Napa Valley AVAs
Los Carneros Stags Leap Howell Mountain Diamond Mountain District Spring Mountain District Mount Veeder Atlas Peak Calistoga Rutherford Oakville Yountville Chiles Valley Wild Horse Valley St Helena Oak Knoll SUB DISTRICT: Pope Valley
Sonoma County AVAs
Northern Sonoma Alexander Valley Dry Creek Valley Knights Valley Russian River Valley Chalk Hill Green Valley of Russian River Valley Rockpile Sonoma Coast Sonoma Valley Sonoma Mountain Los Carneros Bennett Valley Pine Mountain- Cloverdale Peak Moon Mountain
Sonoma County AVAs
- Northern Part of Sonoma Coast AVA experiences coolest climate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay plantings with some Rhone varietals
- Alexander Valley and Dry Creek Valley much warmer Knights Valley- warmest. Bordeaux varietals.
- Russian River Valley- moderate climate with alluvial soils (Goldridge)
- Dry Creek and Rockpile- Rich style Zinfandels
- Largest part of Carneros
- Sparkling wine production (Tattinger and Codorniu) Pinot Noir and Chardonnay
Mendocino County AVAs
Mendocino Mendocino Ridge Anderson Valley Potter Valley Redwood Valley McDowell Valley Yorkville Highlands Dos Rios Cole Ranch Covelo
Mendocino County AVA
- Anderson Valley: open to the Pacific produces cool climate wines such as Gewürztraminer, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir- Sparkling wines
- Cole Ranch is known for Cabernet Sauvignon & Johannisberg Riesling
- Smallest US AVA
- McDowell Valley produces rich reds from Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel
- Redwood Valley and Potter Valley- Reds + Chardonnay and Riesling
- Mendocino Ridge- Vineyards above 1200 ft
- Good Zinfandel production area
Cole Ranch and McDowell Valley are essentially monopole AVAs of the Esterlina and McDowell Valley wineries.
Lake County AVA
Benmore Valley Big Valley Clear Lake Kelsey Bench Guenoc Valley
Lake County AVA
- A mountainous area where temperatures fluctuate greatly between day and night
- Most growing areas are above 400 metres
- Mayacama mountains to the west shelter district from coastal fogs
San Francisco Bay Area- AVAs
San Francisco Bay Livermore Valley Santa Cruz Mountains Ben Lomond Mountain Santa Clara Valley San Ysidro District
San Francisco Bay Area- AVAs
- Cool coastal climate (Santa Cruz Mtns) vs hot inland (Livermore)
- Wide range of varieties and wine styles
Monterey County AVAs
Monterey Carmel Valley Santa Lucia Highlands Arroyo Secco Chalone San Bernabe San Antonio Valley Hames Valley San Lucas
San Benito County AVAs
Mount Harlan Cienega Limekiln Valley San Benito Paicines
San Luis Obispo County AVAs
San Luis Obispo County AVAs
- Produces both red and white wines
- Most vineyards in Paso Robles & Edna Valley
- Mainly Cabernets, Zinfandel, Chardonnay & Sauvignon
Santa Barbera County AVAs
Santa Maria Valley Santa Ynez Valley Sta Rita Valley (within S. Ynez Valley) Happy Canyon of Santa Barbera (within S. Ynez Valley) Ballard Canyon (within S. Ynez Valley)
Santa Barbera County AVAs
- N. Los Angeles. Most wines from 2 districts North of Santa Barbera
- Santa Ynez Valley & Santa Maria Valley
- Mainly white varietals. Chardonnay, Sauvignon, Chenin. & Riesling
- Also known for Pinot Noir & Rhone varietals.
South Coast AVAs
San Pasqual Valley
Central Valley AVAs
Clarksburg Dunnigan Hills Madera Lodi Merrett Island
Sierra Foothills AVAs
Shenandoah Valley El Dorado Fiddletown North Yuba Fair Play
Lodi AVA- sub districts
Mokelumne River Cosumnes River Jahant Borden Ranch Alta Mesa Sloughhouse Clements Hills
Puget Sound Columbia Valley- shared with Oregon Yakima Valley Rattlesnake Hills Red Mountain Snipes Valley Walla Walla Valley- shared with Oregon Horse Heaven Hills Lake Chelan Wahluke Slope Colombia Gorge- shared with Oregon
- States produces 5% of total US production
- Arid climate requiring irrigation with exception of 80 acres of Puget Sound all vineyards lie east of Cascades which create a rain shadow effect (less than 10 inches pa)
- Continental climate
- Reputation built on Cabernet, Merlot and Bordeaux blends with Syrah on the rise
Willamette Valley AVA- Oregon AVAs
Chehalem Mountains Ribbon Ridge Yamhill- Carlton District Dundee Hills McMinnville Eola Amity Hills
Southern Oregon AVA- Oregon AVAs
Red Hills Douglas County
Columbia Valley AVA- Oregon AVAs
Walla Walla Valley
Snake River Valley
- Umpqua Valley AVA lies both of Willamette with many small side valleys. Warm dry conditions.
- Syrah, Cabernet, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer, Chardonnay
- Rogue Valley AVA south to California Cabernets Merlot, Chardonnay & Gewürztraminer are produced. Sub AVA Applegate Valley.
To the north Columbia Gorge & Walla Walla AVAs are shared with Washington.
Snake River AVA shared with Idaho (single vineyard)
Long Island AVA- New York State AVAs
North Folk of Long Island
The Hamptons Long Island
Finger Lakes AVA- New York State AVAs
New York AVAs
Hudson River Region
Lake Erie (Shared with Pennsylvania & Ohio)
New York State
Production mainly in Finger Lakes district (90%) but also on long Island.
Traditionally Vitis Labrusca planted (Niagara,) & Hybrids (Vidal) but now European varieties planted. Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Gewürztraminer. Bordeaux varietals on Long Island.
When is it thought Cabernet was first planted in Napa Valley?
In the 1800s at the To- Kalon Vineyard by a property owner called Crabb.
Who planted Beaulieu estate?
George De Letour. He planted it in 1909. However in the 1930s Andre Tchelistcheff, really made the wine into something great.
The Dutch tried to establish which wine region in the 1600s?
New York Wine Region
What was prohibition known as?
The noble experiment
When did prohibition last?
What was the Volstead Act also known as and when did it come into effect?
The 18th Amendment. In January 17, 1920- December 5, 1933
Did w/making increase or decrease during prohibition?
It increased!!! People made wine @ home, which was legal. However commercial w/ making decreased. The Volstead Act banned the manufacture, sale or transportation of intoxicating, liquors, yet allowed a person to manufacture non- intoxicating cider and fruit juices exclusively for use in his home. However this was never defined. It grapes naturally fermented…so be it.
America is the……
Fourth largest producer of wine and spirits. It’s the sixth highest average if land under vine
California produces what % of America’s wine?
90% followed by Washington, New York and Oregon
What % of the American populace identify as wine makers?
30% (62nd country per capita)
What was Nth America christened in the 9th Century by Leir Erickssen?
What was the three native grape varieties of America?
Vitis Labrusca (Concord Grape) Vitis rotundifolia (Scuppermong Grape) Vitis aestivalis (Norton Grape)
Vitis vinifera was not present
What was special about the 1619 law in North America?
It asked that every male colonist at Jamestown planet and tend at least 10 vines on the east coast- these were affected by phylloxera. Thus viticultural interest dwindled and cider, beer and whisky took over.
What politician was in the Medoc the day that the constitutional convention began in 1787?
Thomas Jefferson. He saw wine as for gentle folk whilst whiskey was the bane of civilisation.
Who achieved success whilst Thomas Jefferson and George Washington did not?
Spanish settlers. They had success with the mission grape
What year was the first wine from Mission grape?
1783, Franciscan Monks at Juan Capistrano Mission produced it
1839 was the year………?
George Mont arrived in the Napa Valley and planted for the first vine
Who arrived in Sonoma in 1849?
Hungarian born, self styled “Count” Agoston Harazthy. He founded Buena Vista, one of California’s oldest wineries. He introduced 300 vine varieities to California, collected during his time in Europe. He has a lot of myths and stories surrounding him, but he met his demise by an alligator in Nicaragua
What happened to American wine in 1861?
Charles Krug moved to St Helena in Napa Valley and founded his winery- oldest in the Valley. In 1862 Jacob Schram built Schramberg
What year was Inglenook Winery founded?
1880 by Gustuv Niebaum
What drove Investment in American wine in the late 19th Century?
Phylloxera in Europe. However they were devastated in the late 1880’s and 1890’s. Replanted on American rootstocks.
What was originally planted in the Finger Lakes?
Hybrids of European and American crosses
What was the first American state that started prohibition?
Maine in 1851, Kansas banned in 1881
Which winery thrived during Prohibition?
George de Latour’s Beaulieu Vineayards. It declared itself “the house of altar wine”
By the 1970’s, Californian wine had become….
Industrialised. All about production and profit. A direct effect of lack of talent due to prohibition
Who did George de Latour hire in 1938?
Andre Techelistcheff. He revolutionised production techniques, etc. Also created Georges LeTour Private label. He also mentored Robert Mondavi.
In 1968 Robert Mondavi did what to Sauv Blanc?
Aged it in oak barriques and called it Fume Blanc
What were the two wines that won the “Judgement of Paris” in 1976?
Stag’s Leap Cabernet Sauvignon and Chateau Montelena Chardonnay
What struck California in the 1980’s?
Phylloxera. In Napa alone, over half of the country’s v/yards had to be replanted
90s in America?
Bigger sales of wines were released due to critics tastes. New cult wineries came through (Screaming Eagle, Colgrin and Harlan Estate) emerged, charging crazy amounts
In the 1970’s the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) created what?
What was the first AVA?
Augusta, Missouri (late 1980), Napa received their status in 1981.
Who is the agency that oversees AVAs that was created in 2002 under the Homeland Security Act?
Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB)
is only an indication of geographic origin, and does not require producers to adhere to any additional guidelines in the vineyard or the winery.
If a label lists an AVA what percentage of fruit must come from that AVA?
85%. However if County, State or Country (USA) is listed it is down to 75%
California, Washington or Oregon are the exceptions. They have 100% of their fruit from that state (except for Washington which is 95%)
Wines labelled single vineyard must contain 95% of the single vineyard fruit in it
Percentage of Grapes Required for Labeling by Appellation in an AVA:
- If labeled by country, state, or county: 75%
- If labeled by AVA: 85%
- If labeled with a single vineyard: 95%
Vintage rules in America?
Wines labeled with an AVA, a minimum 95% must come from the stated vintage; for wines labeled with a state or county, the minimum is relaxed to 85%.
Wines with a designated variety in the USA must….
Contain a minimum 75% of the stated variety—Vitis labrusca grapes, like Concord, are an exception, and need only comprise a minimum 51% of a varietal wine.
Wines with an alcohol content in the USA?
Alcohol content must be stated on the label, within a margin of +/- 1.5%. As an alternative, wines in the 7-14% abv range may simply be labeled as “table wine” or “light wine.” Law requires a government health warning and the phrase “Contains Sulfites,” provided they are present in a concentration of 10 parts per million or more.
Other labelling infö on a bottle from the USA?
- All wines must declare the name and address of the bottler.
- In order to legally qualify for the term “Estate Bottled,” 100% of a wine must come from grapes grown on land owned or controlled by the winery.
- In addition, the winery and all vineyards used in the production of an estate-bottled wine must be located within the same AVA. The 394,088-acre Northern Sonoma AVA, which includes large swaths of most of the county’s northern AVAs, was proposed by Gallo of Sonoma, who may now blend across pre-existing AVA boundaries for its estate-bottled wines.
What are the four major winegrowing regions in California?
Where are most of the fine wine regions located in California?
Near the Coast. This is where Fog and Cool sea breezes mitigate temps and creates a huge diurnal range from night to day
The South Coast AVA….
Covers land in the Counties stretching from Los Angeles to San Diego, doesn’t really produce much fine wine
The Central Valley in California is…….?
Not considered an AVA even though it produces 75% of the wine produced in the state
What are the most planted grapes in California?
Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Zinfandel , Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc
What are the grapes planted for bulk wine manufacturing on the Central Coast of California?
Colombard and Chenin Blanc
What is Meritage from California?
a term trademarked by the Meritage Alliance, is used by producers to indicate a premium blend in which no grape accounts for more than 90% of the wine. Meritage wines may be red or white, but must be produced from Bordeaux varieties.
Zinfandel in California…….?
- Was thought to be California’s native son before Carole Meredith’s research definitively linked it to Croatia’s Crljenak Kastelanski,
- Fell out of favor, losing ground to the classic noble varieties of Europe. Regardless of its Croatian origins, many producers champion Zinfandel as a uniquely American wine style, and covet old vine plantings for their concentration and character
- Some of the oldest vineyards in California are planted to the grape and were spared, ironically, by the success of White Zinfandel in the 1980s.
- Other grapes popular in the field blends of years past have receded in acreage, like Charbono, Carignan, and the teinturier grape Alicante Bouschet.
California’s North Coast is……
The centre of fine wine production in California
What are the counties included in California’s North Coast?
Napa Sonoma Mendocino Lake Solano Marin
home of Napa Valley AVA, is California’s preeminent fine wine region and the birthplace of a classic style of American Cabernet Sauvignon.
What production of the USA is Napa Valley?
How many sub AVAs are there in the Napa?
The Napa Valley stretches……
Northward from the San Pablo Bay past the principal towns of Napa and St. Helena to Calistoga, with its width narrowing—from five miles wide at the town of Napa to one at Calistoga—and temperatures warming perceptibly as one travels north.
What funnels up through the Petaluma Gap into the San Pablo Bay and upwards through Napa valley?
Cool ocean air
What does Carneros produce?
Sparkling wines because it is the coolest and the most southward. Whilst Calistoga the most northernmost (is the hottest) and produces some of the most concentrated Zinfandel
What is the altitude range in the Napa Valley?
From 0 to 2000 ft
What are the two mountain ranges that border the Napa Valley?
The Mayacamas Mountains to the West (which borders the the Sonoma County) and the Vaca Mountains in the East
What is the diversity of soils in the Napa Valley?
Volcanic, alluvial, and maritime soil types, ranging from well-drained gravel loam, to dense clays, to the thin, rocky soils of the hillside vineyards.
Howell Mountain AVA?
The first sub-appellation wholly within Napa Valley to receive its own AVA, produce benchmark mountain wines.
Erosion in the hillside of Napa Valley…..
is a serious concern, as heavy winter rains can literally wash away a vineyard’s entire topsoil, leaving nothing but hard bedrock behind. The topsoil on the valley floor is deeper, and valley fruit tends to produce a more elegant and supple style of Cabernet, with less intensity of color.
The valley floor is deeper, and valley fruit tends to produce a more elegant and supple style of Cabernet, with less intensity of color. Rutherford AVA exemplifies the valley floor style.
Other grape varietials planted in Napa Valley?
Chardonnay from Napa Valley has historically been opulent, weighty, buttery, and oak-driven, although some producers are shifting to lighter styles, sometimes foregoing malolactic or barrel fermentation altogether. Other grapes grown in the valley include Zinfandel, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Sauvignon Blanc, Petite Sirah, Syrah, Sangiovese, and Pinot Noir—the latter is heavily planted in Carneros for sparkling and still wine production.
Lies between Napa County and the Pacific Coast, bordered to the Nth by Mendocino and Lake, and to the sth Marin, Solano and Contra Costa
AVAs of Sonoma County include….
Alexander Valley Dry Creek Valley Rockpile Bennett Valley Knights Valley Chalk Hill Russian River Valley Sonoma Valley Moon Mountain District Sonoma County Green Valley of Russian River Valley Sonoma Mountain Sonoma Coast Northern Sonoma Pine Mountain-Cloverdale Peak Fort Ross-Seaview Fountaingrove District Petaluma Gap
**and a majority of the Carneros AVA, which extends from Napa into the extreme south of the county.
Sonoma AVAs cover…..
more area than the AVAs of Napa, and there is a wide variation in climate and soil throughout the county.
Region I and IIIs of the Sonoma County?
- The windy, foggy Carneros AVA is a cool Region I area, whereas the warm northern AVAs of Alexander Valley and Dry Creek Valley are considered Region III.
- The coolest temperatures can be found in the northern stretches of the Sonoma Coast AVA, where altitude, cold ocean air, and persistent coastal fog combine to keep temperatures down.
- Pinot Noir and Chardonnay thrive, along with cool-climate renditions of Rhône varieties.
- The Sonoma Coast AVA contains nearly 500,000 acres, the more inland and southern areas within it can experience a warmer Region II climate, and even the true coastal vineyards, if above the marine fog layer, may produce bold wines of concentration and power rather than elegance and focus.
Russian River Valley AVA?
- Follows the river southwest from the town of Healdsburg
- Is regarded for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay made in fruity, forward styles. But the appellation’s more moderate climate may ultimately prove most hospitable to Rhône grapes and Zinfandel.
- Fertile alluvial soils, such as “Goldridge” sandy loam, characterize the valley.
- Green Valley is not a sub AVA of Russian River Valley. Instead its own AVA, distinct for its cool temperatures, Goldridge soil, and morning fog layer.
- Green Valley is an AVA within Russian River Valley, producers may label their wines Green Valley or Russian River Valley, and often do this when a warmer vintage is encountered.
- Coastal producers of note include Hirsch, Marcassin, and Peay, whereas Dehlinger, Joseph Swan, Rochioli, and Williams-Selyem are prominent names in Russian River Valley.
- Kosta Browne, Freeman and the sparkling house, Iron Horse, are all Green Valley-based estates.
Sonoma County- Northern AVAs….
- Alexander Valley, Dry Creek Valley, Rockpile, and Knights Valley are located to the north and east of Healdsburg, and experience warmer Region III climates
- Knights Valley= warmest AVA in the county. Bordeaux grape varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, are most prominent in the gravelly soils of Alexander Valley and Knights Valley.
- Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon tends to show a more herbaceous character and less body than its Napa counterparts, but Knights Valley wines
- Dry Creek Valley and the small Rockpile AVA are known for ripe, powerful styles of Zinfandel, aged in American or French oak.
- Southern sector of the county, Sonoma Valley AVA, the county’s most established region, is situated between the Mayacamas and Sonoma Mountains. Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Cabernet Sauvignon are successful in the region.
- Like Napa, Sonoma Valley’s temperature gets progressively warmer as one travels north, although Bennett Valley, an AVA in the northwest of the valley, favors Merlot, as it is too cool to routinely ripen Cabernet Sauvignon.
- The cool, windswept hills of Carneros form the valley’s southern extremity at the San Pablo Bay. The Champagne house of Taittinger and the Cava producer Codorníu both set up American sparkling wine estates in Carneros in the 1980s.
Designated in late 2017, Petaluma Gap is…..
Sonama County’s newest AVA. Named after the wind that funnels through lower Sonoma County due to a coastal mountain opening stretching from the Pacific to Petaluma and veering south towards San Pablo Bay, the AVA is marked by its wind and fog. Cool climate Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Syrah are the main focus of the AVA.
What regulation is to do with Sonoma County wines from 2011?
They all must be labelled “Sonoma County”, whether they are from a sub AVA or not.
- North of Sonoma County
- Centered at the confluence of the Russian and Navarro Rivers in the southern portion of the county.
- The Mendocino AVA, which has stricter boundaries than the county appellation, lines both rivers and encompasses the AVAs of Anderson Valley, Potter Valley, Redwood Valley, McDowell Valley, Yorkville Highlands, Cole Ranch, and a portion of Mendocino Ridge.
- Pine Mountain-Cloverdale Peak, which extends north of the Sonoma County border into Mendocino, is not included
- Nor are two small, secluded AVAs in the northern sector of the county, Dos Rios and Covelo.
- Mendocino AVA was decreased in size in 2014—so that it would not overlap those of a new AVA approved in the same year, Eagle Peak Mendocino County AVA. Cole Ranch, the smallest AVA in America, and McDowell Valley are essentially monopole AVAs of the Esterlina and McDowell Valley wineries, respectively.
- Anderson Valley= California’s coolest climates, as cool ocean air and fog trails inland along the path of the Navarro River, framed by steep hills. As testament to the Anderson Valley’s cool, marginal climate, the Champagne house of Louis Roederer established its American operations there rather than in Carneros. Riesling and Gewürztraminer perform well. The inland areas of Mendocino AVA, particularly around Ukiah, are noticeably hotter. Mendocino Ridge AVA stretches southward from the Navarro River along the coast, but the appellation is restricted to vineyards that are at least 1,200 feet above sea level. Zinfandel thrives in the sun above the fog line. To the east of Mendocino, Lake County is the smallest wine-producing county in the North Coast. High elevations and cold winters allow for successful grape growing despite high summer temperatures. Lake County holds 7 AVAs, the most prominent of which Clear Lake.
California’s Central Coast:
- Spans California’s coastline from San Francisco Bay in the north to Santa Barbara County in the south.
- East and South of San Francisco Bay are the AVAs of Livermore Valley, Santa Cruz Mountains, Ben Lomond Mountain, Santa Clara Valley, San Ysidro District, and the sprawling San Francisco Bay AVA
- South of San Francisco, the large Santa Cruz Mountains AVA provides a cool coastal climate, where high-altitude vineyards are interspersed between miles of redwood forest.
- Ridge’s Monte Bello vineyard and the original Bonny Doon Estate Vineyard (victim to Pierce’s Disease) are among the Santa Cruz Mountains’ most celebrated parcels. The warm inland Livermore Valley achieves success with Sauvignon Blanc; Wente is the most notable producer within the appellation. Despite the inclusion of Santa Cruz County in the Central Coast AVA, Santa Cruz Mountains AVA is excluded.
Monterey Country/ AVA- California’s Central Coast?
- South of the San Francisco Bay
- After Napa’s success- Monterey AVA, including the valleys of Salinas and Carmel, was extensively planted
- Cool coastal area promised success, offering one of California’s longest growing seasons, yet much of the region’s output ends up in bulk blends from the Central Valley.
- Chardonnay is huge. 50% of plantings in the Monterey AVA
- Pinot Noir is highlighted in the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA, home to Garys’ Vineyard, and in Mount Harlan AVA, within San Benito County in the Gabilan Mountains to the east, where Calera produces acclaimed wines from the grape. Chalone AVA, an appellation dominated by the producer of the same name in Monterey, lies to the south in the same range.
San Luis Obispo/ Santa Barbara counties/ AVAs- California’s Central Coast
- South of Monterey
- 612,308 acres, San Luis Obispo’s Paso Robles AVA= giant appellation with wide variations in climate and soil series (hence the creation of 11 new AVAs, all nested within Paso Robles AVA, in 2014).
- The western reaches= cooler marine air funneled through the Templeton Gap and more prevalent limestone and calcareous soils.
- East of the Salinas River, the soil structure is sandier, and the climate in general is warmer and more arid.
- Zinfandel has a long history in the “Pass of the Oaks,” and Cabernet Sauvignon became increasingly important as the area saw an infusion of large-scale wineries in the 1980s.
- Rhône varieties are growing in importance in the region
- Other AVAs in San Luis Obispo County include York Mountain, Arroyo Grande, and Edna Valley—the latter a cool coastal climate appropriate for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Santa Barbara Country/ AVA- California’s Central Coast
- At Point Conception in Santa Barbara County, California’s coastline sharply bends, trending east-west rather than north-south.
- Santa Barbara’s valleys, including the Santa Maria Valley AVA and the Santa Ynez Valley AVA, trail from east to west through the San Rafael and Santa Ynez Mountains, paralleling the coastline.
- The AVAs of Sta. Rita Hills, Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara, Ballard Canyon, and Los Olivos District are located within the Santa Ynez Valley.
- 2006, a legal dispute with the Chilean winery of the same name led Sta. Rita Hills to legally abbreviate its appellation name.
- Long history of viticulture, but only really taken off in the last few decades
- Huge Bien Nacido Vineyard in Santa Maria Valley AVA= premium varieties (PN/ Chardonnay)—in the mid-1970s, not long after Sanford & Benedict was established.
- Santa Barbara County’s Region I maritime climate and lengthy growing season—the longest in California—is lauded for cultivation of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, and Rhône varieties.
- Huge increase in interest after the movie Sideways
Central Valley -California Central Valley/ Sierra Foothills
- Most of California’s wines are produced here
- Hugely irrigated
- Divided between the northern Sacramento Valley and the southern San Joaquin Valley—the latter encompasses over 100,000 acres under vine.
- Divided between Region IV and Region V heat summation zones—temperatures most suitable for fortified wines, table grapes, and raisins.
- Gallo, the 2nd producer in the world, is headquartered at Modesto; half of the Central Valley’s wine issues from Gallo’s facilities. As evidenced by the wines of Gallo and other Central Valley giants, including Franzia (owned by the Wine Group) and Bronco Wine Company, most Central Valley production is of bulk wine quality—low in cost and low on character of site.
- Even though it is large, not many AVAs
- Lodi, 20% of California’s total wine grape production. Located just south of Sacramento on the eastern edge of the Sacramento River Delta, is slightly cooler than much of the Central Valley, due to the influence of a gap in the coastal ranges, which pulls the coastal air inland from the San Francisco Bay and over the delta. Home to both large, value-oriented brands, like Sutter Home and Robert Mondavi Woodbridge, and small boutique wineries, many of whom specialize in old-vine Zinfandel production.
- Lodi= seven AVA sub-appellations: Alta Mesa, Borden Ranch, Mokelumne River, Cosumnes River, Jahant, Sloughhouse, and Clements Hills. Other AVAs of note in the Central Valley include Dunnigan Hills, Clarksburg, Capay Valley, and Merritt Island.
Sierra Foothills- California Central Valley/ Sierra Foothills
- East of Sacramento and Lodi, on the western edge of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in the heart of California’s 19th century gold rush territory.
- Several sub-AVAs: Fair Play, El Dorado, Fiddletown, North Yuba, and California Shenandoah Valley.
- Temperature is dependent on altitude; the lowest and hottest vineyards are located in Shenandoah. Chewy, spicy, concentrated Zinfandel, sometimes sourced from vines dating back to before Prohibition, is the Sierra Foothills’ most acclaimed style.
- Short history in viti
- Second biggest producer of wine
- Most of the state’s wine regions and over 95% of its vineyards are located east of the Cascade Mountains, where the mountains’ rain shadow effect turns the land arid and necessitates irrigation.
- Eastern Washington experiences a true continental climate, with hot summers and cold winters: frost and winter freezes are serious concerns for growers, but ripeness is easily achieved in the state’s warm growing seasons.
- Soil and geology east of the Cascades—the bedrock is invariably basalt, overlaid by sediments deposited by the Missoula Floods, a catastrophic cycle of massive floods that occurred repeatedly at the end of the last ice age, some 12,000 to 18,000 years ago.
- Vineyards in eastern Washington are thus generally planted on sandy or silty loam soils derived from the flood-borne sediments. Despite broad similarities in climate and soil, however, eastern Washington’s vineyards tend to be spread out, with great distances between large vineyard plots.
Columbia Valley AVA- Washington
- Largest appellation in the state, covering 11 million acres—over one-quarter of Washington’s landmass.
- Follows the outline of the Columbia River Basin and dips across the Oregon border.
- Yakima Valley was approved as Washington’s first AVA in 1983; it contains over one-third of the state’s vineyards, and it also has three nested AVAs: Snipes Mountain, Rattlesnake Hills, and Red Mountain. Red Mountain is Washington’s warmest growing region and its smallest and most densely planted AVA. It has developed a reputation for noteworthy, tannic Cabernet Sauvignon.
Walla Walla Valley AVA- Washington
- Along the Oregon border southeast of Yakima Valley and Red Mountain
- Vineyards are a small but growing segment of the the valley’s agricultural sector: vineyard acreage expanded from 450 acres to over 1,600 in the first decade of the 21st century—it is now closer to 3,000 acres—and the AVA’s reputation for premium red wine is growing alongside it.
- Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah are Walla Walla’s most acclaimed varieties, comprising over 80% of its current plantings.
- Soils: basalt bedrock and thin alluvial topsoil deposited by the Missoula Floods. Loess is everywhere.
How many bonded wineries are currently in Washington?
Willamette Valley- Oregon
- Stretches 120 miles southward from Portland between the Cascades and the Coastal Range
- Quality Pinot Noir production
- David Lett of Eyrie and Charles Coury were the first to explore its potential
- Willamette Valley’s Pinot Noir wines are a steppingstone between California and the Côte d’Or: lighter in style and earthier than the former, riper and more forward than the latter.
- The cool, temperate climate of the valley invites further comparisons to Burgundy, and vintages are more variable than in Sonoma or Santa Barbara.
- In the Mid 2000’s 6 mini AVAs were created due to climatic difference: Dundee Hills, Eola-Amity Hills, Ribbon Ridge, McMinnville, Yamhill-Carlton District, and Chehalem Mountains- also many differences in soils types
Southern Oregon AVA- Oregon
- Stretches south of Eugene to the California border, encompassing the AVAs of the Umpqua Valley, Elkton Oregon, Rogue Valley, Applegate Valley, and Red Hill Douglas County.
- Wide array of varieties: Pinot Noir, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer, and Chardonnay.
Applegate Valley AVA- Oregon
- Warmest and driest growing region west of the Cascades in Oregon
- 3rd largest producer
- Vitis vinifera grapes currently account for less than one-third of the state’s vineyards
- Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Blanc, and Gewürztraminer perform well throughout the state.
- Bordeaux varieties are planted on the warmer, maritime Long Island AVA and its sub-AVAs: North Fork of Long Island and The Hamptons, Long Island.
- In the Finger Lakes, Niagara Escarpment, and Lake Erie AVAs, the extremes of cold temperature are mitigated by water: the lake effect of the Great Lakes lowers the chance of damaging winter freezes and promotes a late budbreak, lessening the dangers of spring frost.
- Riesling works well in the Finger Lakes
Other US Wine Regions?
- Produced in all 50 states
- Texas is home to eight viticultural areas—including the sprawling, 9 million-acre Texas Hill Country AVA. New Jersey, Virginia, Missouri, Michigan, Florida, Kentucky, Minnesota, New Mexico, Ohio, Illinois, North Carolina, Colorado, and Idaho all support small but substantial wine industries
- Upper Mississippi River Valley AVA, spanning nearly 30,000 square miles in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Illinois, became America’s—and the world’s—largest demarcated appellation with its formal approval in 2009.