While the Cumberland Valley AVA encompasses 765,000 acres of land, only 100 are used for grape production. It was given appellation designation way back in August 1985, perhaps before the state’s wine industry was ready for it. While some research had been done on the area, and while it is a “distinct region”, it was later determined that the entirety of this very large appellation was not ideal for viticulture. The majority of the vineyard land is concentrated on the high terraces of the Potomac River and on the slopes of South Mountain. The valley runs 80 miles, from the Susquehanna River in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to the Potomac River in Washington, D.C. and Maryland. The landscape is a series of low-lying hills and ridges formed by erosion. The river basins are part of the much larger limestone bed referred to as the Great Valley, which contributes to the fertile, well-drained, high-alkaline soils that are found in this appellation.
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