On August 24, The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau announced that the Virginia Peninsula has been approved as an American Viticultural Area (AVA), a geographic area designated as a wine grape-growing region in the United States. Williamsburg Winery was instrumental in helping to make the Peninsula an official wine region, the eighth AVA located within Virginia.
“This is groundbreaking news for Virginia wine,” said Williamsburg Winery founder Patrick Duffeler in a statement.
Williamsburg Winery has been trying for the past seven years to make the area a distinct wine region. The new rule establishing the Virginia Peninsula as an AVA will go into effect on September 24.
The Virginia Peninsula, described as a region similar to Bordeaux, France, was named an AVA due in part to its subtropical climate, extended growing season, and maritime features, including sedimentary soil.
Williamsburg Winery collected data to apply for the AVA, which included studying climate, elevation, geology, latitude, sun exposure, soil composition, and topology, all that contribute to how grapes are grown.
“This news validates that Virginia continues to be up and coming in the wine world,” said Matthew Meyer, Williamsburg Winery’s winemaker. “It validates that we have a unique terroir here, and we have unique growing conditions. It’s a really big deal for labeling. We will be able to label our wines as ‘Estate Grown’ and ‘Estate Bottled.’’’
In addition to Williamsburg Winery, other wineries part of the Virginia Peninsula AVA are New Kent Winery, Upper Shirley Vineyards, Gauthier Vineyard, and Saude Creek Vineyards.