American Viticultural Area: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

An American Viticultural Area is a designated wine grape-growing region in the United States distinguishable by geographic features, with boundaries defined by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), United States Department of the Treasury. The TTB defines AVAs at the request of wineries and other petitioners. There were 193 AVAs as of February, 2009.[1] Prior to the installation of the AVA system, wine appellations of origin in the United States were designated based on state or county boundaries. All of these appellations were grandfathered into federal law and may appear on wine labels as designated places of origin, but these appellations are distinct from AVAs.

American Viticultural Areas range in size from the Ohio River Valley AVA at 26,000 square miles (67,000 km2) across four states, to the Cole Ranch AVA in Mendocino County, California, at only 62 acres (25 ha). The Augusta AVA near the town of Augusta, Missouri was the first recognized AVA, gaining the status on June 20, 1980.[2]

Unlike most European wine appellations of origin, an AVA specifies only a geographical location from which at least 85% of the grapes used to make a wine must have been grown. AVAs are more similar to the Italian Indicazione Geografica Tipica than other European appellation of origin systems. American Viticultural Area designations do not limit the type of grapes grown, the method of vinification, or the crop yield. Some of those factors may, however, be used by the petitioner to justify uniqueness of place when proposing a new AVA.



Current regulations impose the following additional requirements on an AVA:[citation needed]

  • Evidence that the name of the proposed new AVA is locally or nationally known as referring to the area;
  • Historical or current evidence that the boundaries are legitimate;
  • Evidence that growing conditions such as climate, soil, elevation, and physical features are distinctive;

Petitioners are required to provide such information when applying for a new AVA, and are also required to use USGS maps to both describe (using terms from the map) and depict the boundaries.[citation needed]

Once an AVA is established, at least 85% of the grapes used to make a wine must be grown in the specified area if an AVA is referenced on its label.[citation needed]

State or county boundaries — such as for Oregon or Sonoma County — are not AVAs, even though they are used to identify the source of a wine. AVAs are reserved for situations where a geographically defined area has been using the name and it has come to be identified with that area.[citation needed]

A vineyard may be in more than one AVA. For example, the Santa Clara Valley AVA and Livermore Valley AVAs are located within the territory of the San Francisco Bay AVA, which is itself located within the Central Coast AVA.[citation needed]

Current areas

The following is a listing of AVAs by region:


List of California AVAs

Central Coast and Santa Cruz Mountains

General locations of California's wine regions

All of these AVAs are included in the geographic boundaries of the Central Coast AVA with the exceptions of Ben Lomond Mountain AVA and Santa Cruz Mountains AVA, which are surrounded by, but are specifically excluded from, the larger regional AVA.

Central Valley

Unlike other regions of California, there is no large regional AVA designation that includes the entire Central Valley wine growing region.

Klamath Mountains

These AVAs are located in the southern Klamath Mountains of far northwestern California.

North Coast

All of these AVAs are included within the geographic boundaries of the six-county North Coast AVA.

Sierra Foothills

All of these AVAs are contained entirely within the geographic boundaries of the Sierra Foothills AVA.

South Coast

All of these AVAs are contained entirely within the geographic boundaries of the South Coast AVA.

List of Pacific Northwest AVAs

A list of American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) in the Pacific Northwest states of Oregon, Washington, and Idaho:

List of East Coast AVAs

A list of American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) on the East Coast of the United States:

List of Central US AVAs

A list of the remaining American Viticultural Areas (AVAs), not on the West or East Coasts:

See also


  1. ^ Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau U.S. Viticultural Areas Updated as of 2/20/2009
  2. ^ Code of Federal Regulations Title 27, Volume 1 ALCOHOL, TOBACCO PRODUCTS AND FIREARMS

External links


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