Red Hills Lake County AVA is found in Lake County - entirely within Clear Lake AVA.
The Red Hills AVA was established in 2004 and contains numerous wineries on more than 31,000 acres. There are many independent vineyards in the AVA that don’t have wineries of their own but grow grapes to sell to wineries within the AVA, throughout the county, and even to neighboring counties.
The most noticeable factor of the vineyards in the AVA is that the soil is predominantly red lava from the area’s dead volcanoes. Although the total acreage of the Red Hills may seem quite large, the amount of acres that are suitable for vineyards is actually rather small.
The climate of the Red Hills AVA is very similar to the Rhone Valley and Bordeaux region of France, so grape varietals from those areas grow really well in the Red Hills AVA. Rhone variety grapes like cooler conditions, while Bordeaux variety of grapes like a warmer situation. The Red Hills AVA provides both.
As might be surmised, conditions are well suited for red varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Zinfandel, Petite Syrah, Malbec, Petit Verdot and Sangiovese. But much of the reputation of the Red Hills is based on Sauvignon Blanc. The soils and climate provide a fertile environment for developing wonderfully complex flavor profiles for this varietal. The escalating reputation for Sauvignon Blanc wines is helping to focus attention on this unique area.
In the southern Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina and Georgia vineyards are small and few, yet the establishment of the Upper Hiwassee Highlands could bring much more.
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