Humboldt County
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Humboldt County: Is Too Much Terroir Possible?
by Clark Smith
October 14, 2012

Known for giant redwoods this remote Northern California appellation has sought to establish it's unique identity and is now finding it with wines that are truly different in the scheme of California. One quickly finds there are two halves to the whole of this region based on south to north, but also by mtn ridge count from the Pacific.

Willow Creek AVA, in the northern interior is warm. Southern Humboldt is cold demanding grapes that cherish this attribute.

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Humboldt County and Willow Creek

Humboldt County, located in Northwest California, is well known as a paradise for the outdoor adventurer and nature seeker alike. The coastline is awe inspiring and the Redwood Forrest National Park a natural treasure.

The county is known as the southern gateway to the Pacific Northwest, and judging by its cool, wet weather and sparse population it has more similarities to coastal Oregon than it does to the rest of California. Not surprising, despite the region’s natural beauty few wineries call Humboldt County home.

The wineries that are located in the county, particularly those close to the coast, concentrate their efforts on early ripening vinifera such as Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc. These wineries and others seeking to make big reds from grapes such as Zinfandel, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon source grapes from neighboring Mendocino and Trinity Counties as well as other more southerly locals, including the Napa Valley, to supplement their production.

Winery and vineyard expansion in the southern portions of Humboldt County have surfaced interests in defining an AVA to this region, which has ties to regions within northern most Mendocino. Pinot Noir has found significant success from this region.

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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.  [>] continue

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Humboldt County - Home of the world's tallest trees

About 200 miles north of San Francisco, Humboldt County on the Northern California Coast is a natural paradise. It boasts the world's tallest trees in Redwood National Park, the continental United States' longest stretch of wild beachfront along the Lost Coast, the state's second largest natural bay, as well as a variety of historic towns and seaports.

In addition to the giant redwoods, you'll find outdoor adventures like hiking, kayaking, biking and scenic drives. Humboldt Bay, for example, easily accessible from Old Town Eureka, offers paddlers a chance to see harbor seals, thousands of coastal birds, and schools of flapping bat rays. And the Avenue of the Giants offers by far the most remarkable auto tour among the massive old growth redwoods.

Combine the natural beauty with the area's commitment to agricultural quality -- the county has some of the state's oldest organic vineyards and farmers markets -- and visitors here find some excellent culinary discoveries.

The eclectic dining choices range from Old West lumber camp-style diners to Wine Spectator award-winning white-tablecloth restaurants. And the seafood? Fresh crab, salmon and clam are amply available at local markets and restaurants, as well as to visiting anglers and beachcombers.

Moreover, Humboldt oysters rank as the most popular in the state. Seventy percent of all oysters consumed in California originate from Humboldt Bay. And its Cypress Grove goat cheeses are found in fine restaurants and markets across the country. As an extra touch, many local markets, wine shops and restaurants offer Humboldt wines, pairing their best with the best from Humboldt farmers and fishermen.

The Redwood Coast also offers a variety of lodging choices, many of them intimate B&Bs that showcase the region's heritage. Many are in Eureka, or the Victorian Seaport, which has a restored 19th Century Old Town business district on the waterfront; and in Ferndale, which has been called the state's best preserved Victorian village. Familiar national motel chains along with RV parks are easily accessible along Hwy 101, often overlooking redwoods, farmlands, and the rugged coast.

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Featured Wines

Briceland Vineyards NV Humboldt Brut Sparking Wine A non vintage Brut comprised of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay that defines Humboldt County sparkling wine.
buy wine $35.00

Joseph Jewel Wines 2009 Pinot Noir - Elk Prairie Vineyard The 2009 Elk Prairie Pinot Noir shows bright clarity and medium intensity in appearance with a garnet to ruby color.
buy wine $39.00

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