Lower Lake, CA
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Owner and visionary leader of Shannon Ridge Family of Wines, Clay Shannon has transformed his ranch into one of the agricultural icons of California’s North Coast, and in doing so is changing the face and substance of grape-growing in the USA. Clay grew up on a farm in Healdsburg in Sonoma County. He began his career as a vineyard manager in St. Helena, traveling the wine regions of California managing the company’s vineyards. A short time later he started his own vineyard management company, growing grapes for some of the top wineries and fruit companies in Northern California.
In 1995, Clay discovered a magnificent piece of property in the hills overlooking Clear Lake in Lake County, thirty-five miles north of Napa’s famed vineyards. He quickly set out to develop vineyards and integrate the vineyards with 1000 head of sheep. Clay’s vision was simple: “We wanted to grow the best fruit in the world, and do it organically and in a way that was enhancing the soil,” says Clay, Sustainability and regenerative wasn’t some philosophical concept; it is the way we live our lives.”