Love him or hate him, Stephen Colbert has provided an invaluable service to us all by individually highlighting our nations congressional districts on the Colbert Report in segments known as “Better Know a District”.
We here at VinoVerve think that he is on to something…. Especially if you start to apply the concept to wine.
The American Viticulture Areas are designations established by the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF, yes, really, I thought it sounded crazy too) which has in our post 9/11 world has been re-designated as the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). The AVAs are indications of a shared terroir (geography and geology), wine making history and name recognition. In this sense it is more like the Italian Indicazione Geografica Tipica.
Why do we think that we should learn more about the AVAs? Well consider how many you know about. Napa Valley? Russian River Valley? Heck, do you know any outside of California? You do? How about outside of the west coast? Ok, smarty pants… how about outside of New York? Now, I have you.
It turns out that the first AVA designated in the US was in Missouri. Surprise!
Did you know that there have been active wineries in the Altus AVA for over 100 years? Oh and so you know, Altus is in Arkansas.
In honor of our new appreciation for American wine regions, we are going to begin exploring them in a segment that I have dubbed:
The Stephen T. Colbert Memorial: Better Know an AVA….
Let the truthiness begin!