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Abbreviation for "American Viticultural Area" (in some sources also "Approved Viticultural Area"), which in the United States common Appeals System, It was actually introduced at the instigation of California grape growers in particular. Because that in the 1940s California developed classification system after climates had proven to be unsuccessful. From 1970 onwards, all of the US states were commissioned by the then agency with regard to their geographical characteristics in accordance with the order of the US federal government BATF (today TTB = Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau). For example, this was the suitability of certain regions for a particular grape variety. In 1978, some geographic areas were classified for the first time and thus the requirements for a Origin system after the French Appellation d'Origine Protégée created. The first very inconsistent systems were based on political state or county borders.

The first area classified as AVA was Augusta in the state in 1980 Missouri, A regulation that applied to all states was then enacted in 1983. New AVA areas must be applied for and approved by the TTB authority. The areas are determined today according to climatic and geographical boundaries. The approval of a new AVA area requires a relatively high level of bureaucratic effort. However, the economic benefit is rather small. Therefore, the AVA system has so far failed to gain widespread recognition in the United States. Unfortunately, on the label the term AVA doesn't even come up.

For European conditions there are very simple or very few requirements. There are usually no regulations regarding grape varieties, upbringing methods, maximum yields or cellar technology. But of course the quality-conscious producers pay attention to reduced yield and other quality criteria for their top products. If a grape variety is named, it must be as varietal designated wine consist of at least 75% of this variety. At least 85% of the grapes must come from the AVA range mentioned on the label. California is an exception, it has to be 100% here. When naming a location (vineyard) at least 95% of the grapes must come from there. If a year is specified, at least 95% must come from that year. The enrich with sugar to increase alcohol and the leavening are generally allowed. The latter is often used in warmer areas.

The AVA hierarchy is arranged in a box system, which in extreme cases can consist of up to eight levels. The state (e.g. California) is at the top, followed by the regions (e.g. North Coast and Central Valley ) and including the counties (e.g. at North Coast Napa and Sonoma). The counties are usually divided into several AVA areas, with quite a few extending across county boundaries. An AVA area can in turn be divided into sub-areas and these, too. All 50 US states and their counties (counties) are legally recognized as regions of origin. The all-encompassing AVA "American States" or "United States" is a blended or varietal wine made from grapes or wines from across the United States, including the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

The multi-state AVAs extend over two or more states. For example, the three states share new York. Ohio and Pennsylvania the AVA Lake Erie and the four states Indiana. Kentucky. Ohio and West Virginia the huge AVA with 64,000 square kilometers Ohio River Valley, The smallest AVA is Cole Ranch in California Mendocino County with only 25 hectares. At the beginning of 2007, there were around 190 AVA areas, of which more than half, namely 107 in California, There are at least one AVA area in around 30 countries.

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