In December, Petaluma Gap became the newest American Viticultural Area (AVA) approved by the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). Vintners in the area came together in 2005 to start the AVA process, and an official proposal was filed with TTB in 2015.
Located in the southernmost part of Sonoma County, Calif., and even reaching into neighboring Marin County, Petaluma Gap encompasses 200,000 acres and currently includes 80 winegrowers and nine wineries. The new AVA is, in part, a breakaway from the Sonoma Coast appellation.
In Washington state, 2017 saw four new appellations proposed: Candy Mountain, Royal Slope, The Burn of Columbia Valley, and White Bluffs. All but The Burn of Columbia Valley would be a sub-appellation of an existing AVA, giving winemakers and winegrowers more specificity in defining their terroir.
Applications proposed elsewhere last year include San Luis Obispo Coast (SLO Coast), Alisos Canyon, and boundary modifications of the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA and Arroyo Seco AVA in California; Tualatin Hills in Oregon; and Verde Valley in Arizona.