Five tips to plan your perfect Wine Tasting trip!
March 11, 2021
The secret’s out: Lake County is California’s fastest-growing wine region, with more than 30 wineries spread across 9,000-plus acres. We’re located just an hour north of Napa Valley—the granddaddy of the Golden State’s storied wine legacy—but there’s no need to feel intimidated by visions of fancy tastings and extravagant dégustations.
In Lake County, we put the “country” in Wine Country—we’re bright, friendly and approachable, like a good glass of cabernet. Our wine community is an open tent, and all palates are welcome, whether you’re from Paris, France or Paris, Texas.
That said, while we don’t take ourselves too seriously, we’re serious about quality wine. Our grape varietals are bursting with robust perfumes and elegant structures (translation: they’re delicious) thanks to our temperate climate, high elevation, and rich, volcanic soil formed from the ancient lava flows of our favorite 10,000-year-old volcano, ol’ Mt. Konocti.
More than 200 labels use Lake County grapes, so there’s a chance you’ve tasted our wines already, but nothing beats going to the source, especially when the source is near Clear Lake, Mt. Konocti, and Mendocino National Forest.
Looking for a step in the right direction? Here are five tips to make the most of your wine tasting trip!
Step 1: Make a plan.
You don’t have to be a mathematician to know that 30-plus wineries plus 10,000-plus acres equals more wine tasting than you can pack into a weekend. So make a plan. How much time do you have? Is this a relaxing weekend tasting at one or two vineyards or a serious Sideways-style pilgrimage? The more vineyards you plan to visit, the more you’ll want to plan ahead.
Step 2: Pick your wineries.
Our more than 30 wineries cater to every taste, whether you prefer a vintage ‘62 Château Margaux or a simple box of cabernet. But you have to know where to look. Lake County is a pretty big place, so we made it easy for you. Here’s a list of our vineyards and here’s a map of how to find them, thanks to our friends at Lake County Winery Association.
Step 3: Pick your pleasure.
So many wineries, so little time. You can enjoy a taste of Tuscany at Brassfield Estate, which is renowned for its signature whites (pinot grigio, sauvignon blanc) and reds (zin, cab, syrah, merlot), as well as its hilly views. Enjoy your Port with a scrumptious plate of Brie at Cache Creek Vineyards while the soothing sounds of nearby Cache Creek serenade you. You might even spot a Tule Elk! Or bring the family and puppers to the pet-friendly Shannon Ridge, where the kids can play games while the adults sip, swish and swirl. While we don’t have the space to list and summarize them all, each of our wineries are uniquely appealing and well worth visiting. See the full list here.
Step 4: Pick your place.
Where are you going to stay? Stay close to the action, and surround yourself with views and vines as far as the eye can see, with accommodations near our vineyards. If you feel like glamping, we have a host of spots where you can sleep under the stars while dreaming of your next sip. For rustic types we have lodges and cabins; for water lovers we have lakeside retreats; and for those who want to bring their furry friend, we have dog-friendly spots too (just make sure Fido is on a leash).
Step 5: You do you.
We’re happy to offer advice, but here’s the best tip we can give you—you do you. The best way to enjoy a wine tasting trip is to go with the flow. If your day-to-day is meticulously planned, you don’t just need a break from your surroundings, but the hustle and bustle of daily life. And there’s no better way to do that than a wine tasting trip to Lake County. Relax, rejuvenate, and take a sec to sip in the moment and appreciate all the beauty life has to offer.
Before you ask, our craft beer scene is pretty great too!
For a Clearly Different wine tasting trip, you’re not gonna beat a visit to Lake County. Whether you’re a sophisticated sommelier or just a casual sipper, surround yourself with the splendor of California’s clearest skies, and plan your Wine Country trip to California’s fastest-growing wine region—Lake County. We’ll see ya when ya get here!
P.S. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, some areas of wineries may be closed or operating with reduced guest capacity. We strongly encourage you to confirm hours and availability before visiting. Be sure to take proper precautions and follow best practices recommended by public health experts. It’ll help keep you safe and help keep us safe too. Besides, it’s just the nice thing to do. We certainly appreciate it.