The Fortress Vineyard is located on a ridge on the side of Mt. Konocti overlooking Clear Lake in the Red Hills Lake County AVA (“American Viticultural Area”). The U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (also known as the TTB) will approve a new AVA only if a particular geographical area demonstrates that the growing conditions in that area – the soil, elevation, climatic conditions – have enough differences from the surrounding areas so as to distinguish it as a distinct growing area. The Red Hills Lake County AVA was approved by the TTB in September 2004.
The Red Hills Lake County AVA is distinguished by red volcanic gravelly soils and a distinctive lake-land effect breeze/wind that moderates temperatures. The Fortress Vineyard has one of, if not the highest, elevations in the Red Hills. The Fortress Vineyard is located on the northwestern boundary of the Red Hills appellation directly overlooking Clear Lake and the town of Kelseyville. Positioned very close to the Lake on the ridge of the mountain, the vineyard benefits from a direct daily breeze that keeps the individual vine environment 6 to 8 degrees cooler on any day than the areas below the vineyard. We think our fruit and wine reflect this unique high-altitude location.
The Red Hills Lake County AVA is a part of the larger, multi-county North Coast AVA comprised of four counties: Lake, Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino.
Photo by Martin Sundberg, Berkeley, CA