Growing Regions and AVA's
An AVA is an American Viticultural Area as defined by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade (TTB) as well as the United States Department of the Treasury. The idea is to give consumers some idea about the type of wines being produced in an area. In some cases the results are incredible, such as Napa which is known across the United States and in fact the world as an area which produces incredible wine. Other areas aren’t known at all, have you ever tried a wine from Rocky Knob Virginia?
Unlike many of their European counterparts (especially the draconian French wine regulations) American AVA’s do not force their member wineries to grow specific grapes, the only real regulations in fact say that in order to list the AVA on the label, at least 85% of the grapes must come from that region.
There are a few common areas which consumers often think are AVA’s, but are not. Sonoma is one such example, although there are a number of AVA’s which come inside the area. Alexander Valley and Dry Creek Valley are both AVA’s which are found within Sonoma County.
The process to set up a new AVA is an extremely long, convoluted and difficult one