Paso Robles Establishes 11 New Viticultural Areas
Defining Paso Robles
On October 9th, 2014, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) published a final ruling establishing 11 new viticultural sub-areas nested within the greater Paso Robles American Viticultural Area. The decision marks the conclusion of a seven year process that will help to better define the diversity of Paso Robles’ wine region, which until this ruling had existed as the largest undivided AVA in California.
Since 1990, Paso Robles has also been California’s most explosive wine AVA, experiencing some 900% growth in the quarter-century since. With so many new winemakers and an area full of diverse climates and soils, singularly defining the region in terms of wine has become increasingly difficult over the years. The 11 new regions will help to make clear which areas are best for growing particular grapes and define the assortment of soils and climates across the AVA. The western portion of the viticultural area is best suited to produce cooler climate varietals such as Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, while the warmer eastern portion is primed for grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Zinfandel, as well as an assortment of Rhône varietals. Furthermore, regions on both the east and west side experience micro-divisions, with different valleys and gaps in the coastal mountain range making for a myriad of unique climates.
Thanks to a 2007 labeling law passed by the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance, all labels will still carry the name Paso Robles as the topmost billing, with new sub-AVAs underneath for further clarity. This historic ruling will help to define the Paso Robles AVA, while still strengthening the name of the area as a whole. With over 200 wineries in the area that include big names like J. Lohr, Justin and Eberle, it will be exciting to see the development of the individual areas as well as the district overall. Much like it has been for the last 25 years, now is a great time to be growing grapes in Paso Robles.
Learn more at the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance’s official website