County Seal

County Info

Area

  • Total 1,329 sq mi (3,440 km2)
  • Land 1,256 sq mi (3,250 km2)
  • Water 73 sq mi (190 km2)

Highest elevation[2]    7,059 ft (2,152 m)

Population (April 1, 2010)[3]

  • Total 64,665
  • Estimate (2016)[4] 64,116
  • Density 49/sq mi (19/km2)

History

Lake County was formed in 1861 from parts of Napa and Mendocino counties,[8] but the area had European-American settlers from at least the 1840s. Lake County has long been known as a farming community.

The 1911 California Blue Book lists the major crops as Bartlett pears and beans. Other crops include grain, alfalfa, hay, prunes, peaches, apples, grapes and walnuts. Stockraising included goats, hogs, turkeys and dairying.[9]

Some vineyards were planted in the 1870s by European Americans but the first in the state were established in the 18th century by Spanish missionaries. By the early 20th century, the area was earning a reputation for producing some of the world’s greatest wines. However, in 1920, national Prohibition essentially ended Lake County’s wine production. With authorized cultivation limited to sacramental purposes, most of the vineyards

 

Lake County vineyards

A re-emergence of Lake County’s wine industry began in the 1960s when a few growers rediscovered the area’s grape-growing potential and began planting vineyards. Several Lake County American Viticultural Areas, such as High Valley AVA and Red Hills Lake County AVA, have been recognized as having distinct character.

The area has increased vineyard acreage from fewer than 100 acres in 1965 to more than 9,455 acres of vineyard in 2015 (a 7.6 percent increase over 2014).[10] Lake County’s grape prices, at $1,634 per ton overall, also reached an all-time high in 2015.[10] In 2014, Lake County surpassed Mendocino County in price paid per ton of grapes in the North Coast premium market.[11]

The number of wineries also continues to grow, with over 35 wineries now located in Lake County.[12]

were ripped out and replanted with walnut and pear orchards.