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Government recognized 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!

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