Lake County, California

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Lake County is a county located in the north central portion of California, north of the San Francisco Bay Area. It takes its name from Clear Lake, the dominant geographic feature in the county and the largest natural lake wholly within California (unlike Lake Tahoe which is partially in Nevada). As of 2000 the population was 58,309. The county seat is Lakeport.



Lake County was formed in 1861 from parts of Napa and Mendocino counties. Lake County has long been known as a farming community. Vineyards were planted in the 1870s. By the early 20th century the area was earning a reputation for producing some of the world's greatest wines. However, in 1920, Prohibition ended Lake County's wine production. Most of the vineyards were ripped out and replanted with walnut and pear farms.

A re-emergence of the wine industry began in the 1960s when a few growers rediscovered the area's grape growing potential and began planting vineyards. The area went from fewer than 100 acres (0.4 km2) of grapevines in 1965 to over 8,800 acres (36 km2) of vineyards today, and has seen the recent establishment of several American Viticultural Areas such as High Valley AVA and Red Hills Lake County AVA. Many of the vineyards in Lake County today support sustainable farming practices.

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