American Viticultural Areas: The final straw?
Allow me to be the first to question the utility of the "American Viticultural Area" scheme by which defined geographic areas are granted this AVA Status supposedly because there is something so unique about the area’s climate and soils as to offer something unique to wines made from grapes grown there.
Exhibit #1: Washington State’s new "Horse Heaven Hills" AVA.
This region, located on the Columbia River’s north slope, was granted AVA status by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax And Trad Bureau of the Federal government.
Now get this. The area encompasses over 570,000 acres. More than Half a million acres. Context? The Russian River Valley, one of Sonoma County’s largest AVAs, if not the largest, includes barely 100,000 acres. Outside of its marketing uses, the Russian River Valley AVA is fairly useless. It really offers nothing in the way of telling the consumer what to expect from a wine that carries the designation on the bottle.
Now Washington is celebrating a half million acre AVA? How it is possible that a half million acre area could have anything close to a consistent set of soils and climate, the necessary ingredient for a region to offer some sort of character stamp to a wine?
I dislike posting rants to this blog. But I’m just uncertain of any other way to deliver news of this abomination. What little credibility America’s existing AVAs have are diminished even further by this sort of thing.