The vintners of the Calistoga area in California’s famous Napa Valley want their own American Viticultural Area designation. They say it’s the last “unique” growing area in the valley without its own AVA.
Now, the Calistoga City Council has joined effort, unanimously passing a resolution in support of the AVA designation.
At present, vintners who use Calistoga grapes exclusively are allowed by the government to include only the less-specific “Napa Valley” wording on their labels. They believe that a more focused designation – such as Rutherford, among others already in use elsewhere in the valley – adds cache to a wine and makes it easier to sell.
The main impediment to government approval of the new AVA is the fact that two wineries in the area now include “Calistoga” in their names: Calistoga Cellars and Calistoga Estate. Should a new AVA be created, those wineries would either have to source a minimum of 85 percent of their grapes from Calistoga, or change their names. If those wineries oppose the AVA on that basis, it could stall the effort or even cause the proposal to be denied.
Causing consternation among the majority of local vintners is the fact that neither Calistoga Cellars nor Calistoga Estate uses grapes grown in Calistoga or even the Napa Valley, according to Bo Barrett of Chateau Montelena.