Winemakers in California's Paso Robles have applied to split the American Viticultural Area into 11 new sub-appellations to highlight its diversity to consumers.
The 59-member Paso Robles grower and vintner alliance has applied to the US Tobacco, Tax & Trade Bureau (TTB) to create all the new sub-appellations.
It marks another step by producers in their attempt to improve the region’s reputation, having once been known for a focus on inexpensive bulk wine, especially Zinfandel. The current Paso Robles AVA has 32,000 acres under vine, according to the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance*.
It is hoped that political infighting can be avoided via the unusual tactic of submitting all 11 applications at once.
‘We wanted science to prevail over politics in defining the boundaries of the new appellations,’ said Steve Lohr, chairman and chief executive of J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines, the largest producer in the Paso Robles American Viticultural Area (AVA).
‘And we wanted to avoid future boundary skirmishes and confusing overlapping appellations that can occur when AVAs are proposed one at a time.’
The current Paso Robles AVA, established in 1983, borders the Santa Lucia coastal mountain range to the west, Monterey County to the north and Santa Margarita to the south.
Lohr said it is ‘one of the most diverse series of soils of any winegrowing region in the US’. There is often a 40 to 50 degree daily temperature swing during the growing season and a variation of 10 to 30 inches of average annual rainfall.
The 11 proposed sub-appellations are: Adelaida District, Creston District, El Pomar District, Paso Robles Estrella District, Paso Robles Geneseo District, Paso Robles Highlands District, Paso Robles Willow Creek District, San Juan Creek, San Miguel District, Santa Margarita Ranch and Templeton Gap District.
*This article was amended on 01/10/2013 to correct a statement about the amount of land under vine in the Paso Robles AVA. Decanter.com has also included a list of the 11 proposed sub-appellations.
Written by Courtney Humiston