In Monterey County, after five plus decades of commercial winegrowing, certain areas and microclimates have been identified as being uniquely suited to raising specific grapes. The Federal government officially sanctions the effort to identify truly one-of-a-kind winegrowing districts through its system of “American Viticultural Areas” or “AVAs.” When appearing on a label, these legal place names impart to the consumer important information and guarantees about the wine’s origin. By law, to use one of these official site designations, 85% of that bottle’s grapes must have been grown within the AVA’s boundaries.
These American Viticultural Areas can be fairly large and broad representing a complete County in one AVA, or they can be very small in size and focus, such as our local “Chalone” AVA, encompassing only a few acres and vineyards. But for every winemaker, the very building blocks of their craft begin with where the grapes were grown.