January 26, 2016 by Tod Hardin

Legendary Grower Gambling on the Red Hills AVA

While we consider ourselves as being part of the NOW wine country, we certainly were happy to see a recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle that lends further support to the notion of Lake County being the “next” wine country. Considering the source being quoted, we are a-ok with being the “next”.

Andy Beckstoffer

Andy Beckstoffer. Photo courtesy of Beckstoffer Vineyards.

The article, written by Esther Mobley and published on January 21, showcases legendary vineyard owner Andy Beckstoffer and his firm belief in the quality and potential of Lake County’s Red Hills AVA. His 1,200 acre Amber Knolls vineyard is a sweeping landscape with elevations up to 2,500 feet, offering stunning views of nearby Mount Konocti, a now dormant volcano responsible for the rich volcanic soils that have Beckstoffer brimming with excitement.

Mobley writes in her article: “So promising is this area, he believes, that it’s only a matter of infrastructure (restaurants and tasting rooms to lure wine tourists) and exposure (high-visibility winemakers) before the world understands the potential of the Red Hills for Cabernet.”

To further that effort, Beckstoffer is launching an unprecedented project that is part publicity stunt and also part of his grand plan to make Amber Knolls an iconic Cabernet-producing vineyard that he believes it should be. Basically, he’s giving ten acres of his vineyard away for free! Well, at least temporarily.

Mobley explains it this way: “Interested winemakers can submit resumes and cover letters to Beckstoffer. He will select 10 worthy candidates and will give each an acre’s worth of Cabernet, gratis, for three vintages. Each winemaker can select whichever acre block they’d like.”

Beckstoffer believes that if 10 different winemakers make 10 great wines, the only conclusion is that you must turn to the vineyard as the source of that greatness.

Hats off to Mr. Beckstoffer and his commitment to Lake County!