Napa and Sonoma may have put California on the map as a wine destination decades ago, but Lake County in the north-central section of the state just might be the wine country you didn’t know you needed to visit. It’s the home of small, family-owned establishments, estate-grown grapes, hand-crafted vintages, affordable bottles, and incredibly scenic spots where you can sip and savor.
Interestingly, the wine-growing region of Lake County was once part of Napa County (Napa sits just to the south). But that was prior to Prohibition. Once alcohol was outlawed in the United States, vineyards were repurposed to grow other crops.
In the 1960s winemakers revisited the area’s volcanic soil and sunny, temperate climate for growing grapes. The winemaking industry exploded, and today there are 23 wineries that are part of the Lake County Winery Association, which was created in 2007 to promote awareness of the area’s impressive products.
Luckily for Harvest Hosts members, several Lake County wineries are Host locations. Here’s a peek at four wineries (plus one bonus farm!) where you can park your RV and overnight to enjoy wines ranging from Chardonnay to Zinfandel and everything in between.
Chacewater Winery & Olive Mill
Family owned and operated, Chacewater Winery and Olive Mill in Kelseyville produces not only artisanal wine from grapes grown on select vineyards, but also extra-virgin olive oil and soaps from their own olive trees. Harvest Hosts members rave about the blood orange-infused olive oil drizzled over vanilla ice cream — “Like a Dreamsicle!”
Six Sigma Ranch and Winery
Stretching across 4,300 acres in Lower Lake, Six Sigma Ranch and Winery was once a working cattle ranch. Today, visitors can admire the 50 acres of vineyards, take hikes or bike rides on the many trails, spot several different animals, including wild turkeys and quail, and get to know the pet pig and goats that make their home there.
Smiling Dogs Ranch
If you like dogs and wine, you’ll fit in just fine at Smiling Dogs Ranch, a boutique winery in Kelseyville. Three sweet Samoyeds make their home here, and Harvest Hosts members’ doggos are welcome too (no non-neutered males, please). Grapes are harvested and wines are made with 100% renewable solar/wind energy, and wines include Sauvignon Blanc, Barbera, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Tempranillo — to name a few!
It may be a winding drive up to the pretty tasting room and associated Bed & Barrel vacation rentals at Stonehouse Cellars, in Clearlake Oaks. But if you’ve got a small-ish RV (30 feet or under is ideal, says one Harvest Hosts guest) or you’re traveling by car, consider a visit here to relax on a patio with stunning views, enjoy great hospitality, and taste a variety of handcrafted wines.
The Ripe Choice Farm Stay & Catering
Bring your appetite to The Ripe Choice Farm Stay. Here, you can enjoy delectable, farm-to-fork meals prepared by a professionally trained chef and delivered right to your RV front door! Park your RV next to vineyards, row crops, and olive groves, and meet the farm animals — pigs, chickens, and even a resident tortoise.
Have you visited any Lake County California wineries? We’d love to hear about your experience in the comments below!
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