The Clear Lake AVA is located in Lake County, California and located on 5,000 acres. Half of the area contained within the boundaries of the AVA is the actual Clear Lake itself. The lake is the largest natural lake found entirely within the state of California and is considered to be the oldest in North America due to its unique geology. The presence of the lake has a great influence on the temperature and climate of the region, resulting in less variance between daily and nightly temperatures than in neighboring AVAs. The Clear Lake AVA is quite cool for California, which is suitable for grape varietals that enjoy the cold, like Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
The first wine grapes were produced by European immigrants to Lake County. Prior to Prohibition Lake County produced more wine grapes than Napa but was able to recover after repeal due to a lack of transportation infrastructure. Prior to Prohibition, the wine produced from this area was of high quality, Charles Hammond, of Upper Lake, won prizes for both red and white wines at the Chicago World's Fair of 1893. His vineyard, Ma Tel, however was destroyed by raising water after the construction of the Cache Creek Dam in 1914.