An AVA is an American Viticultural Area - a designated wine grape growing region in the United States that is distinguishable by its geography. AVAs range in size from the Upper Mississippi Valley AVA at 29,900 square miles across four states, to the Cole Ranch AVA in Mendocino County, California, at just 189 acres.
How many AVAs are there in California?
As of January 2016, there were 232 established AVAs in the United States, 137 of which are in California. This large number is a testament to the variety of microclimates in the state. California’s largest AVA is the Central Coast AVA, and its smallest is Cole Ranch in Mendocino County.
What was the first AVA recognized in the United States?
The Augusta AVA, surrounding the area around the town of August, Missouri, was the first recognized AVA in the United States. It gained the status on June 20, 1980.
Originally published in the Gold Wine Club's Wine PressHighflyer Wines & Priest Ranch edition.