There are a lot of things happening the weekend of May 20-21 but if you’re not committed yet, we suggest attending the 2017 Lake County Wine Adventure. On both Saturday and Sunday, between 11 am and 5 pm, you can enjoy award-winning wine, delicious food, music and more. There are 27 wineries participating this year and the weather should be gorgeous (high 70’s). If you get a little warm, the good news is you’re right next to Clear Lake, the largest natural freshwater lake in California.
Lake County Wine Adventure tickets are only $55 for two days of fun (or $40 for Sunday-only) if you purchase them online by May 19. When you do, you’ll have your choice of places located all around the county to check in at (Clearlake Oaks, Kelseyville, Middletown and Upper Lake). Those locations also provide early bird check-in on Friday if you prefer, including up until 8 pm that night (Lake County Wine Studio) or midnight (Twin Pine Casino & Hotel). If you’re not already familiar with the area, then this map may help you get your bearings.
Lake County wineries strongly believe in responsible celebrations so they also offer $15 Designated Driver Tickets for the Wine Adventure (DDs are invited to enjoy non-alcoholic drinks, food and entertainment at the wineries). You will actually be able to purchase tickets during the event weekend if you need to, but ticket prices will be $10 more at the door on Saturday (for the two-day pass), or $5 more on Sunday (for the one-day pass) so maybe you should just go here now.
You can find a wide spectrum of delicious wines during the Lake County Wine Adventure. The wines made here are crafted from the more commonly found varietals in California (Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel) as well as less frequently found ones (Aglianico, Barbera, Charbono, Grenache, Grenache Blanc, Sangiovese, Tempranillo). We also strongly suggest you seek out local proprietary blends such as Rosa d’Oro’s “Trigrammaton” (Carménère, Tinta Roriz, Cabernet Franc) and Shannon Ridge’s “Cimarron” (Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre).
Keep reading and we’ll tell you what kind of adventures you can expect during the weekend and some of the participating wineries’ most recent accolades. Lake County wines have performed well at recent competitions, receiving Gold Medal ratings (based on the judges’ collective rating), Double Gold ratings (where each of the judges’ personal ratings equaled a gold medal), and even higher recognitions such as Best of Class, Best of Lake County and Best of California.
Brassfield Estate – “It’s all about the gold” here during the 2017 Lake County Wine Adventure so come join the pirates and enjoy gold-medal wines. There will be games, prizes and live music from The Electric Toys on Saturday and Michael Barrish on Sunday. Brassfield’s 2014 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon was awarded Best of Lake County at the 2017 Press Democrat North Coast Wine Challenge.
Cache Creek Vineyards – There will be a Mardi Gras party here enhanced with Cajun small bites, a photo booth, and even Karaoke available for your use. Cache Creek’s 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon received a Double Gold rating at the 2017 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.
Chacewater Winery & Olive Mill – At this year’s Wine Adventure, Chacewater will celebrate their English roots by serving up Cornish Pasties and other meaty treats to pair with their wines as they show off their new outdoor pergola and picnic area. Chacewater’s 2013 Malbec was rated Double Gold and named Best of California at the 2017 California State Fair Commercial Wine Competition.
Fore Family Vineyards – Take your time to view the art in this downtown Kelseyville tasting room as you enjoy their premium wines. Their 2014 GSM Blend (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre) received a Gold Medal at the 2017 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.
Gregory Graham Wines – Dance to music from the popular local band Hip Replacements and savor Pork Sliders along with the award winning wines here. The Gregory Graham 2013 Pinot Noir won Best of Class at the 2017 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.
Rosa d’Oro Vineyards – In downtown Kelseyville, Rosa d’Oro will showcase their Italian background by offering Italian food treats to match up with their Italian varietal award-winning wines. Their 2012 Sangiovese received a score of 92 from the Wine Enthusiast.
Shannon Ridge Winery – Have some fun with adult games here (Giant Jenga, anyone?) as you taste their wines and food offerings, which we’re hoping will include a lamb dish (we still remember fondly the Lamb Pita with Pistachio Mint Pesto from a few years ago). The High Valley 2016 Sauvignon Blanc was rated Double Gold and named Best of California at the 2017 California State Fair Commercial Wine Competition.
Six Sigma Ranch, Vineyards & Winery – Head “Back to the Ranch” where you can meet the Ahlmann’s farm animals (possibly including Topper, the pot-bellied pig) on your Lake County Wine Adventure. Six Sigma’s 2013 Tempranillo won a Gold Medal at the 2017 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.
Steele Wines – The winery’s outdoor picnic area will be transformed into a “Park in Paris” where you’ll find French Hors d’Oeuvres to pair with Steele’s varietals from the Bordeaux, Burgundy and Rhône regions of France. The Steele-Stymie 2014 Syrah was rated Double Gold, and Best of Class of Region at the 2017 California State Fair Commercial Wine Competition.
Wildhurst Vineyards – You’ll find a Fun Fiesta at Wildhurst where they will be featuring Street Tacos to go with their terrific wines. The Wildhurst 2015 Chardonnay won a Gold Medal at the 2017 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.
Several other wineries are participating this year, such as Fults Family Vineyards (celebrating with a Hawaiian theme), Laujor Estate (offering Spanish treats and a Sangria Luge), Moore Family Winery (with great mountain views and Gumbo), Mt. Konocti Winery (producers of a Pear Sparkling Wine), Stonehouse Cellars (the newest winery in Lake County), and another dozen more. To see the complete list of wineries and what their plans are that weekend, please go here.
Now in its 13th year, the Lake County Wine Adventure is a terrific way to discover how well they make wines in this region of high elevations and rolling hillsides next to a majestic (but happily dormant) volcano, Mt. Konocti. If you don’t live in the immediate area, you should know that this rural and relaxed environment is only two hours by car from either the Bay Area or the Sacramento Valley.
If you need some assistance with lodging, Lake County has accommodations ranging from boutique inns to more casual surroundings. Currently, it appears that there are still reservations available that weekend at Clear Lake Cottages & Marina (Clear Lake), Featherbed Railroad Bed & Breakfast Resort (Nice), Konocti Vista Casino Resort, Marina & RV Park (Lakeport), Lodge at Blue Lakes (Upper Lake) and the Tallman Hotel (Upper Lake).
The Lake County Wine Adventure is hosted by the Lake County Winery Association. Founded in 2007, the Association is dedicated to increasing awareness of the quality wines produced here, preserving the beauty of the area, and attracting tourism to this ruggedly bucolic wine region.
To read more about how much fun we had at last year’s Lake County Wine Adventure, and other attractions in Lake County, just follow this link.