If you read my article from May 2011, on Old World vs New World, then you might remember that French wines are not identified by the grape, but rather by the region or appellation d'origine controlee, or AOC (a controlled geographic growing area). In 2011, the name changed to AOP (Appellation d’Origine Protegee), but the idea remains the same. The name was changed to help standardized the European Union.
Current regulations imposed by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), to qualify as an AVA:
- Evidence that the name of the proposed new AVA is locally or nationally known as referring to the area;
- Historical or current evidence that the boundaries are legitimate;
- Evidence that growing conditions such as climate, soil, elevation, and physical features are distinctive;
So, the next time you buy a bottle of wine, check out where its' from. Then check the TTB site and read up on the AVA, and learn a little bit more about what you're drinking.