Abbreviation for "American Viticultural Area" (in some sources also "Approved Viticultural Area"), in the USA common appellation system. It was actually introduced at the urging of especially the Californian grape farmers. Because in the 1940s in California developed classification system according to climatic zones had proved to be ineffective. From the year 1970, all US states were in terms of their geographical characteristics according to the order of the US Federal Government of the former authority BATF (today TTB Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau). This was, for example, the suitability of certain regions for a particular grape variety. In 1978, for the first time, some geographical areas were classified and thus the conditions for a Origin system after the French Appellation d'Origine Protégée created. The first very inconsistent systems were based on political state or county boundaries.
The first area classified as AVA was Augusta in the state in 1980 Missouri, A regulation valid for all states was then put into force in 1983. New AVA areas must be requested and approved by the TTB authority. The areas are now defined according to climatic and geographical limits. For the approval of a new AVA area, a relatively high bureaucratic effort is required. The economic benefit is rather low. Therefore, in the US, the AVA system has not yet managed to gain widespread recognition. Unfortunately, it seems on the label the term AVA not at all.
For European conditions, there are quite simple or very few specifications. There are usually no regulations regarding grape varieties, parenting methods, maximum yields or cellar technology. But of course, the quality-conscious producers pay attention to reduced yields and other quality criteria for their top products. When naming a grape variety must this than varietal designated wine consist of at least 75% of this variety. At least 85% of the grapes must come from the labeled AVA area. California is an exception, here it must be even 100%. When mentioning a location (vineyard) at least 95% of the grapes must come from there. When specifying a year, at least 95% must come from this year. The enrich with sugar for the purpose of raising alcohol and the leavening are basically 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. At the top is the state (eg California), followed by the regions (eg. North Coast and Central Valley ) and below the counties (eg North Coast Napa and Sonoma). The counties are mostly divided into several AVA areas, not infrequently extending across county boundaries. An AVA area can in turn be subdivided into sub-areas and these again. All 50 US states and their counties (counties) are recognized as origin regions by law. The all-inclusive AVA "American States" or "United States" is a blended or varietal wine from grapes or wines from the entire United States, including the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
The multi-state AVAs extend over two or more states. For example, the three states divide new York. Ohio and Pennsylvania the AVA Lake Erie and the four states Indiana. Kentucky. Ohio and West Virginia the huge 64,000 square kilometer AVA Ohio River Valley, The smallest AVA is Cole Ranch in California Mendocino County with only 25 acres. At the beginning of 2007, there were around 190 AVA areas, of which more than half, namely 107 in California, In around 30 states there is at least one AVA area.