Lake County wine

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Lake County
Wine region
TypeU.S. County
Year established1861
CountryUnited States
Part ofCalifornia, North Coast AVA
Sub-regionsBenmore Valley AVA, Clear Lake AVA, Guenoc Valley AVA, High Valley AVA, Red Hills Lake County AVA
Total area1,329 square miles (3,442 km2)
Size of planted vineyards8,800 acres (36 km2)[1]
Grapes producedBarbera, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Chenin blanc, Gamay Beaujolais, Grenache, Malbec, Merlot, Muscat Canelli, Nebbiolo, Petit Verdot, Petite Sirah, Pinot blanc, Pinot gris, Roussanne, Sangiovese, Sauvignon blanc, Sauvignon Musque, Syrah, Tempranillo, Viognier, Zinfandel[1]

Lake County wine is an appellation that designates wine made from grapes grown mostly in Lake County, California, located north of Napa County. Although each region within the county has unique viticultural attributes, all are influenced by Clear Lake, the largest inland body of water in the state of California. Cabernet Sauvignon is the most planted grape varietal, with Merlot a distant second.[1]

American Viticultural Areas[edit]

Lake County includes five designated American Viticultural Areas:

Benmore Valley AVA[edit]

The Benmore Valley AVA was named for Benjamin Moore, a local 19th century cattle rustler. The valley is a high depression in the mountains of southwestern Lake County, and is much cooler than surrounding areas. There are no wineries located within the boundaries of the AVA, and most of the grapes produced there are sourced by Geyser Peak Winery.

Clear Lake AVA[edit]

Half of the area contained within the boundaries of Clear Lake AVA is Clear Lake, the largest body of freshwater in the state of California, and the namesake for the county. The moderating influence of the lake on the surrounding area results in a climate with less diurnal variation in temperature than surrounding areas. Clear Lake AVA is one of the coolest climates in California, which has led to success with grape varietals like Sauvignon blanc.

Guenoc Valley AVA[edit]

Established in 1981, Guenoc Valley AVA was the first American Viticultural Area designation granted to an area with just a single winery. Guenoc Valley is a small inland valley comprising an alluvial fan of Arroyo Seco and Conejo Loam series soils isolated from surrounding areas by rocky ridges.

High Valley AVA[edit]

The High Valley AVA is located in the eastern part of the county. True to its name, the valley is situated on high elevations ranging from 1,600 feet (490 m) to 3,000 feet (910 m) in elevation. 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 Hills Lake County AVA[edit]

The Red Hills Lake County AVA lies along the southwestern shores of Clear Lake, separating Excelsior Valley to the east from Big Valley to the west. The hills lie at the foot of Mount Konocti, a volcano which last erupted 11,000 years ago, but which is still regarded as active.[2] The terrain is rolling hills with elevations between 1,400 feet (430 m) and 3,000 feet (910 m) above sea level.


  1. ^ a b c Appellation America (2007). "Lake County: Appellation Description". Retrieved Jan. 21, 2008.
  2. ^ Clear Lake Volcanic Field