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New AVA approved

The US government last week approved a new American Viticultural Area - Coombsville in Napa County, California.

Meteor Vineyards, Coombsville AVA

The new 11,075-acre (4,484ha) Coombsville appellation east of the City of Napa becomes the 16th AVA in Napa County.

Long known as an ideal spot for growing grapes, today some 20 wineries are producing wines within this sparsely populated region.

Bordered by Oak Knoll District to the northwest, Los Carneros to the southwest, Wild Horse Valley to the east and Solano County’s Green Valley to the southeast, Coombsville is cooler than some nearby areas but with a very long growing season. Indeed, many vintners harvested grapes into November of this year.

Jason Alexander, general manager of the new AVA’s Meteor Vineyards (pictured) said, ‘Because of its proximity to San Pablo Bay, Coombsville’s climate is quite moderate, allowing the grapes to ripen over a long period of time producing very ripe fruit characteristics without the sugar and corresponding alcohol levels typical of other valley wines.’

Generally hilly with vineyards at varying elevations, the area is wind protected by ridges of knolls and mountains. The soil is a mix of ancient volcanic ash and rocky alluvial soils: ideal for the production of elegant red wines, critics say.

‘We’re at the cooler end of the valley,’ said Ken Bernards, founder and winemaker of Ancien Wines. ‘Our wines tend to be less monolithic and more complex.’

The petition submitted to the United States Federal TTB (Tobacco, Tax & Trade Bureau) cited articles from the national wine press in support of its contention that the region ‘has national name recognition because of its renown as a wine region in Napa Valley.’

‘Newly recognized but long established, we’re all small owner operators and family owned wineries,’ said Tracey Reichow, winemaker and proprietor of Black Cat Vineyards.

Bob Arns, owner of Tournesol Estate Vineyards said, ‘What’s nice in now that it’s a legal AVA, people will realize the unique characteristics of Coombsville. We think it’s the future of Napa Cabernet.’

‘Coombsville may be Napa Valley’s best-kept secret. For decades, this small region has quietly provided fruit for some of Napa’s most sought-after wines,’ Alexander said.

Written by Bob Ecker

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