The Petaluma Gap: Hurry Up Already!

PGWAThe news is that the Petaluma Gap wine growing region in southern Sonoma County is still awaiting a report back from the Feds on their application for official AVA status. With their application having been submitted in February 2015, it’s likely that we will hear from the TTB this year.

My money is on approval. From what I know the process was undertaken in a very deliberate manner by members of the Petaluma Gap Winegrowers Alliance including using practiced AVA consultants to assure the newly drawn AVA is outlined in a manner the TTB tends to want.

Part of the beauty of the Petaluma Gap region for both the wineries and grapegrowers in the region and for consumers is that it’s a fairly easy to understand region. It’s defined by wind; very predictable wind patterns that keep the region cool enough to be perfect for growing Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Syrah in particular. As with so many AVAs, the soils are varied, which will make that part of describing the AVA very estate-specific.

Additionally, from a marketing perspective, the name of the proposed AVA is also very memorable: it’s not a “Valley”, as so many others are, but rather a “Gap”. It will be easy to distinguish from other growing regions. In fact, I’m unaware of any other AVA or officially designated grape growing area in the world that is known as a “Gap”. Again, bodes well for marketing efforts.

But even more important to this region is the caliber of wineries that either grow grapes or buy grapes from the area. The List includes numerous distinguished wineries.

I look forward to the TTB moving toward the usual comment period and final approval. This is one AVA that would further elevate the reputation of the North Coast wine country.



3 Responses

  1. Liz Holtzclaw - July 5, 2016

    Hi Tom, I fully agree and am quite happy for the clients I have in the Petaluma Gap area, including Karah Estates.
    One note though, there is another AVA that is designated a Gap. Templeton Gap District was approved by TTB when the Paso Robles AVA was divided into 11 sub-districts. It is a Gap in the same way, with prevailing breezes and was significantly cooler than the surrounding areas in Paso Robles.

  2. Amelia Ceja - July 6, 2016

    Ceja Vineyards owns 65 acres planted mostly with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Syrah with a little Sauvignon Blanc and Arneis on Adobe Road near General Mariano Vallejo’s Adobe House! We look forward to the Petaluma Gap AVA approval by the TTB hopefully soon!

  3. Joseph Davey - July 11, 2016


    Great article and I couldn’t agree more with most of your points. One thing that I might add is that I believe there is a sub region of Paso Robles called the Templeton Gap. Having said that, with as many “valley” AVA’s as there are two is a very small number.



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