Things have changed dramatically for grape growing and winemaking in the Kelseyville area in thirty-five years that I’ve been part of the Lake County wine scene.
When I arrived in the Kelseyville area in 1983, pears were the chief agricultural crop.
Back then there were 6000 acres of pears and 3000 acres of wine grapes in Lake County. Today pears are still important with 2000 acres, but grape acreage has ballooned to nearly 10,000 acres.
Back then there were only two wineries in the immediate Kelseyville area. Today we have eleven wineries in our area. Four of these have their tasting rooms right in Kelseyville.
Besides the sheer quantity of the grape acreage increase, more importantly we have learned to fine tune our planting locations, matching specific varietals to prime soils. We now know that specific areas around Kelseyville hold incredible soil types that produce truly world class wines. Two of these have been recognized by the federal government and granted the formal status of Approved Viticultural Area. They are Red Hills and Kelsey Bench.
We are now seeing great Cabernets, Malbecs, Barberas and Zinfandels being produced from grapes grown in these appellations.
Besides finding a great variety of our area’s wines in our local tasting rooms, a number of Kelseyville’s restaurants now serve Lake County wines exclusively. Stop by The Saw Shop and enjoy a bottle of Red Hills Cab Sauv or Catfish Zin with some of Marie’s special menu items.