Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Did you know... the Wine Regions of California?

In the US, specific wine growing regions are defined by the FDA, classified by geographic regions as American Viticultural Areas, or AVAs. In California, there are around 100 different AVAs, with a handful of large AVAs being broken up into smaller sub-areas.

In France, these classifications, knows as AOCs, are of utmost importance. Their wines are labeled by these regional styles instead of by grape varietals, so its important to remember what is the traditional grape and style of each region. In New World wines, the AVA is just one of many indicators on the label, and will only give minor hints as to what style of wine it will be; a South Coast Cabernet Sauvignon will be more of a warm climate wine than one from Napa Valley for example. 

Everyone who knows even a little about American wine is familiar with some of the areas of the North Coast AVA. The large geographic region is broken up into dozens of further regions, including the familiar names of Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley, along with many more like Russian River Valley, Green Valley of the Russian River Valley, Anderson Valley, and Stags Leap District.

The Central Coast AVA includes a large region of the state with dozens of names without the high profile of the districts to the north, including Chalone, Edna Valley, Monterey, and Santa Lucia Highlands. Other large regions include the Sierra Foothills and South Coast AVAs, each with less than a dozen sub-AVAs.


  1. Why are Mendocino and Lake Counties not shown as part of the North Coast AVA>

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