The Northern California region is distinguished by those wines produced North of San Francisco, and encompasses more than 2000 bonded wineries. The variety of soil conditions and unique microclimates in this area contribute to the production of some of the finest wines in the world. According to the California Wine Institute, California currently has 110 AVA's with Cole Ranch in Mendocino County the smallest, at 150 acres, and the Central Coast the largest, at nearly 6.8 million acres.
While Napa and Sonoma County may be the most well-known wine regions in Northern California, there are many others that produce equally outstanding wines. Mendocino County can be found in the more mountainous region north of Sonoma, and is greatly influenced by coastal weather. Bordered on three sides by water, the Marin County grows mostly Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Finally, the Lake County wine region surrounds Clear Lake, the largest natural lake in California.