Six Sigma Ranch and Winery
Summary: Six Sigma Ranch & Winery with a winery, vineyards and tasting room is located on a 4,000-acre real working ranch. A visit to Six Sigma can include a tour of the vineyards. Six Sigma is a mathematical term where quality must be almost perfect. Visitors are encouraged to bring a picnic lunch to enjoy outside the tasting room.
Six Sigma ranch offers a real country experience for visitors. The tasting room is located about two miles from the road. Travel over a dust covered bumpy dirt trail or driveway to reach the tasting room. Small signs along the way give encouragement by noting how much farther to drive to the tasting room.
Upon arriving at the tasting room visitors are warmly greeted. The tasting room is located in what was once a stagecoach stop for Middleton. The quaint red roof building fits well into the landscape with oak wine barrels adding to the sense of wine country. Inside, the tasting room is small with a vintage wood table serving as the tasting counter and a red tile floor.
The tasting room has displays with information about mysteries from the past on the Six Sigma property. A frame says “Historical Mysteries on Six Sigma Ranch.” Else Ahlmann wrote about her search for those who had lived on the 4,000 acre property in Folks Who Walked the Land of Six Sigma Ranch: 150 Years of Life along Asbill Creek.
The Ahlmann family purchased this 4,000-acre ranch in Lake County. Else and Kaj had been planning a vineyard for many years. During our ride to the vineyards, about two miles from the tasting room, we learned that the previous owner had been reluctant to sell. He discovered that the Ahlmann family had the best intentions towards the property and wanted to farm it. A handshake was all that was needed to agree.
The Ahlmanns named the ranch Six Sigma, a mathematical term that means almost perfect. Kaj Ahlmann works in the banking industry and is a mathematician.
Upon arriving at the Six Sigma tasting room Christian Ahlmann, son and vineyard manager, offered a tour to the vineyards. Stepping into the back of an all-terrain Pinzgauer, a military truck, we adventurously bumped our way along to the vineyards while Christian drove over a dusty dirt road/path to vineyards located two miles from the tasting room. Passing through shrubs and trees we then passed a green area without trees or shrubs and beyond this field were acres of vineyards. Located on a slope the vineyard views were wonderful. At the bottom edge of the vineyard, rocks and boulders from the vineyard area were piled. Christian said the green field next to the vineyards was too rocky for grapevines.
The Diamond Mine Vineyards has 40 acres of grapes including Tempranillo, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Merlot and some Graciano. Organic principles are used in the vineyard. Grapes travel no further than two miles to the winery building located on the ranch.
In addition to the vineyards, Six Sigma has grass-fed sheep and cows. The sheep are used in the vineyard and the cow manure is composted for the vineyard. The ranch also sells meat and at the time of our visit there was a two-year waiting list for the meat.
Sauvignon Blanc 2010 was aged in stainless steel. The wine was fruity with citrus notes. Sauvignon Blanc 2011 was fermented on skins and 20 percent new French oak. The wine offered a floral aroma and was fruity with hints of oak.
Tempranillo 2007 was ruby with an aroma of dark fruit. The dark fruit taste had a hint of tobacco. The wine finished with tannin notes. Diamond Mine Cuvee 2009 was a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Tempranillo. The ruby wine had dark fruit notes with bold chewy tannins on the finish. Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2006, bottle aged for four years, was a ruby color with blackberry notes. The finish had bold chewy tannins with notes of blackberries. Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 was dark ruby with dark fruit notes. The finish offered chewy, bold tannins.
Plan extra time and take a picnic lunch while enjoying the whole experience when visiting Sigma Six Vineyards. Consider taking a fun trip to the vineyard via the pinzgauer. The tasting room is a long drive from the road. Travel slowly and take in the picturesque views of the ranch. You’ll catch scenes of vineyards, cattle, sheep and the winery. Mileage signs are posted to let you know how much further the tasting room is ahead.
Six Sigma Ranch, Vineyards & Winery
13372 Spruce Grove Road
Lower Lake, California 95457
GPS: N38º 51.263’ W122º 31.954’
Visit these California organizations and wineries that partner with Wine Trail Traveler.