Thursday, January 5, 2012

What is an A.V.A.?

You've probably heard or seen our wineries talk about the Lehigh Valley A.V.A., but what does it mean?

In the United States, winemakers are allowed to label their wines with the state or county in which the grapes are grown. But they can also list the name of the particular growing area if the federal government recognizes it as an "American Viticultural Area" or A.V.A., also called an "appellation." There are more than 200 A.V.A.s across the Untied States including ours here in the Lehigh Valley.

In reviewing applications for approval, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) considers whether the proposed name is one by which the area is actually known locally, and whether this area as defined in the application has distinctive soil and climatic conditions.

To use an approved A.V.A. on a wine label, at least 85 percent of the grapes used must originate from the state A.V.A. and the wine must be fully finished within the state. This helps maintain consistency in the wines made from a particular growing area.

The Lehigh Valley region is an official A.V.A. as designated by the TBB in April 2008. The Lehigh Valley A.V.A. includes portions of Lehigh, Northampton, Berks, Schuylkill, Carbon and Monroe counties in Pennsylvania. Wineries in the region are permitted to list “Lehigh Valley” as the growing region on their labels.

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