Forbes Talks American AVA’s: Five Interesting Factors


With a bevy of new American Viticultural Areas being approved in the past year, the United States’ winegrowing industry continues to grow. 
Earlier this week, Forbes contributor Cathy Huyghe gave readers a brief overview of the recent history of American AVA’s, then focused on five highlights of the crop of new AVA’s.
“The American wine industry is maturing, and that’s good news for both consumers and producers,” Huyghe wrote at the beginning of her story. “One indicator of this maturation is the steep increase recently in designated AVA’s, or American Viticultural Areas.”
AVA’s, Huyghe pointed out, are a designation for a “specific geographical area” in which grapes are grown; a sort of official acknowledgement of the geologically unique characteristics of a certain winegrowing area. 
“It takes time to learn the land well enough to define it distinctively, and it takes time to understand that the relationship between the land and the grapes that ‘take’ to it,” she wrote. 
Huyghe noted that California alone has seen 17 AVA’s pop up since August 2014.
She then listed five interesting facts about those new AVA’s, using the bits of information to put the American AVA boon in “context.”
According to Huyghe, historically significant vineyards are included in some of the new AVA approvals.
One of those, a Hanzell Vineyards vineyard in Sonoma’s Moon Mountain AVA, “is known as the oldest pinot Noir vineyard in North American.”
Geologists would be pleased to know about the Ballard Canyon AVA, which lies “in front of the most significant transverse mountain range that runs from Alaska to Patagonia.”
The significance of this location is that it is in front of the range, while most other AVA’s are behind it.
“That position gives Ballard Canyon a sweet spot of temperature, as growers have learned over the years … just right for Rhone grapes like Syrah,” she wrote. 
Also of note: the majority of new American AVA’s are located in Southern California: “particularly the Malibu coast, San Luis Obispo, and Paso Robles, which is home to one of California's oldest wine growing regions,” Huyghe wrote.
AVA’s also highlight how the same grape can express itself differently depending on the type of soil in which it grows.
“Varying soils yield vastly different interpretations of the same grape, recognizably similar yet persistently different, as though the same words were translated into Italian and Spanish,” Huyghe wrote. “One grape in two different soils equals two very different wines.” 
Photo Credit: Pixabay

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