The Ramona Valley has become the third wine growing region of Southern California to be granted AVA status.

The US government granted appellation status this month to the region of San Diego County – the 162nd such area since the creation of the US wine appellation system under federal law in 1980.

After a three-year application process, the 139 square miles (360sqkm) of primarily rural land surrounding the town of Ramona, California, was designated an American Viticultural Area (AVA) on 6 January.

Home to over 20 vineyards covering over 24ha, wines from the Ramona Valley can carry their own labels – as long as 85% of the grapes used come from the valley.

‘This is a major step for the rapidly growing wine producing area around Ramona,’ said Ramona Valley Vineyard Association representative Bill Schweitzer. ‘Before Prohibition, this region was home to hundreds of acres of quality wine grapes. Now that research has improved the control of various insects and diseases, we are really enthused about the opportunities an AVA gives us.’

Of the 162 AVAs in the United States, 94 are in California. The Ramona Valley is only the third to be designated in Southern California.

Written by Panos Kakaviatos