By Lisa Rowlands

Occupying approximately four and a half thousand hectares north of the town of Kelseyville, Big Valley sits on the edge of Clear Lake - California’s largest inland body of water, with a shield of mountains to the south, west and east and soils comprising largely of gravel and clay loam. Warm, dry summers and cold winters characterise the climate here providing minimal risk from vine pests and perfect conditions for high quality viticulture.

Vineyards in Big Valley are sited at elevations above four-hundred metres and this elevation, coupled with Lake County’s celebrated air quality, allows the vines excellent UV exposure. During the day, Big Valley grapes enjoy sunshine in abundance with temperatures moderated by nearby Clear Lake, but in the evenings, as cool breezes drop in over the Mayacama Mountains, temperatures plummet. The significant variation throughout the day, enables the slow ripening of grapes without sacrificing acidity, leading to intensely flavoured and well-balanced wines.

Sauvignon Blanc is the appellation’s most celebrated grape, covering a major part of Big Valley’s eight-hundred vineyard hectares and producing wonderfully crisp, brilliantly clear and aromatic wines. Other varieties of note here include red grapes Zinfandel and Cabernet Franc along with whites - Riesling, Viognier and Chardonnay.