Tempting as that all sounded, when Lynn invited us to join her to visit her friend’s winery, Ceago Del Lago, we jumped at the chance. Her friend was Jim Fetzer, one of the 11 children of the prominent winemaking family. We had already heard rave reviews about this Shangrila-esque holistic farm and biodynamic winery, so I was looking forward to seeing it.
We spent a fascinating afternoon with Jim, hearing wonderful stories about his father, an early pioneer in the field of biodynamics, and his dreams for Ceago. Lynn and Jim both agree that Upper Lake is a “small town with medium-big aspirations” and they do not want to become another Napa with bus loads of visiting tourists, however after hearing all the exciting plans Jim Fetzer has for Ceago, they just might not have that choice.
This beautiful resort winery with it’s stunning Mediterranean styled restaurant and tasting room, promotes a holistic farming environment in which plant and animal life nicely share the land. The 163 acre estate incorporates vegetables, fruits, herb gardens, grapes, kiwis, olives, walnuts, figs, and a huge, aromatic lavender garden and is farmed using biodynamic practices ( it’s hard to sum up biodynamic in a sentence but basically its a holistic approach to farming that starts with organic principals and adds in the forces of nature, maybe mixed with a little Farmer’s Almanac and just a pinch of witchcraft.)
Of course, wine grapes are the primary crop, with plantings of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Syrah, and Muscat. As incredible as this all is, it’s just the first step in Jim’s master plan for Ceago. He’s working on creating Ceago Del Lago Wine Country Resort & Spa, an upscale planned development offering cottages, condos, hotel rooms, a meeting space, spa, retail and restaurant space, and winemaking facilities. (I’ve already marked the spot where I want my condo!)