Tuesday, March 21, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Winemaker Earns AVA Designation for Calistoga

WASHINGTON (CN) - California winemaker Bo Barrett persuaded the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau to establish an American viticultural area (AVA) in Calistoga, Calif., at the north end of the Napa Valley.

Barrett, owner of the Chateau Montelena winery, led the petition urging the agency to adopt the new AVA.

Calistoga founder Sam Brennan planted the first grapes vines in 1862. The proposed viticultural area sits on volcanic bedrock overlain with lava flows, ash-fall tuffs, welded tuffs, pyroclastic flows and mudflows, according to Barrett's petition.

Calistoga's unique soil composition gives wines produced from the region's grapes a distinctive character that's often compared to - and sometimes surpasses - the famed wines of the Bordeaux region in France.

The Calistoga area is the last remaining part of the Napa Valley to receive its own AVA, though the region's grapes have been recognized as having distinct properties from grapes grown in other parts of the valley.

Two wineries, Calistoga Cellars and Calistoga Estates, will be given three years to phase out their use of the Calistoga name, as the labels are neither located in the area nor composed of at least 75 percent grapes grown in the Calistoga AVA.

An AVA designation is restricted to wines composed of 75 percent grapes grown in the AVA region. Wineries that buy grapes from the AVA, but make wine outside its boundaries, can use the AVA designation.

Read the Top 8

Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.