What's great in wine, beer, fine dining,
places to stay, & places to visit
in California State

Region: North Coast     City: Little River     Contact: www.mendowhale.com

Sunday, 06 January 2013 02:10

March 4-5, 2017 Mendocino Whale Festival

Region: North Coast     City: Mendocino     Contact: www.mendowhale.com

 

Region: North Coast     City: Anderson Valley area     Contact: www.avwines.com

Saturday, 10 November 2012 14:04

Lodging Mendocino County

North Coast Of County

 

Abigail’s Bed & Breakfastwww.abigailsmendocino.com

Agate Cove Inn http://www.agatecove.com

Albion River Inn http://www.albionriverinn.com

Alegria Oceanfront Inn & Cottageswww.oceanfrontmagic.com

Anchor Lodgewww.anchor-lodge.com

Annies Jughandle Innhttp://www.ajinn.com

Antioch Ranchwww.antiochranch.com

Atrium Bed and Breakfastwww.atriumbnb.com

Auberge Mendocinowww.aubergemendocino.com

Avalon Househttp://www.avalonhouse.com

Beachcomber Motelwww.thebeachcombermotel.com

Beach House Innwww.beachinn.com

Beggs-Bishop Cottage http://www.beggs-bishopcottage.com

Bettilou’s Innwww.bettilouinn.com

Bever-Roberts Tower http://www.mendocinotower.com

Blackberry Innwww.blackberryinn.biz

Blair House Bed and Breakfast Inn http://www.blairhouse.com

Blanchard House Bed & Breakfastwww.blanchardhouse.com

Blue Heron Inn and Moose Café http://www.theblueheron.com

Brewery Gulch Inn http://brewerygulchinn.com

Caspar Inn www.casparinn.com

Cleone Gardens Innwww.cleonegardensinn.com

Colonial Innhttp://www.colonialinnfortbragg.com

Country Inn http://www.beourguests.com

Cypress Cove http://www.cypresscove.com

DeHaven Valley Farm Bed and Breakfast http://www.dehaven-valley-farm.com

Delamere Cottagewww.delamerecottages.com

Dennen’s Victorian Farmhousewww.victorianfarmhouse.com

Elk Cove Inn http://www.elkcoveinn.com

Elk Guest House http://www.elkguesthouse.com

Emerald Dolphin Innwww.emeralddolphin.com

Fensalden Innwww.fensalden.com

Fern Meadows Cottage http://www.fernmeadows.com

Glass Beach Bed and Breakfast Inn http://www.glassbeachinn.com

Glendeven Inn http://www.glendeven.com

Greenwood Pier Innwww.greenwoodpierinn.com

Grey Whale Innwww.greywhaleinn.com

Griffin House http://www.griffinn.com

Harbor Lite Lodgewww.harborlitelodge.com

Harborhouse Innhttp://www.harborhouseinne.com

Headlands Inn http://www.headlandsinn.com

Heritage House Inn http://www.HeritageHouseInn.com

Hill House Innwww.hillhouseinn.com

Holiday Inn Express – Fort Braggwww.hiexpress.com/fortbraggca

Howard Creek Ranch Inn http://www.howardcreekranch.com

Inn at Schoolhouse Creekwww.innatschoolhousecreek.com

John Daugherty Housewww.jdhouse.com

Joshua Grindle Innhttp://www.joshgrin.com

Kathy’s Mendocino Cottageswww.kathysmendocinocottages.com

Larkin Cottagewww.larkincottage.com

Lighthouse Inn at Point Cabrillowww.mendocinolighthouse.pointcabrillo.org

Little River Innwww.littleriverinn.com

Lodge at Noyo Riverwww.noyolodge.com

Lodging and Llamaswww.lodgingandllamas.com

MacCallum House http://www.maccallumhouse.com

Mendocino Farmhouse Bed and Breakfast http://www.mendocinofarmhouse.com

Mendocino Hotel http://www.mendocinohotel.com

Mendocino Seaside Cottagewww.romancebythesea.com

Mendocino Village Cottages http://www.mendocinocottages.com

Mendocino Village Innhttp://www.mendocinoinn.com

Nicholson House Inn http://www.nicholsonhouse.com

North Coast Country Inn http://www.northcoastcountryinn.com

Ocean Breeze Lodge http://www.oceanbreezelodge.com

Ocean View Lodgewww.oceanviewlodging.com

Old Coast Hotelwww.oldcoasthotel.com

Old Mill Farmwww.oldmillfarm.org

Pacific Mist Bungalows http://www.pacificmistbungalows.com

Packard House http://www.packardhouse.com

Pine Beach Inn http://www.pinebeachinn.com

Quality Inn and Suites Tradewindswww.fortbraggqualityinn.com

Reed Manor http://www.reedmanor.com

Rendezvous Inn & Restaurant http://www.rendezvousinn.com

Sallie & Eilen’s Placewww.seplace.com

Sandpiper House Innwww.sandpiperhouse.com

Sea Rock Inn http://www.searock.com

Seabird Lodgewww.seabirdlodge.com

Seacliff on the Bluffwww.seacliffmotel.com

Seafoam Lodgewww.seafoamlodge.com

Seagull Innwww.seagullbb.com

Shambala Ranchwww.shambhalaranch.com

Shoreline Cottages and Motelwww.shoreline-cottage.com

Stanford Inn by the Sea http://www.stanfordinn.com

Stevenswood Lodge http://www.stevenswood.com

Super 8 Motel Ft. Braggwww.super8.com

Surf & Sand Lodgewww.surfsandlodge.com

Surf Motel http://www.surfmotelfortbragg.com

Sweetwater Spa & Inn http://www.sweetwaterspa.com

The Allen House http://www.theallenhousemendocino.com

The Beach House http://www.beachinn.com

The Greenwood Pier Inn http://www.greenwoodpierinn.com

Todd FarmHouse http://www.toddfarmhouse.com

Vista Manor Lodgewww.bestwestern.com/prop_05201

Weller House Inn http://www.wellerhouse.com

Whitegate Inn http://www.whitegateinn.com

Windrift Cottage and Pine Beach House http://www.windriftcottage.com

 

 

South Coast of County

 

B Bryan Preservewww.bbryanpreserve.com

Brandybuck Ranchwww.brandybuckranch.com

Breakers Inn http://www.breakersinn.com

Coast Guard House Historic Inn www.coastguardhouse.com

Mar Vista Cottages http://www.marvistamendocino.com

North Coast Country Innwww.northcoastcountryinn.com

Point Arena Light Housewww.pointarenalighthouse.com

Point Arena Light Housewww.pointarenalighthouse.com

Seacliff on the Bluffwww.seacliffmotel.com

St. Orreswww.saintorres.com

Whale Watch Inn http://www.whalewatchinn.com

Wharf Master's Inn http://www.wharfmasters.com

 

 

Inland North County

 

Baechtel Creek Inn & Spawww.baechtelcreekinn.com

Beside Still Waters Farm Bed & Breakfastwww.besidestillwatersfarm.com

Brooktrails Lodge & Resortwww.brooktrailslodge.com

Stonegate Villaswww.stonegate-villas.com

Super 8www.super8.com

 

 

Russian River Valley of Mendocino County

 

Fairfield Inn & Suites Ukiahwww.marriott.com/stsuk

Holiday Inn Express http://www.holidayinnukiah.com

Holiday Lodgewww.holidaylodgewillits.com

Hopland Inn http://www.hoplandinn.com

Lawson’s Stationwww.lawsonsstation.com

Long Valley Ranchwww.sheepdung.com/lvr.html

Pepperwood Motelwww.pacific.net/~pepperwood

Robinson Creek Inn & Flower Farmwww.robinsoncreek.com

Sanford House Bed and Breakfast http://www.sanfordhouse.com

Sunrise Inn http://www.pacificsites.com/~sunrise

Vichy Springswww.vichysprings.com

 

 

Anderson Valley

 

Anderson Creek Inn http://www.andersoncreekinn.com

Anderson Valley Innwww.avinn.com

Boonville Hotelwww.boonvillehotel.com

Cottages at Ravenridgewww.ravenridgecottages.com

Highland Ranch http://www.highlandranch.com

Holly Hill Farm Bed & Breakfastwww.hollyhillfarminn.com

Linda Vista B & Bwww.lindavista.com

Philo Pottery Innhttp://www.philopotteryinn.com

The Other Placewww.sheepdung.com/top.html

Alligator Dreams: The Story of Greenwood Ridge Vineyardsby Richard Paul Hinkle

Silverback Books Santa Rosa, California

ISBN 978-1930603301

119 pages, multiple photos and illustrations, $24.95

 alligator-dreams

On a ridge named for an early American explorer of California and the west, Caleb Greenwood, Alan Green grows grapes, makes wines and lives among the vines. Author Richard Paul Hinkle tells us that Green realized early that he couldn't support himself growing grapes, but could by growing grapes and making wines.

Hinkle indicates although it is not a good idea to value a winery solely based on its medal count in competitions and judgings, Greenwood Ridge has such a collection of them a person has to take notice. This he indicates is especially true since Greenwood Ridge is small and its location is removed from the action in Mendocino County.

There are four noble varieties of grapes, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Riesling. Greenwood Ridge makes wines from each of them and Zinfandel as well. Hinkle writes a short chapter about every variety of Greenwood's wines. Each chapter is replete with information about the wine, of course. There are also marvelous photos to accompany the text and, in some instances, art commissioned by Alan Green, too.

Green began growing grapes in the 1970's, made wines professionally in the early 1980's, and won a gold medal in 1981 at the Orange County Fair. It was in the early years that the alligator became a part of the Greenwood Ridge label. The contour of the ridge evoked the shape of a gator's head, hence the alligator's dreams of the title. The winery also uses the crocodilian theme in the chocolates, which are sold in its tasting room, Eye of the Dragon.

The owner has participated with a group of local winemakers and grape growers in getting federal approval of the Mendocino Ridge Viticultural Area designation. Hinkle tells us Mendocino Ridge is a unique viticultural area. It exists not in a contiguous land area but across a discontinuous area and it is "based on altitude rather than a wholly connected flat-land surface." It is the altitude, which makes the grapes grown in that area so special.

For those fascinated with the production of grapes and how wines are made, the author has included significant details about the cycles of the care for the vines and the harvesting of the grapes. There is even a well-illustrated "annual vineyard timeline" and "winemaking timeline" replete with drawings of what the vines would look like in the various months of the year. The people who care for the vineyard are credited for their efforts and featured in photos.

The author and Alan Green have cooperated to make not only technical, but also lyrical observations about the grapes and wines of Greenwood Ridge -- bits of brix talk here and there, but a lot more about the love of grape growing and wine making and enjoying them.

This book is a good read. It is the story of a man, his winery and his love of wines and the accompanying parts of the good life that go along with them. AlanGreen and the rest of us who have enjoyed his story and his wines are the richer for it as well.

 

--Reviewer Mike Petersen is an attorney employed at the state capitol who travels whenever he can to try new foods and wines in California and Europe. He especially enjoys cooking and eating Italian, Spanish, French, German and other dishes that he has sampled with the locals here and abroad. Mike is a founder and chair of Mr. P’s Wine Club, a no-load wine club whose members love trying new wines and foods. He also searches for Chicago-style, kosher hot dogs wherever he may be.

Farmers Mkt Strawberries SMALL P4231046

The popularity of California wine, fresh produce and regional cuisine continues to expand worldwide. For travelers to the state, one of the best ways to discover what's new in fresh seasonal cooking and dining is to visit California's wine country. Local restaurants focus on pairing regional wines with natural, farm-grown ingredients, often sourced from community farmers' markets. These markets reflect the abundance of produce available in the state, as California is America's top agricultural state, producing 400 plant and animal commodities.

There are more than 400 certified farmers' markets throughout California, many of them in the state's wine regions. A complete listing is available at http://www.cafarmersmarkets.com.

Mirroring the growth in California wineries, California farmers' markets have continued to rise in popularity over the past three decades. Professional chefs shop alongside domestic consumers, looking for field-ripened fruits and vegetables, fragrant flowers, fresh fish, artisan breads and pastries, plus delicacies such as local olive oils and cheeses. Beginning in 2000, California wine can now be sold at qualified California Certified Farmers' Markets.

Restaurants and consumers alike are aware that more flavorful dishes can be created with heirloom vegetables and products, grown, raised or harvested with the same care that is put into their preparation. Food from local sources also travels from the farm to the plate in a timely manner. The freshness of the ingredients becomes part of the feature of the dish and supports the sustainable concept of "green dining" in that less fossil fuel is used to transport products from the farm to the kitchen.

Illustrating the allure of California's wine country and cuisine, six regional winery associations highlight popular restaurants and farmers' markets to visit within their locales. These attractions traverse California's wine and agricultural regions, from Central California's Paso Robles, north to Monterey and Santa Cruz counties, and beyond San Francisco to Lodi, Mendocino and Sonoma County.

LodiLocated within the Delta area east of San Francisco, Lodi has been a major winegrowing region since the 1850s. From wine and cherries to nuts and asparagus, Lodi is part of the San Joaquin Valley, the garden basket of California.

The 18-week Thursday night farmers' market hosted in downtown Lodi is not just for residents. Visitors and locals alike find locally grown, fresh produce, fruits, flowers and herbs at the Lodi farmers' market. School Street Bistro is known for being a local vintner hotspot. Winemakers catch up with friends and relatives over a glass of wine before heading to the market to pick up their supply of produce.

The chef at Wine & Roses Restaurant on the property of the historic Wine & Roses Inn prepares fresh seasonal cuisine highlighting the abundant agriculture of the Lodi region.

Another legend in Lodi, celebrating more than 50 years of producing seasonal fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers, is Phillips Farm; a staple for quality locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables. Many first-time visitors are drawn to the farm stand for the café or the wine but return time and time again for the pie, made fresh in the café from fruit grown on the farm!

Mendocino CountyMendocino County is rooted in agriculture. Since the 1850s, the region has developed a personality influenced by the values of independent family farmers, their respect for the land and dedication to quality. Many families have lived for two or more generations on their land. These legacy farmers deeply appreciate the connection between man and earth. Mendocino County is also at the forefront of the sustainable, organic, Demeter certified Biodynamic, and Fish Friendly Farming movements.

This off-the-beaten path wine region offers many opportunities for adventure and discovery along with culinary delights such as local grass-fed meats, local grains, a coastal fishing community in Fort Bragg, apple and pear farms, plus artisan cheese, honey, bread, salt, and olive oil producers. Friendly, rural charm abounds with winemakers and chefs who are more than happy to stop, relax and chat. For elegant, upscale dining look to Patrona in Ukiah, Table 128 at the Boonville Hotel, Café Beaujolais, MacCallum House and 955 Ukiah in the storybook town of Mendocino and many diversions along the coast such as the all vegetarian The Ravens at the Stanford Inn, The Little River Inn, Stevenswood and farm-to-table dinners at the Glendeven Inn. Look for casual, local-food inspired dining at Ukiah's OCO Time sushi, Mendo Bistro and Piaci Pizza and Pub in Fort Bragg and the Purple Thistle in Willits. If you find yourself in Point Arena, at the southern coastal end, do not miss pastries at the French-inspired Franny's Cup and Saucer.

Mendocino County also hosts nine farmers' markets. For a complete list, visit www.mcfarm.org.

Monterey CountyFrom five-star restaurants to award-winning wines, Monterey County is a gourmet food lovers' paradise. Endowed with the seafood bounty of the Monterey Bay, a cornucopia of fresh fruits and vegetables from the Salinas Valley, and the fine wines that flow from vineyards throughout the region, local chefs craft culinary masterpieces not easily forgotten. Wine-themed nights occur at several restaurants throughout the county. Tarpy's Roadhouse celebrates "Wine-Down Wednesdays," Montrio hosts Half-Price wine nights each Sunday, and the Rio Grill adds a $5 glass of a nightly wine feature onto the meal every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The Sardine Factory's wine list, featuring over 30,000 bottles, has received ongoing recognition and shouldn't be missed. Christopher's Restaurant in Carmel is a must-stop for anyone wanting to explore Monterey County wines.

Fresh agriculture products and other gems of the area can be found at numerous farmers' markets conducted weekly throughout the county. Old Monterey Marketplace is the home each Tuesday afternoon for a Certified Farmer's Market and the Monterey Peninsula College's lower parking lot also boasts fresh produce and flowers each Thursday afternoon. A weekend market that features 60 vendors is available in Salinas every Saturday from June through mid-November.

Paso RoblesA trip to Paso Robles Wine Country would not be complete without tasting the culinary expertise in the region, where the best of California cuisine is paired with local Paso Robles wines. Bistro Laurent, Paris Dining with Andre and Panolivo restaurants feature a French influence in their menu offerings. California and Mediterranean inspired cuisine distinguishes Villa Creek, Matthews at the Airport, McPhees and Odyssey World Café. For those who love Italian-inspired foods, there is Buona Tavola. Deborah's Dining Room at Justin Winery is open nightly.

Paso Robles chefs are dedicated to using local, fresh ingredients and source many items at farmer's markets or from local, organic farms. Some chefs even use by-products from the vineyards and wineries to create marinades and smoked meats. From the vineyards to wineries and into the kitchens, Paso Robles is focused on sustainable programs to bring fresh, local foods and wines to residents and guests of this thriving community.

A Certified Farmers' Markets in the Paso Robles downtown city park fosters this rural connection on Tuesdays and Saturdays. A small, 50-acre organic family farm east of Paso Robles, Windrose Farm hosts a farm stand that gives guests the chance to hand pick veggies and fruits.

Santa Cruz CountyIn the Santa Cruz Mountains, there is a marriage of high quality wine, local produce, farmers' markets and exceptional cuisine. The combination makes for an extraordinary culinary experience. Many restaurants in the Santa Cruz Mountains follow "Buy Fresh, Buy Local" as part of their wizardry. Several with this focus are Theo's, in Soquel; Michaels on Main, in Soquel; Manressa, in Los Gatos; and Sent Sovi in Saratoga. Michael's on Main incorporates organic produce from local farms into their menu and even their desserts!

Sent Sovi in Saratoga is another well-known supporter of the farming community. "We use as many local products as possible. I try to source as much as I can from within 100 miles or so of the restaurant. There is a farmer in Sonoma who sends me ducks by UPS. Another just grows tomatoes during the summer. I want to bring that quality and passion to the table, along with a focus on local and smaller wineries. They go hand in hand," said owner Josiah Sloan. Manressa Restaurant focuses on locally grown products, and finds a nice fit pairing them with regional wines. "Some of the finest wines produced in the Santa Cruz Mountains grace the tables at Manresa," says chef David Kinch. "We are fortunate to have such a vital winegrowing region right in our own backyard." Growers offer their products at Certified Farmer's Markets in the town of Santa Cruz and nearby in Aptos, Felton and Watsonville on almost every day of the week. The central market in downtown Santa Cruz, at Lincoln and Cedar Streets, is held every Wednesday.

Sonoma CountySonoma County is a dining paradise. It's not only a premium winegrowing region, but also a prime diverse agricultural region, with artisan cheese makers, an array of small farmers and locally raised meats. The county's restaurants feature the bounty of the region with fresh, local and often organic offerings. Sonoma lamb, salmon from Bodega Bay, and Petaluma duck appear on many restaurant menus, while dessert might feature succulent in-season peaches from Dry Creek Peach and Produce. For elegant upscale dining, restaurants such as Cyrus and Dry Creek Kitchen in Healdsburg, and Farmhouse Inn in Forestville, rival any in the country. Casual yet refined independent restaurants abound, with gems such as Zin, Ravenous, Manzanita, Ralph's Bistro and Willi's Seafood & Raw Bar within walking distance of Healdsburg's town square. Sonoma offers Deuce, The Girl & the Fig, The General's Daughter, Carneros Bistro, and La Sallette, among many others, while prime Santa Rosa offerings include Zazu, Syrah and Willi's Wine Bar.

 

For a list of Sonoma County farmers' markets, visit www.sonoma-county.org/agcomm/farmers_mkts.htm.

 

(Wine Institute sources contributed to this article, which also runs in the chefs and restaurants section of Taste California Travel.)

 

Editor's note: Links to the websites of thousands of lodging and dining options near locations mentioned above can be found at Taste California Travel's Resource Directory .

 

north coast highlight SMALL

The North Coast American Viticultural Area (AVA) in California, covering more than three million acres, includes Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino and Lake counties, and portions of Marin and Solano counties. The area forms a slightly crooked rectangle, approximately 100 miles long and more than 50 miles wide. A winemaking mecca since the mid 19th century, today the area features about 800 wineries, nearly half of the total wineries in the state. American Viticultural Areas are to appellations of origin as grapes are to fruit. AVAs are delimited grapegrowing areas distinguishable by geographic, climatic and historic features, and the boundaries have been delineated in a petition filed and accepted by the federal government. In size, AVAs range from extremely small to extremely large. AVAs are one kind of appellation, but not all appellations are AVAs. An appellation can also be a political designation, such as the name of a country, the name of a state or states, the name of a county or counties within a state.

 

Napa Valley

Established in 1981, the Napa Valley AVA covers 225,300 acres of land, encompassing almost the entire county of Napa and is home to 400 wineries. Within that area, there are 45,000 acres of vineyards planted. Cabernet Sauvignon is king in Napa Valley with a total of 18,200 acres, and Chardonnay is the most widely planted white wine variety with 7,300 acres. Napa produces about five percent of total California wine.

The Napa Valley is bordered by two mountain ranges—the Vaca on the east and the Mayacamas, rising well above 2,000 feet and bordering the adjacent Sonoma County, on the west. Mt. St. Helena (4,343') stands sentry at the northern end of the appellation where the valley ends at the town of Calistoga. This is the warmest locale in the region. About 30 miles away, near the city of Napa, the southern end of the valley opens to San Pablo Bay, an interconnecting arm of the San Francisco Bay system.

A uniquely diverse winegrowing appellation, the Napa Valley formed—much like the rest of the North Coast—through a geological evolution active with colliding tectonic plates (large pieces of the earth's crust), volcanic activity and changes in sea level as water alternately advanced and retreated over the southern end of the valley several times. As a result of these geological events that took place over a 60-million-year history, the Napa Valley has soils of volcanic, maritime and alluvial origin, with more than 30 different types identified.

Defined by mountain ranges and a proximity to the Pacific Ocean, the Napa Valley enjoys a temperate climate with a long growing season of sunny, warm days followed by cool evenings. Within the Napa Valley AVA, there are 14 other AVAs with distinct microclimates and terrains formed by a varied topographical configuration of hills, exposures and elevations. The Napa Valley AVA is also part of the North Coast AVA.

  Sonoma County

The appellation of Sonoma County totals more than one million acres of land of which 60,000 acres area planted to winegrapes. The county includes 13 distinct AVAs as well as being a part of the North Coast AVA. The larger Sonoma Coast AVA has with 517,000 acres. Chardonnay takes the lead as the most planted variety with 15,100 acres, and Cabernet Sauvignon is the next most planted variety with 11,900 acres. The area produces about eight percent of California's total wine production.

Sonoma County is 52 miles wide and 47 miles long and is currently home to 260 wineries. On the east, Sonoma County borders Napa Valley along the Mayacamas Range. About two million years ago, volcanic eruptions deposited a series of ash and lava called the Sonoma Volcanics throughout much of Sonoma and Napa Counties, especially along the Mayacamas Range. The western edge of the County is the California coastline along the Pacific Ocean. Sonoma County borders Mendocino County in the north and Marin County in the south.

Luther Burbank called Sonoma County "the chosen spot of all the earth as far as nature is concerned." A vastly diverse range of topography, including numerous small valleys with distinct microclimates, the Russian River and the Pacific Ocean, all characterize the region. A moderate climate with a cooling maritime influence, Sonoma County embodies ideal and diverse grapegrowing weather: from valley to hillside, moist ocean coast to dry inland, and cool southern regions that complement the warmer, more northern areas.

  Mendocino County

Mendocino is an approved American Viticultural Area with 275,200 acres. The total area planted to vineyards is 16,700 acres. About 4,300 acres are planted to Chardonnay, 1,900 acres to Pinot Noir, and 2,600 acres to Cabernet Sauvignon. Approximately 25 percent of the total vineyard acreage in Mendocino County is certified organic. There are 10 official American Viticultural Areas in Mendocino County. There are 56 wineries and over 250 growers harvesting approximately 62,000 winegrape tons, representing about two percent of the state's wine tonnage.

Located directly north of Sonoma County and about 90 miles north of San Francisco, the Mendocino wine region is bounded by California's Coastal Mountain Range, the Pacific Ocean and the great northern redwood forests. A mountainous region, it is part of the seismically active Coast Range and is also the place where the San Andreas Fault reaches the ocean. Almost 60 percent of the county is blanketed with coniferous forests. Most of the vineyards are located in the inland valleys in the south and east areas of the region. The vineyards growing white wine grape varieties are located on flood plains and alluvium along the Navarro and Russian Rivers. Most of the red varieties are grown on the bench lands above.

  Lake County

The western portion of Lake County comprises the North Coast AVA. It encompasses the Clear Lake AVA, which in itself has 168,900 acres of land, the Red Hills Lake County AVA, and High Valley AVA. Within Lake County, a total of 8,530 acres are planted to winegrapes. This is expected to double in the next few years, as many new vineyards are being planted. Cabernet Sauvignon is the most planted variety with 3,300 acres. Sauvignon Blanc is the second with 1,790 acres. Fourteen wineries are located in the region. About 20 out-of-county wineries purchase Lake County grapes from independent growers. Lake County crushed 32,000 tons in 2005, about one percent of California's total winegrape tonnage.

Lake County surrounds Clear Lake, the largest natural lake in California. The vineyards are planted throughout the county, from the agriculturally rich valley at 1,370 feet elevation (lake level), to the rocky red volcanic soil at more than 2,000 feet elevation around Mt. Konocti—a dormant volcano in the Pacific Rim chain. These elevations provide cooler winter conditions and a later start to the growing season. Summer growing conditions are suitably warm to ripen the grapes and the elevation allows rapid cooling in the evening. Few grape pests can tolerate the altitude and cool climate. Lake County growers are committed to sustainable farming and participate in year long educational programs to this end.

  Marin & Solano Counties

Marin County has 80 acres of vineyards and 13 wineries. Bordered on three sides by the cooling influence of the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay, the area grows mostly the early maturing Pinot Noir and some Chardonnay. The northeastern half of Marin is officially in the North Coast AVA. A small portion of Solano County, forming the southeast tip of the North Coast AVA, has three AVAs, covering an area of more than 21,200 acres. It too receives the cool maritime influence with ocean breezes flowing through the San Francisco Bay and the Delta.

The vineyards and wines of California's North Coast are recognized worldwide for their quality and diversity. There is a sense of place that identifies the region as well as the people. From the days of the Gold Rush of 1849, this part of the state has embodied the pioneering spirit and innovation that still energizes the California wine business.

 

(Wine Institute sources contributed to this article.)

 

Editor's note: Links to the websites of thousands of lodging and dining options in the North Coast region can be found at Taste California Travel's Resource Directory. Also in the Resource Directory are links to the sites of most, if not all, of the wineries in this region.

 

 

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