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Wine Tour: Brassfield Estate Winery
Atop a volcano ridge, this remote winery embraces the natural habitat and protects the ecosystem while producing handcrafted wines.
With valley floor vineyards at an elevation of 1,800 feet, and even loftier vineyards (the highest resting on a 3,000-foot-high volcano ridge), Brassfield Estate Winery in Clearlake Oaks has some of the most unique vineyards in the state of California. The family-owned estate is located in a remote western section of Lake County’s stunning High Valley—so remote that sustainability is not a choice, it’s a necessity.
There is no municipal water supply to tap into, so the winery relies completely on water captured in wells and recycled water to grow and make its wines. This fervent commitment to being a steward of the land goes beyond vineyard practices. Brassfield protects the entire ecosystem, including the native vegetation and wildlife. Game corridors and duck habitats are an important part of the vineyard map, and 1,000 acres of land are cut off completely to assure that wildlife remains part of this treasured ecosystem.
The Brassfields have embraced the sustainable philosophy of the family farmer for generations. By placing its unwavering respect for the land first, before concerns about quantity and profits, a superior quality of wine naturally follows. The wines are handcrafted from 100 percent estate-grown grapes. Fine winemaking techniques are used like fermentation using native yeast, bottling without filtration, sur lie aging, and small lot fermentation. These careful techniques create wines with both style and finesse. The 2009 Brassfield Estate Eruption, an intriguing proprietary blend of Syrah, Mourvèdre, Petite Sirah, and Malbec, was recently awarded 91 points by Wine Advocate’s Antonio Galloni, who declared, "This is about as great a California wine as readers will find for the money."
The renowned David Ramey came on board as Brassfield Estate Winery’s winemaking consultant with the 2009 vintage, further enhancing the potential for its fruit-driven, rich, and well balanced wines. They are there for the tasting daily, on a beautiful expanse of High Serenity Ranch. Visitors are awestruck, first by the natural beauty and then, by Brassfield’s exquisite wines.
WHAT TO BUY
’11 Serenity - $15
Mango, pineapple, key lime, Bartlett pear, citrus, honeydew
’10 Eruption - $24
Dark berry, sandalwood, cocoa
’11 Pinot Noir - $24
Cherry cola, ripe pomegranate
Tasting Room Open Daily 10–5
10915 High Valley Rd.
Clearlake Oaks, CA 95423
Picnic grounds, weddings and corporate events, wine club events.
Touring & Tasting is a media company that produces a wine and travel magazine and is also partner in the Hitched Wine Club.
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