Tahoe’s Vineyards: The 8 Best Wineries in South Lake Tahoe

The soil and atmosphere around Lake Tahoe make the area a great place for drinking fine wine. Where are some of the best wineries in South Lake Tahoe?

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What are the best wineries in South Lake Tahoe?

The Lake Tahoe area is well known for wineries, including the following, which tend to be highly rated:

  • Truckee River Winery
  • Nevada Sunset Winery
  • Montoliva Vineyard & Winery
  • Madrona Vineyards
  • Great Basin Winery

We’ll explore some wineries south of and around Lake Tahoe and let you know which ones are the best places to visit with local wineries and the best wine tasting room in mind. You are about to learn about some of our favorite wineries.

Wineries South Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe is best known for resorts, skiing, relaxation, and water sports. Take a break from the action and go visit one of these:

Montoliva Vineyard & Winery

While Montolivia is a bit west of Lake Tahoe, we think it is definitely worth the visit. 

Mark Henry owns Montolivia and is proud to say that his winery is very small – even by small standards. Montolivia specializes in Italian wines with a focus on Old World styles.

Montolivia stages a variety of events in their beautiful estate location in the Sierra Foothills, including movie nights in the vineyard, as well as chocolate and wine tasting events.

They also host the Chicago Park Wine Society Member Appreciation event.

Their website also offers great videos about the vineyard as well as lots of information about what wines they produce and carry – in lots of detail.

Just by reading through, you can tell that Mark and his team’s creative efforts are all in on their wine – and they know it.

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Truckee River Winery

Truckee is north of Lake Tahoe, not from South Lake Tahoe, CA. 

The first thing that Truckee River winery boasts about is being the highest and coldest winery in California – and that is clear given the presence of snow in many of their pictures. Truckee is best known for their signature red barn.

The tasting room at Truckee can happen indoors or outdoors, with the options of sitting in the barrel room or outdoor seating on nice days, around a bonfire for sipping and conversation. 

While their website doesn’t go into overwhelming detail about their wines – do know they have won local and national awards for their wine, including a silver in the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

The winery also hosts frequent events and travels to Tahoe events to do wine tasting and sell wine. 

Nevada Sunset Winery

Nevada Sunset Winery itself grows local wines originating from the southwest region. 

They also share a wine tasting room with a couple of other breweries, giving you plenty of opportunities to try different wines from throughout the world as well as southern and northern california. 

While the website itself doesn’t say much about the wines offered – the reviews for this winery near Lake Tahoe speak for themselves. 

Customers who visit the tasting room enjoy the atmosphere, company, and of course the wine served. It also appears that ownership regularly follows up on issues, which is nice to see!

Best of all, Nevada Sunset isn’t far from the Riverwalk, so you’ll have plenty to do before and after, whether you are headed there for an event or to do other things in Tahoe city.

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Great Basin Winery

Located in the same building as Nevada Sunset Winery, Great Basin offers more European inspired wines, adding to the great variety of the 4th Street Wineries that Nevada Sunset also joined. 

Most of the grapes are sourced from northern California – many of which have their own wineries – but thankfully you can get them near Tahoe too.

Lava Cap Winery

Lava Cap Winery is located near neighboring Placerville, CA, making it a little but worthy drive west of south lake tahoe CA. Lava Cap gets its name in part from grapes grown high in the Sierra Nevada foothills, where the soil has some volcanic ash that produces a unique grape with a unique flavor.

You’ll experience the creative efforts of Lava Cap first hand with visiting their tasting room and touring the vineyards themselves. 

Their experts lead you through the growing process and teach you about each wine as it is served. They overall get rave reviews both for their service and the wine selection, in addition to the wines grown in house.

Element 79 Vineyard

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Element 79 brands itself as not just a vineyard, but a country club for wine drinkers, complete with a tasting room and stunning views of the valleys of California. 

Per many reviews, the staff is more than happy to give you a tour and offer some wine flights that suit your mood and tastes. Their overall reviews are stunning too – with a 4.9 average on Google. 

Element 79 also serves food and tapas during wine tasting, in addition to offering a calendar with tasting and social events for wine and wine country fun.

Tahoe Tasting

Ok, so this one isn’t a winery, but it makes wine even more special. Tahoe tasting offers a wine boat ride in which you take a boat trip onto scenic Lake Tahoe and experience what amounts to a wine tasting trip on the boat.

While the area has many wine bars and breweries, this is a bit of a unique experience on the water.

Wineries in the area

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Some wineries in the area are a bit hidden, and might not even show up on Google or other places that typically offer listings. 

This might be in part to keep traffic at a reasonable level, or because they aren’t quite interested in advertising and want word of mouth business only. 

We suggest asking the locals – especially those you are socializing with, and see where they go. They might point out some nice,  obscure wineries that will make your trip even more special.

Key Takeaways

  • The South Lake Tahoe area has many wineries to choose from.
  • A few of the best are Element 79, Lava Cap, Great Basin, Montoliva, and Truckee.
  • Some wineries like Truckee are located within the mountains of the Sierra Madre
  • Many of them grow their own grapes, though they also import some.
  • In addition to wine, many serve food and have beautiful outdoor areas.