An area that has long provided resources to the rest of California and the world, Shasta County has been a mining hub for copper, its heyday for that resource peaking in the 1930s. From then through the 1980s, the region was strong in lumber, the base for the second largest lumber company in America, Sierra Pacific Industries. 

Ranching has evolved over this time into the farming of nuts and winegrapes.

California Governor and founder of Stanford University, Leland Stanford established the Great Vina Ranch in the small town of Vina in 1881, turning it at the time into the world’s largest vineyard, winery and distillery at 55,000 acres/22,258 hectares, boasting a production of 2-million gallons from 4,000 acres/1,619 hectares of planted vines. 

Stanford followed in the footsteps of local Peter Lassen, who established the site first from a Mexican land grant as Rancho Bosquejo, just one acre of wine grapes, in 1846. Lassen was followed by winemaker Henry Gerke, who expanded the plantings to 100 acres/40 hectares and established the town before Stanford arrived.

After Stanford’s death in 1893, the Great Vina Ranch was sold off by Stanford University, piece by piece, before Prohibition. The last parcel was sold in 1919. Wine was not a focus until 1955, when 600 acres/243 hectares of the historic property were acquired by the Abbey of New Clairvaux, a community of Cistercian-Trappist monks. An order devoted to agriculture and winemaking, the monks went on to found New Clairvaux Vineyard on the same site.

The Cistercians are the same order who established Clos De Vougeot in Burgundy and planted vineyards across Europe. The winemaker for New Clairvaux is a descendant of the Napa Valley’s Nichelini family. Signature wines include Tempranillo, Syrah and Graciano. Whites include Assyrtiko and Moschofilero, with New Clairvaux the first American winery to grow these Greek varieties.

The Willow Creek AVA in Humboldt and Trinity counties is centered around the city of Eureka and the smaller town of Willow Creek, and is heavily influenced by both the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Klamath Mountains and Six Rivers National Forest inland. Established in 1983, it includes 6,000 acres/2,428 hectares, only 30 acres/12 hectares of which are planted to vine.

The Inwood Valley AVA in rural, southern Shasta County was established in 2012 at 28,441 acres/11,510 hectares, with 60 acres/24 hectares on four commercially-producing vineyards. The petition was proposed by Anselmo Vineyards, a going concern that not only produces wine, but also grazes cattle, sheep, and grows a variety of fruit and vegetables.

First planted in the mid-1970s, the Manton Valley was approved as Tehama County’s first AVA in 2014, proposed first by Mark Livingston of Cedar Creek Vineyards. East of Redding and Mount Lassen, and overlapping Tehama and Shasta counties, it spans 11,178 acres/4,524 hectares, of which only 200 acres/81 hectares or so are planted to diverse varieties, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Petite Sirah and Chardonnay.

The Seiad Valley was once a center of gold mining; excavated rock covers the valley’s floor. The Trinity Lakes AVA is centered around the area of Hyampom Valley and the south fork of the Trinity River.