Lake County is a county located in the north central portion of the U.S. state of California. As of the 2010 census, the population was 64,665. The county seat is Lakeport. The county takes its name from Clear Lake, the dominant geographic feature in the county and the largest natural lake wholly within California (Lake Tahoe is partially in Nevada; Salton Sea was accidentally flooded).
It is north of the San Francisco Bay Area.
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.
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 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 has increased vineyards from fewer than of grapevines in 1965 to more than of vineyards today. Since the late 20th century, several American Viticultural Areas, such as High Valley AVA and Red Hills Lake County AVA, have been recognized as having distinct character. Many of the vineyards in Lake County today support sustainable farming practices.