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Moon Mountain on course for AVA status

Winemakers on the mountainous eastern slopes of Sonoma Valley may soon be part of California’s newest American Viticultural Area (AVA), which contains some of the country’s most historic vineyards.

A view of Sonoma Valley from Moon Mountain

Earlier this month, the US Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) agreed to accept a petition on AVA status for a Sonoma Valley sub-region to be know as Moon Mountain District.

The wine area would cover 7,200ha, including 600ha of planted to vines, 40 vineyards and 11 bonded wineries, many of which produce Bordeaux and Rhone varieties.

‘This is a true mountain AVA,’ said Phil Coturri, who has been farming some of the region’s premier vineyards for the last 30 years.

Steep hillside vineyards above the fog line and volcanic soil set the area apart from the rest of Sonoma Valley. ‘These create wines of different textures and flavour profiles,’ Coturri told Decanter.com.

It would also include the Gallo-owned Monte Rosso vineyard, whose Zinfandel was planted in the 1890s, with a three-acre parcel of Cabernet Sauvignon planted by Louis Martini in 1938.

‘Historically, [the area] is of great importance,’ said Morgan Twain-Peterson, son of Ravenswood founder Joel Peterson, who makes wine from Monte Rosso for his Bedrock brand.

Acclaimed producers like Kistler, Turley and Kamen Estates also make wine from grapes grown in the mountainous region.

‘[This area] is totally unique from Sonoma Valley,’ said Peterson, who is among many avid supporters of the petition and plans, if passed, to use the designation on his labels.

Repris Winery’s co-founder Christian Borcher spearheaded the petition, which must still pass a 60-day public consultation.

Written by Courtney Humiston in Sonoma

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