Lake County is dominated by – you got it – one of the largest bodies of water in the state. But Clear Lake, a popular vacation destination, is just one piece of a diverse county that is coming on strong as a fast-growing wine region with laid-back (and dog-friendly) appeal.
The Lake County wine-growing region blanketing the eastern portion of the county is further divided into seven AVAs (American Viticultural Areas), or appellations, each with its own sense of place. While best known for its sauvignon blancs, petite sirahs and big reds like tempranillo and cabernet sauvignon are gaining well deserved cachet.
You and your dog will get a warm welcome at Six Sigma Ranch and Winery, Steele Wines and Thorn Hill Vineyards, to name just a few of the many places where you can taste with Lucky by your side. And how can a DogTrekker resist a place called Smiling Dogs Ranch, which has a new tasting room (one of four) on Main Street in downtown Kelseyville? (Answer: you can’t!)
Just down the road, Chacewater Winery and Olive Mill, renowned for its award-winning sauvignon blancs, has a tasting room where you can also buy oils and soaps. At Beaver Creek Vineyards, you can learn about certified organic and biodynamic winemaking and sample the difference at the tasting bar. To enjoy a little history with your award-winning petite sirah, head to Langtry Estate & Vineyard near Middletown, in the south county’s Guenoc AVA. This vast estate, named for British actress Lillie Langtry, who purchased it in the 1880s, encourages relaxation in a picnic area framing views of rolling vineyards and a reservoir tucked into the hills.
Want to sample many Lake County wines under one roof? Pop into the Lake Country Wine Studio in Upper Lake, a specialty wine-tasting room and retail shop that welcomes four-legged guests so long as their owners are considerate of folks who might be allergic.
Photo Credit: @laujorestatewinery