.[4]


  1. ^ "§ 9.189 High Valley" (Title 27: Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; Part 9 — American Viticultural Areas; Subpart C — Approved American Viticultural Areas). Code of Federal Regulations. Retrieved January 21, 2008.
  2. ^ "Lake County Appellations". Lake County Winegrape Growers. Retrieved May 8, 2020.
  3. ^ "High Valley AVA". Lake County Winegrape Commission. Retrieved December 30, 2019.
  4. ^ "History of the Lake County Wine Industry". Lake County Winegrape Commission. Retrieved December 30, 2019.