Lake County is located due north of Napa and directly east of Mendocino counties. It is home to Clear Lake--and about 3,400 acres of vineyards, which are split roughly 50/50 between red and white varieties. In its 1880s heyday, Lake County supported more than 5,000 acres of vineyards but by 1970 that number had plummeted to a mere 100 acres (plantings in 1973 and 1974 brought the total closer to its current level).
Though part of California's North Coast appellation, Lake County is landlocked, and it's generally warmer in midsummer than its neighbors to the south and west. The cooling maritime fog visits only on rare occasions during the Lake County wine growing season. Many of Lake County's vineyards are situated along upper elevations on a mountainous terrain that experiences a much-needed dip in temperature during the evening.
Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Zinfandel, account for nearly 90% of the region's plantings, the most distinctive of the Lake County region being Sauvignon Blanc. A number of California's large wineries own vineyards here and blend Lake County grapes into their North Coast cuvees.