Snows Lake Vineyard:
Wine and food have been intertwined in the Snows Lake Vineyard story for more than a century. It is truly a part of California history. The vineyard itself contains many small mementos that point to the larger story of grape growing in the Red Hills region of the Mayacamas Mountains in Lake County. Although it never had a railroad within its borders, Lake County had a flourishing wine industry... Read more
Wine and food have been intertwined in the Snows Lake Vineyard story for more than a century. It is truly a part of California history. The vineyard itself contains many small mementos that point to the larger story of grape growing in the Red Hills region of the Mayacamas Mountains in Lake County. Although it never had a railroad within its borders, Lake County had a flourishing wine industry before Prohibition. In the early 1900s there were more than 7,000 acres of grapes planted and 36 wineries. Fruit grower David Voight was the first to plant vines and make wine in Lake County in 1872. Although the county claimed 600 acres in grapes in 1884, his was the only commercial winery in the county. A wealthy Englishman, George Wrey, who owned coal mines in Scotland, a sheep ranch in Australia and an orange grove in Florida came to Lake County in the 1880s. He bought 5,000 acres of land two miles south of Lower Lake, on the road to Middletown. Wrey planted 100 acres of vines and planned to make and bottle his own wine until Prohibition put an end to his plans. Wrey lured the services of a young Italian cook, Joseph Perini, to cook at his Lake County ranch. Perini was born in 1872 in the town of Masserano in Italy’s Piedmont region. His homeland was hill country, with many small farms, each with a vineyard and a garden. When he came to San Francisco as a young man in his 20s, he began work as a cook at the Palace Hotel. Here he met Wrey, who was so impressed with his culinary talents he invited him to his ranch.By then Joe was married to Josephine Delmonte, also from his hometown of Masserano, and they were looking for a place to settle and raise a family. One day while hunting, Perini came across a beautiful meadow surrounded with oaks and pines, with yearlong water springs all over the property. There was also a small house and vineyard, and Joe knew instantly this was the place he wanted to raise his family. He bought the 556 acres ranch in 1901 and raised five girls and a boy, wine grapes, vegetables, flowers, walnuts and beef cattle. For nearly 100 years, the Perini family owned the property and raised both families and a wide range of crops on the land. The Perinis worked hard to clear the land of rocks; 40 acres were cleared for an orchard, a testimony to the family’s hard work and dedication. Perini Hill, named for them, was known locally at first for its rocky soil and many Lake County diamonds. But by 1905 it became famous also for serving Italian meals, a family tradition that continued on this ranch for over 70 years. In keeping with the habits of their homeland, Joe and Josephine served only homegrown fare at their ranch: tempting vegetable hors d’oeuvres, fresh green salad, platters of delicious Italian vegetables, home-made raviolis and tasty chicken. Prior to the 1930s and Prohibition, grapes were grown on the ranch, and the Perinis served their own homemade wine to accompany the Italian meals; usually a Zinfandel grown from ranch grapes. Around 1925, the family built their first cabin rental and Perini Hill became a favorite vacation destination. Josephine Perini died in 1946, and Joe died in 1953. But their daughter Theresa, continued the family tradition of serving food, wine and hospitality for decades. Perini Hill’s huge deposit of Lake County diamonds have been called “Moon Tears.” These semi-precious stones of volcanic origin are as brilliant as real diamonds and found nowhere else in the world. Lake County diamonds are highly prized by collectors and have been sold commercially for years: some of them have made their way to Tiffany & Company in New York. According to one Indian legend, a Pomo Indian Chieftan and the moon fell in love. The moon could not stay with the Chieftan because she was needed by the people to light the night sky and mark the seasons. She was so sad to leave the Chieftan that she wept “Moon Tears” which became Lake County diamonds. When part of Perini Hill was cleared to plant walnut trees in the 1920s and 1930s, a log cabin was built with the timber harvested from Perini Hill. The Laier House, which still stands today on the grounds of Snows Lake Vineyard, is one of the few historic residences in Lake County. Snows Lake – which is located on the southeast side of Perini Hill, was named after Sam Snow, a woodcutter in the area in the 1880s who lived on the shore of the lake. Around the turn of the century it is believed that Snows Lake was used for ice production in the winter, and for sawdust storage in the summer. Along with the Perinis, other Lake County winemaking pioneers include Jack Carson, brother of Kit Carson and Seranus C. Hastings, a lawyer who was the founder of the University of California College of Law, which is named after him. Before retirement to grow grapes in Lake County, he served as Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court and State Attorney General of California. But it was the Perini family who were the best-known local providers of fabulous fresh Lake County food and wine. Today Snows Lake Vineyard is owned by the Myers family, who continue the Perini lifestyle that has been a Lake County tradition since 1901; hard work and good friends coming together in a celebration of wonderful food and wine—wine made from grapes grown on the property with great pride, care and skill. Read less
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Food Pairings for Snows Lake Two Cabernet Sauvignon Cabernet Franc North Coast Lake County
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