Big Valley District AVA

Big Valley AVA - Lake County

Runoff over millennia have eroded the Mayacamas’ young volcanic foothills of Kelsey Bench into the ancient clays and deposits of Big Valley on the shores of Clear Lake, North America’s oldest lake, estimated to be two and a half million years old. Big Valley’s mix of gravel, clay and loam, bright sunlight from the 1,400 feet elevation, and cool nights produces remarkable Sauvignon Blancs, establishing Lake County as one of the premier California regions for the varietal. Along with the volcanic Kelsey Bench, the gravel seams in Big Valley produce intense and balanced Zinfandels and Cabernet Francs.

Big Valley growers were among the first visionaries to discover the region’s winegrape potential and began planting vineyards in the 1960s, the first in Lake County since Prohibition.

Topography Bordered by Clearlake on the north, the Mayacamas on the west and south, and Mount Konocti on the east, Big Valley is a structural basin that is part of the larger Clear Lake basin.
Elevation Vineyard elevations range from 1,330 to 1,440 feet in Big Valley. Higher elevations and Lake County’s pure air allow for greater levels of UV light, as much as 10% more than neighboring sea level valleys. This UV intensity triggers thicker skins, greater tannins, and intense wines with high phenolic content.
Soils The evolving watershed has eroded into the fertile blocks of clay and loam soils of Big Valley, resulting in swaths of gravel deposits and well-drained soils.
Acreage 3,288 acres (Big Valley and Kelsey Bench)
Climate Warms days are moderated by the thermal mass of Clear Lake. Afternoon breezes carry down from the ridges of the Mayacamas and initiate afternoon cooling that often results in 50° diurnal cycles, key to retaining acidity in mature wine grapes. Cold winters and dry summers allow for low rates of pesticide and other applications.
Varietals Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Viogner, Riesling, Cabernet Franc, Zinfandel and Merlot.

Lake County AVA Map

One-page overview of the Big Valley AVA (PDF)

Calendar of Events

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LCWC Board Meeting 4:00 pm
LCWC Board Meeting @ LCWC Office
Dec 3 @ 4:00 pm – 5:15 pm
Agenda – LCWC Board Meeting, December 3, 2019
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Crop Insurance Webinar Series 10:00 am
Crop Insurance Webinar Series
Dec 4 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am
Crop Insurance Webinar Series
Crop Insurance 101 As the harvest season wraps up, it’s time to start planning for next year. An important part of your 2020 planning process is risk management of your most valuable asset – –[...]
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Crop Insurance Webinar Series 10:00 am
Crop Insurance Webinar Series
Dec 11 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am
Crop Insurance Webinar Series
Crop Insurance 102 Whether you are new to crop insurance or you’ve been purchasing it for many years, CAWG is committed to bringing you education on the most current industry topics. Our Crop 102 webinar[...]
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UCCE Lake & Mendocino IPM Seminar 7:30 am
UCCE Lake & Mendocino IPM Seminar @ UC Hopland Research and Extension Center
Dec 13 @ 7:30 am – 5:00 pm
22nd Annual UCCE Lake & Mendocino IPM Seminar   UC Hopland Research and Extension Center 4070 University Road, Hopland Rod Shippey Hall Friday, December 13, 2019 Doors open 7:30 am for Registration Seminar starts at[...]
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Crop Insurance Webinar Series 10:00 am
Crop Insurance Webinar Series
Dec 18 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am
Crop Insurance Webinar Series
Whole Farm Revenue Protection Want to protect your crop against price and market losses? Maybe Whole Farm Revenue Protection (WFRP) is for you! Join CAWG on Wednesday, December 18th at 10:00 am to learn more[...]
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