Guki Cellars

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USA Wines classification

Wine was produced in the USA for the first time in 1562 by French Huguenot settlers in Florida.  It was made from a local grape variety. Today the USA is the 4th largest wine producer in the world. But getting there was not easy. Native American varieties do not lend themselves well to producing fine wines as their flavours called (among others) earthy, musty, foxy and candied and their high acidity do not appeal to the majority of wine lovers. The Vitis vinifera grape varieties imported from Europe during 17th century succumbed to native vine diseases. To counter the situation hybrid varieties were developed. The Alexander variety (a natural crossing) discovered in 1740 is the oldest of them and is still grown. Wine became more popular in the 19th century but the production was discontinued when Prohibition was instituted in 1919. It can be said that wine making in the USA really started only after the law was repealed in 1933. Initially mostly cheap and sweet wines were produced. This changed when, in the 1960th and 1970th, Californian wines gained International recognition producing high quality wines made with European grape varieties (Vitis vinifera). Today wines are produced in all US Sates though only four of them account for 97% of all wines produced, namely California (about 89%), New York (about 3.3%), Washington (about 3.3%) and Oregon with just about 1%.
AVA (American Viticultural Area) classification
Although it may look similar to the French AOC system, the AVA (American Viticultural Area) system is quite different. The first AVA regulation was granted in June 1980 in Augusta, Georgia. Prior to the establishment of the AVA regulation (by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau of the US Treasury Department) the area designations of wines produced were determined by the county and state where they were produced. These regulations became federal law and continue to exist alongside the AVA regulation. It is thus possible to have wines stating the larger areas of state and/or county on the label or one of the VDA areas (of which about 200 exist now).
In case of state or county area designation on the label at least 75% of the wine must derive from the designated area; if the wine made is an "American wine" (a blend of wines from several areas) the percentage of each area must be stated on the label.
In case of a wine using an AVA designation stricter conditions apply. It must originate from within the boundaries of the AVA and at least 85% of the grapes used must come from the AVA area. In case a vineyard is stated at least 95 % of the grapes must derive from it. It should be noted that the AVA is considerably less restrictive than European area/AOP regulations. Grape varieties, the yield, the vinfication techniques and other specifications often imposed in Europe do not apply to AVA regulations.
AVA areas are granted (or not) based on request from local interested parties. Applicants must show that there is a reason to grant an AVA, such as that the area is (well) known or its uniqueness, that the boundaries are historical and legitimate and proof the that specific local conditions such as e.g. soil structure, height, microclimatic conditions and/or other specific elements warrant the granting of a specific AVA. State or county boundaries are not AVA boundaries, even though certain wines are known by these names. A vineyard may also be located in more than one AVA e.g. when a smaller AVA is located in a larger (regional) AVA.

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231-0862 Yokohama,Naka-Ku,
Yamate-cho 155-7, Japan

Tel : 045-232-4499
Fax : 045-623-7906