Petaluma Gap becomes America’s newest AVA

The Petaluma Gap has finally received recognition as an American Viticultural Area (AVA), nearly three years after it was first proposed by the Petaluma Gap Winegrowers Alliance (PGWA).

Rogers Creek Vineyard in the Petaluma Gap. Photo Credit: Chris Purdy –

The PGWA submitted a petition to the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) to establish the Petaluma Gap, which spans Sonoma and Marin Counties, as an American Viticultural Area (AVA) in February 2015.

The application had cleared all formal hurdles during the Obama administration, leaving the Trump administration to give final sign off. This was delayed by over a year due to Trump’s temporary ban on rule making after he became President, and the need to reappoint staff to vacant positions with the responsibility of signing the AVA off.

The new ruling will allow winemakers in the region to display the name of the AVA, which is also the first to be approved in Marin County, on their bottles for the first time. Before, winemakers in the Petaluma Gap were required to label their wines with either the county or state name only.

“Being able to proudly include this designation on our labels makes it easier for consumers to seek out and identify the wines of our members,” said Rickey Trombetta, president of the board of directors of the PGWA.

“Local winemakers have long known that grapes grown in the Petaluma Gap ripen more slowly than in surrounding regions, allowing later harvest times, which results in more complex flavor development while preserving natural acidity. With today’s finalization of the AVA, wine lovers and members of the wine trade will have the opportunity to become more familiar with the distinctive quality and flavor profile of Petaluma Gap wines.”

The Petaluma Gap AVA lies in southern Sonoma County and northern Marin County and extends from the Pacific Ocean to San Pablo Bay. It covers approximately 202,476 acres and and contains 80 commercially-producing vineyards covering a total of 4,000 acres, with its defining characteristic the daily wind and fog that moderates the area’s temperature. The PGWA’s slogan is ‘wind to wine’.

Producers with wineries in the Petaluma Gap AVA include Jackson Family Wines, Keller Estate, Sangiacomo Family Vineyards, Pellet Estate, Ramey Wine Cellars, Three Sticks Wines and Trombetta Family Wines, to name a few.

The Petaluma Gap AVA will legally come into affect on 8 January, 2018, making it America’s newest AVA. The last previous AVA to be approved by the TTB was the Appalachian High Country of North Carolina in October 2016.

Boundaries of the Petaluma Gap AVA

One Response to “Petaluma Gap becomes America’s newest AVA”

  1. SaDawna McCart-Stebben says:

    That beautiful Vineyard photo is by Chris Purdy. At least give him some photo credit.

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