|California AVA Map|
American Viticultural Area (AVA)
When a U.S. winery wants to tell you the geographic pedigree of its wine, it uses a tag on its label called an Appellation of Origin that provides the geographic origin of where the grapes were grown. Appellations are defined either by political boundaries, such as the name of a county or state, or by federally-recognized growing regions called American Viticultural Areas (AVAs).
American Viticultural Areas are to appellations of origin as grapes are to fruit. AVAs are delimited grapegrowing areas distinguishable by geographic, climatic and historic features, and the boundaries have been delineated in a petition filed and accepted by the federal government. In size, AVAs range from extremely small to extremely large. AVAs are one kind of appellation, but not all appellations are AVAs.