June 2, 2015 by

Wine connoisseurs know that Lake County is one of the emerging hot spots in northern California’s wine country. Now the Lake County Winery Association is shining a spotlight on certain exceptional micro-regions of the burgeoning Lake County winery scene with a series of mini-tours. Each mini-tour focuses on one of Lake County’s most prominent emerging micro-regions, with a South Lake County mini-tour offered this summer to uncork the charms of the Middletown and Lower Lake regions of California’s wine country.

The South Lake County tour provides a roadmap for exploring this area’s distinctive wineries. The Middletown and Lower Lake areas are rugged, high-altitude winemaking regions that serve as the “North of Napa” gateway into Lake County. The area is home to the meditative spa paradise Harbin Hot Springs, and the region’s independent spirit is reflected in its wineries and the trailblazing aspirations of its innovative vintners.

Beaver Creek Vineyards, to name one, has pioneered a new bio-dynamic winemaking process that integrates the region’s wildlife to create richer grape-growing soil. Shed Horn Cellars is a boutique winery specializing in small lots and boasts a large number of competition medals from juried wine competitions. The mini-tour continues to the Six Sigma Ranch, a highly regarded winery long known as an innovator in pesticide-free grape growing. The day of wine-tasting wraps up at the Langtry Estate & Vineyard, a giant 23,000-acre estate in the famed Guenoc Valley whose vineyards extend from northern Napa and well into Middletown.

A number of excellent restaurants are located along the path of the South Lake County mini-tour. Boar’s Breath Restaurant and Oven offers a refined steakhouse atmosphere and a creative menu while Cowpoke Cafe serves Americana comfort food in a quaint and traditional diner style. Twin Pine Casino & Hotel has multiple dining options on site, including the wine-themed Manzanita Restaurant, and frequently books big-name, nationally known musical acts to its stage.

Get to know the fine wines of southern Lake County, which offers an exceptional selection of varietals in one of California wine country’s most blossoming regions. Make plans now to take the South Lake County mini-tour this summer, a wonderful wine country getaway that will broaden your knowledge of winemaking and please your palette. With four outstanding vineyards and the welcoming charms of Middletown and Lower Lake, the mini-tour shows how this distinctive wine-producing region really captures lightning in a bottle.