The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau has published a proposal to establish the Leona Valley viticultural area in the northeast part of Los Angeles County, Wines & Vines reports.
The application, Notice No. 76, is the first of five that will be submitted under the auspices of the newly formed Antelope Valley Winegrowers Association.
Lancaster is the commercial center of the Antelope Valley, located about 50 miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles. The area is considered “high desert,” influenced more by the continental air mass than the Pacific Ocean, with annual precipitation from 9-16 inches, 210-300 frost-free, sunny days, and an average of 4,060 growing degree-days.
Grapegrowing in the proposed Leona Valley designation started in the early 1900s, according to the petition, and the 13.4-square-mile Leona Valley floor now has about 20 acres of commercial winegrape vineyards at the Leona Valley Winery, and an acre of Pinot Noir grapes owned by Donato Vineyards. Donato is developing another 10 acres of winegrapes, and plans to start producing wine this year.
The current petition encompasses only the Leona Valley floor, which lies above the San Andreas Fault. Plentiful groundwater is available for drip irrigation, and the diverse soils are deep and moderately drained.
According to AVWA press contact Allen Quinton, who also is assistant winemaker and handles marketing for Antelope Valley Winery, the new association also is working to secure AVAs for Antelope Valley High Desert, Agua Dulce and Juniper Hills, all in Los Angeles County; and Tehachapi-Cummings Valley, in neighboring Kern County.