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In Progress

American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) explained

American Viticultural Areas, otherwise known as AVAs, are the legally defined regions that are allowed to put their place names on a bottle of wine as long as they adhere to the rules of the region. In Europe they have similar designations of place, but with European wines it often comes with rules on specific varieties to be used. In America, it’s more of the Wild West, where you can plant what you want.

The process of petitioning for a new AVA is fascinating. For instance, right now there is a proposal for a new AVA in Washington State called “The Burn of Columbia Valley Viticultural Area.” In the proposal, you learn about what makes this area distinctive, where the name came from, and why the petitioners believe it deserves its own AVA. Details on the proposal are public record with the Federal Register. Check it out!

A source to know about: The Unknown Winecaster. His videos are great, the info is accurate, and he’s worthwhile to follow on YouTube. Here’s his video on AVAs:

I mentioned Dr. Kevin Pogue in the video, otherwise known as “Dr. Terroir.” Here is a video of him explaining the terroir of the Rocks of Milton-Freewater AVA, which we’ll come across again in the Oregon section of the course.