Great News — The Petaluma Gap Wine Region is Official
The news that the Petaluma Gap region in southern Sonoma County has finally be granted its official American Viticultural Area status is very good news. I’ve been advocating for this region’s inclusion in the official list of AVAs for a very long time:
This new AVA is really everything you want in a designated growing region that, supposedly, should have growing conditions distinct from others and even those surrounding it. In the Petaluma Gap it’s the notorious and consistent wind and fog that funnels through the 200,000-acre region based on the break in the coastal range mountains to the west. The result is a region that tends to be quite cool and quite suited for Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and meaty Syrah grown on the 4,000 acres of vineyards.
The Gap is also somewhat unique in that its borders are not entirely in one county. Part of the Petaluma Gap spills over into northern Marin County. This is just one more example of how a well-formed growing region trumps politics.
Finally, the name is compelling from a marketing perspective. In the first place, it’s linked to a well-known town in the region. Secondly, the name of the region describes the most important geographic feature: the gap in the coastal range mountains through which the wind and fog regularly flows. From a marketer’s perspective, this is promotional gold.
Congratulations to the members of the Petaluma Gap Winegrowers Alliance, who shepherded the proposal through the federal bureaucracy. They’ve improved the California winemaking map.