wine regions, or AVA's (American Viticultural Area) are government recognized
grape-growing areas. They are not in every state, but in more than you
might think. It is area's boundaries are set by the Alcohol and Tobacco
Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), United States Department of the Treasury.
They range in size from very large like the Ohio
River Valley AVA measuring 26,000 square miles and spreading across four
states, to the very small Cole Ranch AVA in Mendocino County, California,
measuring 62 acres. 2009 statistics site 193 official AVA in the United
States. Before the AVA system, wine regions were determined by state county
governments which meant that they did not extend beyond state bounderies.
Currently, wine growers whos wineries are not in designated AVAs can petition
the TTB for consideration.
Surpisingly, the first AVA was not designated in California,
but rather, Augusta, Missouri in June of 1980. Other AVA's followed. Wineries
growing wines within any of these AVAs display this information on their
labels. However, unlike European wine regions, AVAs do ot specify types
of grapes, the wine making methods, or amount of wines produced. So when
visiting these regions you will likely find a array of wine varietals
to taste sample and purchase. To locate a wine region near you, click
on the map above and get started!