Friday, 17 May 2024

Foodie Freak: Red Lava Tasting Room opening

On Saturday, Sept. 6, the Red Lava Tasting Room officially opened with a free wine tasting and hors d’ouvres menu. The hors d’ouvres were provided by Pine Dell Resort and Deli in Clearlake Park. Part of the proceeds from the sale of wines went to benefit the Lake Family Resource Center and there was a raffle for several prizes containing a variety of wines, art, and various other goodies, the proceeds of which also go to benefit the center.

You’ve probably figured out by now that if I get an invitation to attend a function that involves food and wine I consider it, but if it also benefits a local charity you can consider me there.

The Red Lava Tasting Room is located on Highway 29, right by Kit’s Corner. The tasting was well attended during the time I was there, and there was the requisite ribbon cutting with the ceremonious giant scissors ... It makes you wonder: is there enough of a market out there for giant scissors that they have a factory punching out hundreds of them per hour, or is there just one pair of giant scissors that gets moved from location to location opening every business in the land? I’m just curious.

I enjoyed talking to the staff and was well entertained. They are fairly knowledgeable, although some will admit to still be learning. Because of their willingness to admit this, I got the feeling that I was tasting wine with friends more than with a salesman. I’ve been in too many tasting rooms that are filled with pretension and snobbery, and I just roll my eyes when winery staff says things like “Our vineyards are only watered by the tears of angels as they weep for joy at the thought our wine.”

The wine industry has suffered too long with the stigma of the snooty French waiter pointing his nose into the air for wineries to put up with that kind of attitude, and unfortunately Lake County does have a couple of them. But not here in the Red Lava Tasting Room; you’ll be welcomed like an old friend.


The Red Lava Tasting Room serves wines from several wineries around Lake County that don’t have tasting rooms yet. I appreciated this cooperative spirit; everyone lends a hand to make the small tasting room a success, and all these small wineries get the exposure they need. The day of the grand opening they were serving 13 different wines from five different wineries, including their own. We tasted all of them and my wife jotted down notes as we tried each one.


The menu given to us as we started has a spot for tasting notes and mine is sitting here in front of me with some scribbled words, for instance next to Red Lava Vineyard the notes say “Porty aroma,” “Smokey,” and “Surprisingly full.” Robledo Family Vineyards has “a little nutty,” and “Dry, fruity.” Eden Crest says “A mild red for people who normally wouldn’t like red.” Shed Horn Cellars: “Full bodied, nice legs.” My wife will just edit out any joke I make here ... Sol Rouge Winery: ... The tasting room was serving two of their wines, but I’ve already reviewed them. I’ll have to admit Sol Rouge is becoming a favorite in our house, so tasting their wines at an event like this is just a chance to have some of theirs free since we already have several bottles at home.

The signage out in front of the tasting room is straightforward and plain, but it’s a brand new place and I’m sure it will get customized as they settle in. The psychological effect when viewing the sign is interesting: when seeing the place for the first time my wife was unimpressed with the sign or exterior and subconsciously lowered her expectations, but as we left she commented that the wines were all so much better than she was expecting. I guess first impressions can be changed. Tastings normally cost $5 per person, and for 13 wines that is quite fair. There is a wide enough variety of wines to ensure you will find something that you like.

The Red Lava tasting room also carries some amazing art works from local artists, both paintings and photography. And of course I have to mention the countertop that the tastings are served at – that is one amazing and beautiful chunk of wood! I personally will be returning to the Red Lava tasting room to purchase wines on a regular basis.

As I mentioned before, proceeds from the raffle and some of the wine sales will go to benefit the Lake Family Resource Center. The Lake Family Resource Center is a network for emergency services to help people in a multitude of circumstances including domestic violence, rape, child abuse, child development, parenting support, support groups, even tobacco control programs. They are always in need of donations, primarily in the form of money but also clothes, furniture, household goods, food, and volunteers. With the exception of money, their needs are not necessarily in that order.

If anyone is interested in answering the crisis hotline there is a class coming up in October to train those interested. They could use people with almost any expertise so if you have the time, they have the need; even if you are a professional Himalayan sherpa I’m sure they could use you.

They are a nonprofit community benefit organization so your donations are tax-deductible. The Lake Family Resource Center crisis line is 1-888-485-7733 and is staffed 24 hours a day. Their non-emergency number is 707-262-1611. They are headquartered at 896 Lakeport Blvd. in Lakeport and have an additional office at 14671 Olympic Dr. in Clearlake.

The Red Lava Tasting Room and the Lake County Resource Center – two great features for the Lake County community.

Ross A. Christensen is an award-winning gardener and gourmet cook. He is the author of "Sushi A to Z, The Ultimate Guide" and is currently working on a new book. He has been a public speaker for many years and enjoys being involved in the community.


Upcoming Calendar

05.18.2024 7:30 am - 1:00 pm
Inaugural veterans charity run
05.18.2024 8:00 am - 11:00 am
Sheriff’s Activity League benefit breakfast
05.18.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
05.18.2024 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Land Trust benefit
05.21.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
05.22.2024 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Lake Leadership Forum
05.25.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
Memorial Day
05.28.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park

Mini Calendar



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