No trip to Lake County is complete without visiting the stunning wineries that makes this part of Northern California so popular. With its mineral rich volcanic soil, ideal topography and climate, Lake County is a world class destination for wines. And at only two hours north of San Francisco it makes the perfect getaway loccation.
What pairs better with the best Lake County wines than some of the best Lake County restaurants to go with it?! From hearty menus and ranch to table meals, to fresh organic produce from local farms, Lake County is a foodie’s delight.
Be sure to check out our places to stay and best things to do in Lake County article for more getaway recommendations!
Best Wineries in Lake County
Here are our recommendations for the best wineries in Lake County for your next Northern California getaway:
Boatique Winery, Kelseyville
Boatique Winery is a beautiful family owned and operated winery named after a number of antique boats that make up the showroom. Boats, antique, boatique… get it?! Yeah we thought it was pretty clever as well. But it’s not just the collection of boats that make this location elite, it’s the wines, the vineyards, the property and the people that makes Boatique a must visit spot when exploring Lake County and Kelseyville wineries.
With a stunning patio view of the distant mountains, Boatique is the perfect place to sip a glass of wine (or two) as the sun goes down. You can also take a wander through the showroom to admire the exquisite collection of antique boats or stroll through the olive trees and vineyards with a glass in hand.
We had such a great experience here chatting to not only the wine maker and manager, but also one of the grandchildren of the founders who is still involved in business. It was awesome hearing about the history, as well as the plans for the future.
Boatique Winery is located a short distance from Kelseyville’s main center, so if you want to responsibly knock back a few extra glasses, you can also stay at a number of different accommodation options at the winery. There’s a super cute cottage, as well as a house on the hill, that is available for rent. The cottage is a quaint little one bedroom place, perfect for a romantic getaway for two. If you’re looking to book a group the hill house has three bedrooms and sleeps six.
Six Sigma Ranch
Six Sigma Ranch really is the multi-tool of locations to visit in Lake County, offering up something for everyone on their 4300-acre ranch. The family run ranch not only has world class mountain biking trails and overnight RV/trailer for members, but they’ve also got delicious ranch to table dinners, vineyards tours and exceptional wine tasting.
Not only are the selection of reds and whites at Six Sigma incredible, but any visitors to the ranch have the opportunity to learn more about the process and explore the vineyards. And when we say explore the vineyards we don’t just mean another walk through the grapevines, we’re talking about a tour in an old Pinzgauer (an all-terrain military utility vehicle). Tours cost $25, hold up to 10 people, and help you learn more about the soil and climate that makes Six Sigma Ranch unique. You’ll also venture to the highest elevation of the property at Diamond Mine Vineyard.
Along with all the activities that you can do at Six Sigma there are also some fantastic dining opportunities at the ranch. Each year Six Sigma hosts a number of different events that showcase their high quality wines and beef. There are four course Ranch-to-Table shared dinner experiences that serve up local produce and meat, along with a wine pairing. If you can’t make one of the events you can also arrange a private group ranch to table experience for you and your friends, where you’ll have the opportunity to choose your menu and wine pairing.
Wild Diamond Winery
Lake County wine tasting wouldn’t be complete without a stop by Wild Diamond Winery to admire the incredible views and wines. Perched on top of a hill, the Wild Diamond tasting room is constructed out of a recycled shipping container. The structure is super simple, yet amazingly effective in using the space and reducing the carbon footprint of the area.
The shipping container has been retrofitted to include the bar, sales room, merch shop and even a nice refuge from the heat in the A/C. Outside, underneath a shade sail, there are seats overlooking the vineyards below. On top of the container there are also more seats that give you an even more elevated view of the horizon.
We arrived in the middle of the afternoon when the sun was quite warm, so we welcomed a nice cold bottle of Moon Tears, their signature Albarino. As we sipped the chilled white we walked around the vineyards and sampled a few of the grapes straight off the vine along the way.
The Shannon Mercantile
Last, but certainly not least, on the list of Lake County wine tasting locations is The Mercantile, home of the Shannon Family of Wines. This tasting room, located between Lakeport and Kelseyville, is a gorgeous place to stop by for a glass of wine, delicious charcuterie board and to snip yourself a beautiful bouquet of zinnias.
The tasting room itself is a beautiful building with large roller doors that open up and let the air flow through. Along with a white granite bar that extends around the room, there’s also a delicatessen of local snacks and items to purchase along with your wine.
Apart from the fact that the wines are worth a stop, one of the fun drawing cards to The Shannon Mercantile is the ‘Pick and Sip’ garden that runs adjacent to the tasting room. There you’ll find rows upon rows of brightly colored zinnias amongst leafy green leaves. Visitors are encouraged to grab a pair of snippers from the tasting room and cut themselves a bouquet of flowers to take on their travels.
Best Restaurants in Lake County
Fine wine isn’t all that Lake County has to offer, there’s also an excellent selection of restaurants to choose from while visiting. Here is a list of our top restaurants in Lake County for your next trip:
Red’s at the Skyroom
This somewhat unassuming diner had some of the best food we’ve eaten on a work trip. There’s something to be said for knowing your menu and just doing it really well. When ordering the ‘basic a$$ burger’, fish and chips and an iceberg wedge salad, admittedly, we were expecting some simple food. But what we got served up was extremely tasty.
Dining at Red’s at the Skyroom isn’t just recommended for the food, there’s also the added feature of the diner being located right next to the small Lakeport regional airstrip. And when we say right next to, we mean you can literally sit on the outside patio sipping a cold local beer, nibbling away at your food and give a pilot a thumbs up as they’re about to take off. This, along with the superb food, makes Red’s a must visit location if you want elevated comfort food in a unique setting.
Saw Shop Public House
Located in the center of Kelseyville, this farm-to-table restaurant offers a wide variety of dishes in their unique Asian fusion menu. Part Mexican, part American, part Italian and a lot of Asian flare make up the majority of Saw Shop Public House’s delicious plates.
The Crispy Asian Cauliflower starter was the hero dish of the evening and could have been mistaken for some form of fried meat if you didn’t know any better. We also really enjoyed the seared ahi tuna and crispy shrimp tacos. Oh and we loved the pear flatbread. Yep, we ordered a lot of different plates at this restaurant, all in the name of research of course!
And naturally the only way to wash all this food down was with a couple of cocktails from nearly 20 different options. We were also fortunate enough to arrive in Kelseyville on the weekend of their annual pear festival, so a lot of the food and drinks were pear themed to suit the occasion. Be sure to check out dates for the next pear festival, although we’d advise booking far in advance as the town is at max capacity over this weekend.
Blue Wing Saloon
Not only is the Blue Wing Saloon conveniently located onsite at the Tallman Hotel, but this is a place you’d go out of your way to to visit if you were in Lake County. Kick back underneath the sycamore trees in the courtyard, or nestle into the patio under an outdoor heater to soak in the atmosphere with a delicious meal. Most evenings and Sunday brunch there’s also live music to enjoy while you eat or sip a glass of local wine.
The menu boasts a wide range of choices, where the only difficulty you’ll have is working out which item to choose, or whether you’re going to have to come back the next day to sample more dishes. From pan-roasted chicken and seared salmon, to grilled ribeye and lobster tail ravioli, as well as vegetarian options, there’s something for everyone.
They also have a cocktail list with a couple of local twists on some classic favorites. And of course there’s an extensive selection of excellent local wines to choose from, including wines from Six Sigma, Wild Diamond and Boatique.