Wine

Major Winegrape Varietals

Lake County winegrape growers take great pride in producing top quality varietals ranging from remarkable Sauvignon Blancs to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec and several others.  More than 40 varietals are grown with Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon being the most widely planted.

Circle diagram of 2016 tone crushed by varietal

What the Appellations are Known for Growing

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The Valleys

White winegrape cluster on the vineBig Valley’s terroir is home to refreshing Sauvignon Blancs, establishing Lake County as one of the premier California regions for the varietal. The gravel seams in Big Valley District produce intense and balanced Zinfandels and Cabernet Francs. Chardonnay, Viognier, Riesling, and Merlot are also grown in the Big Valley District AVA.

Guenoc Valley AVA  and nearby Middletown, with its distinction of having the oldest winegrape vines in California – dating back to the 1850s – is home to top-notch Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Syrah, Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Petite Verdot, Malbec, Grenache, Mourvedre, Tempranillo, and Pinot Noir.

The proposed Long Valley AVA produces Cabernet, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, and Petite Sirah.

And in the proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA, winegrape growers are cultivating high quality Sauvignon Blanc along with a few acres of Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Muscat, and Zinfandel.

The Bench

The varied soils of Kelsey Bench produce intense and balanced reds - Zinfandels and Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot as well as flavorful whites including Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Viognier, and Riesling.

Mountain Fruit

The Red Hills and High Valley AVAs are home to the highest elevation vineyards in Lake County.

In the High Valley AVA, growers are producing award-winning Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Syrah, Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Petite Verdot, Malbec, Grenache, Mourvedre, Tempranillo, and Pinot Noir.

In the Red Hills of Lake County, high elevation vineyards produce excellent Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, Zinfandel.

Other Interesting and Unique Varietals

Lake County's soils and Mediterranean climate enable growers to cultivate many varietals, particularly those suited to warm grape growing regions of the world.

Tempranillo from Spain, Aglianico from Italy, Touriga Nacional from Portugal, several Rhone varietals, and many others are making a name for Lake County.

Nearly 180 growers are committed to continuing Lake County’s tradition of producing exceptional fruit and wines. Find out more about these Lake County varietals: