Districts recognize diversity while preserving the Paso Robles brand
The Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance, in conjunction with the Paso Robles American Viticultural Area (AVA) Committee, applauds the United States Department of the Treasury’s published final ruling this week, establishing 11 new viticultural areas within the greater Paso Robles AVA. This historic announcement concludes a seven-year process by a dedicated group of Paso Robles vintners and winegrape growers who created a unified approach to develop a comprehensive master plan for the greater Paso Robles American Viticultural Area.
These new AVAs are based on meso-climactic, geological, and historical information which highlight each individual district to be unique as a winegrape growing area. The 11 AVAs are as follows: Adelaida District, Creston District, El Pomar District, Paso Robles Estrella District, Paso Robles Geneseo District, Paso Robles Highlands District, Paso Robles Willow Creek District, San Juan Creek, San Miguel District, Santa Margarita Ranch, and the Templeton Gap District.
“These new AVAs will be a powerful tool for wineries to explain why certain grapes are particularly well suited to certain parts of the appellation, and why some wines show the characteristics they do while other wines, from the same or similar grapes, show differently,” said Jason Haas, general manager of Tablas Creek Vineyard and Paso Robles AVA Committee member. “Ultimately, the new AVAs will allow these newly created sub-regions to develop identities for themselves with a clarity impossible in a single large AVA.”
AVA labeling provides information to consumers and trade about what is in the bottle, helping them make a better informed buying decision based on expectations of the region. Thanks to a conjunctive labeling law spearheaded by the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance in 2007, the Paso Robles AVA retains top billing on a wine label with the individual districts serving as a way to fine-tune location and potential character of wines. While Paso Robles wineries are not required to use the sub-region on the label, when they do, Paso Robles will be printed with equal or more significance.
“Our AVA is an incredibly diverse region that has taken its rightful place on the world wine stage,” said Steve Lohr, chairman and CEO of J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines, and former chairman of the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance. “These sub appellations will allow growers and vintners to tell their stories more clearly, which in turn will give consumers and the trade a much greater understanding of Paso’s diversity and complexity. Prior to this, Paso Robles was the largest non-county California AVA not currently subdivided. It is also an area with more diversity of rainfall, soils and climate than almost any other comparably sized region. We have been a great believer in this initiative since the beginning, and are proud that it has been accomplished in a way that will strengthen the Paso Robles brand with conjunctive labeling.”
The petition for the 11 new AVAs was filed in the spring of 2007 by the specially formed Paso Robles AVA Committee. A group of 59 vintners and growers, with the assistance of experts in a variety of fields, methodically crafted the submission with science as its standard. The petition proved to be the single largest AVA proposal ever filed with the United States Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) due to the scale and scientific data assembled to substantiate the request.