Friday, June 1, 2012

Lake County...The Lake And It's Wineries!

A Beautiful Lake With A County Around It!!!

Clear Lake From The Mountain!
Lake County above Napa has a very laid back personality! You can get there from Napa or you can cross over a mountain from Mendocino. Coming from Mendocino gives you a view of the whole county and basically all you see is the lake. Clear Lake is the largest natural lake in California, and when you first see it, you're not sure where they could possibly grow grapes! 

But grow grapes they do and they do it well because their wines are excellent, which is why it's one of California's hottest new wine destinations!

We came over on highway 175 from Mendocino County and the mountain road had great views, especially of the lake! Our primary goal was to visit the Six Sigma winery whose owner we had met at a Kansas wine tasting...don’t ask! But along the way we stopped at some wonderful wineries and tasting rooms. And we tasted some great wines!   

Steele Wines…Worth Looking For!    
From highway 175 we turned on highway 29 in search of wineries. In Napa 29 is the highway from Hell, but in Lake County, the traffic isn't bad and there are some great wineries along the road.  The Steele Winery, just off of 29, produces wines under the Steele, Writer's Block, Shooting Star and the Steele Stymie labels. Steele's wines are available in Texas and throughout the US. Take the time to look for them, you’ll be impressed, especially since they are fairly inexpensive for the quality.  

Vineyards & Cave! WOW!!  
Moore Family...Great View & Great Wines!  
Our next winery was the Moore Family Vineyards. It’s a little off the beaten path on Bottle Rock Road, but well worth the trip for the view as much as the wine, and their wines are really nice! The winery and vineyards are on the mountain with a wooded landscape. The winery itself has a wine cave in the side of the mountain with a terraced vineyard leading up to the cave, the tasting room overlooks the vineyards. It's all very cool looking! 
Gregory Graham Winery A Must Stop!!
The Gregory Graham Winery was our next stop, right off highway 29 on Point Lakeview Road. We had the opportunity to meet Gregory Graham who not only poured our wines, but he also gave us a tour of the winery and the vineyards. Hard to beat that for hands-on service! Gregory has over 25 years’ experience producing award winning wines for wineries like Rombauer Vineyards in Napa. He’s now growing his own grapes and producing his own wines. Gregory’s skill as a wine maker definatly makes this winery a must stop in Lake County.

Six Sigma Ranch and Vineyards was our objective and we were finally on our way! It’s located off highway 29 on Spruce Grove Rd. This part of the county is toward Napa and it's a hilly wooded area and a beautiful drive, especially when you’re on Spruce Grove. 

Six Sigma...Great Wines & Great Hospitality! 
We called ahead and winery owner’s Kaj and Else Ahlmann and their son Christian were awaiting our arrival. The winery and vineyards are surrounded by the beautiful wooded ranch which was fun to drive through and experience. The Ahlmann family met us on the porch of their tasting room and when we walked inside, their wines were all in a row, ready for our tasting.  

A Sustainable Organic & Holistic Winery!   
Six Sigma is a sustainable organic winery with a holistic approach to its vineyards, using livestock to manage the ground while avoiding pesticides and herbicides. While this approach is increasingly being used in California, no one does it better. And their efforts are paying off with some truly wonderful wines. Add the Ahlmann’s warm, friendly hospitality, and you could not ask for a better winery to visit or wines to drink! 

Stop At Tulip Hill!
We reluctantly left Six Sigma for the far end of the lake and dinner. On the way we stopped at Tulip Hill Winery which is right off 29 on Bartlett Springs. The tasting room is close to the Lake, but we found that their wines were close to our heart! Better yet they had a wine sale and I bought a case, and ordered several more when I got home. So if you go to Lake County, make sure to stop at Tulip Hill. 

Last Stop For Wine!
Blue Wing For Dinner!
That night we had a final tasting at the Lake County Wine Studio before having dinner at the Blue Wing Saloon and Café, in Upper Lake California. It was than time to head back to Mendocino, but since Brother-in-law/ designated wine trip driver Joe, had a couple at dinner, we decided to take Highway 20 back, its much larger and safer than the mountain highway. 

This was a really cool trip. We met some great people and tasted some very nice wines in a beautiful, friendly, relaxing atmosphere. What more can you ask from a wine region? Lake County was everything we hoped for in a wine trip and much more! 


The Neighborhood Wine Porch Party! 

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  1. I would like to visit Moore Family Vineyard. You had me at cave.

  2. Talya it’s a great winery and the cave, the vineyards, the woods and the view are all great…then you add their wine and you have a truly great wine experience. And on weekends during the summer they bring in live music and you can sit out on the tasting room lawn with a bottle of wine and listen to the music. Way to cool! I need to go back!!