American Viticultural Areas—or AVAs, for short—are the United States’ equivalent of France’s “appellations.”
They are unique, geographically-defined plots of land. Some are quite small, covering just a few acres. Others are massive, such as the Texas Hill Country AVA, which encompasses more than 15,000 square miles.
Generally speaking, the smaller the AVA, the more unusual—or specifically defined—its climate is.
In California, there’s a section of the Sonoma Valley spanning around 18,000 acres that is quite different from the valley as a whole. Most of the area’s 40 vineyards are planted on steep hillsides, where just under a dozen bonded wineries are growing various Bordeaux and Rhone varieties.
Phil Coturri, a grape grower for more than three decades, calls the area “a true mountain AVA.”
And for that reason, a petition has been filed to create a new American Viticultural Area. The proposed name is Moon Mountain District, and both growers and vintners believe it has a great chance for approval.
If approval is granted, you could begin seeing the words, “Moon Mountain District,” on wine labels within just a few years.
Decanter has a full report on the proposed AVA’s status here.