California Wine Info

Learn about California grape growing regions - oftentimes referred to as appellations or American Vitacultural Areas (AVA). According to the California Wine Institute, California currently has 110 AVA's with Cole Ranch in Mendocino County the smallest, at 150 acres, and the Central Coast the largest, at nearly 6.8 million acres.

A wine label identifies a wines geographic origin. Appellations may be AVAs or areas defined by political boundries, such as counties or states. A wine bearing the "California" appellation ensures consumers that one hundred percent of the grapes were grown in California. To use a county name, at least 75 percent of the grapes must come from that county; and if an AVA is used, at least 85 percent of the grapes must come from the defined area. California's wine regions are found along the entire length and breadth of the Golden State. If you're planning a visit, there's a good chance you will travel in or near one of these winegrowing regions.

Find California Winery Associations By Region

THE APPELLATIONS OF CALIFORNIA WINE

When a US winery wants to tell you the geographic pedigree of its wine, it uses a tag on its label called an Appellation of Origin. This tag must meet federal and state legal requirements. A lot of people believe that the term appellation of origin is synonymous with viticultural area, but that's not the case.

California Vineyard Oaks By Bruce Woodworth
California Vineyard Oaks By Bruce Woodworth

Viticultural areas are to appellations like grapes are to fruit. Viticultural areas are one kind of appellation. Not all appellations are viticultural areas. An appellation of origin can be the name of a country, the name of a state or states, the name of a county or counties within a state. Viticultural areas are a hybrid appellation. In size, they range from extremely small to extremely large (larger than a few states). In terms of plantings, a viticultural area may be filled with vineyards or could be almost sparse. In terms of quality, there is no guarantee that a wine labeled with a viticultural area is any better or worse than wines that don't bear such information.

Find California Winery Information By Region

Click on California wine region map for winery groups and associations. Central Coast (8)
Central Valley (8)
South Coast (3)
North Coast (14)
Shasta/Cascade (0)
Deserts (0)

Wine-type grapes are grown in 46 of California’s 58 counties, covering 513,000 acres in 2004. There are more than 107 American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) in California (distinct winegrape growing areas recognized by the U.S. government), a testament to the variety of microclimates in the state. Most of the AVA information comes from the Wine Institute website section on American Viticultural Areas.

California Wine Regions
California South Coast California Central Valley California Central Coast California North Coast

American Viticultural Areas Located in California by Name

AVA Name
Download Type
Acreage
Effective Date
Alexander Valley
32,536.00
6/13/1988
Alta Mesa
55,400.00
8/16/2006
Anderson Valley
600.00
9/19/1983
Arroyo Grande Valley
42,880.00
2/5/1990
Arroyo Seco
18,240.00
5/16/1983
Atlas Peak
11,400.00
2/24/1992
Ben Lomond
38,400.00
1/8/1988
Benmore Valley
1,440.00
11/18/1991
Bennett Valley
8,140.00
12/29/2003
Borden Ranch
70,000.00
8/16/2006
California Shenandoah Valley
10,000.00
2/27/1987
Capay Valley
102,400.00
2/18/2003
Carmel Valley
19,200.00
1/13/1983
Central Coast
1,000,000.00
11/25/1985
Chalk Hill
22,400.00
6/13/1988
Chalone
8,540.00
7/14/1982
Chiles Valley
6,000.00
4/19/1999
Cienega Valley
0.00
9/20/1982
Clarksburg
64,640.00
2/22/1984
Clear Lake
168,960.00
6/7/1984
Clement Hills
85,400.00
8/16/2006
Cole Ranch
150.00
5/16/1983
Cosumnes River
54,700.00
8/16/2006
Covelo
38,000.00
3/20/2006
Cucamonga Valley
109,400.00
5/1/1995
Diablo Grande
30,000.00
8/21/1998
Diamond Mountain District
5,000.00
7/31/2001
Dos Rios
15,500.00
11/14/2005
Dry Creek Valley
80,000.00
9/6/1983
Dunnigan Hills
89,000.00
6/14/1993
Edna Valley
22,400.00
6/11/1987
El Dorado
416.00
11/14/1983
Fair Play
21,120.00
4/27/2001
Fiddletown
11,500.00
11/3/1983
Green Valley of Russian River Valley
32,000.00
12/21/1983
Guenoc Valley
4,396.00
12/21/1981
Hames Valley
10,240.00
4/25/1994
High Valley
14,000.00
8/1/2005
Howell Mountain
14,080.00
1/30/1984
Jahant
28,000.00
8/16/2006
Knights Valley
36,240.00
11/21/1983
Lime Kiln Valley
2,300.00
7/6/1982
Livermore Valley
259,000.00
10/1/1982
Lodi
458,000.00
3/17/1986
Los Carneros
0.00
9/19/1987
Madera
230,000.00
1/7/1985
Malibu-Newton Canyon
850.00
6/13/1996
McDowell Valley
540.00
2/27/1987
Mendocino
275,200.00
7/16/1984
Mendocino Ridge
87,466.00
12/26/1997
Merritt Island
5,000.00
2/27/1987
Mokelumne River
85,700.00
8/16/2006
Monterey
35,758.00
7/16/1984
Mount Harlan
7,440.00
12/17/1990
Mount Veeder
15,000.00
3/22/1990
Napa Valley
225,280.00
2/27/1981
North Coast
3,008,000.00
10/21/1983
North Yuba
22,400.00
8/30/1985
Northern Sonoma
348,000.00
9/25/1986
Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley
8,300.00
4/26/2004
Oakville
5,760.00
8/2/1993
Pacheco Pass
3,200.00
4/11/1984
Paicines
4,500.00
9/15/1982
Paso Robles
666,618.00
11/3/1983
Potter Valley
27,500.00
11/14/1983
Ramona Valley
89,000.00
1/6/2006
Red Hills Lake County
0.00
9/10/2004
Redwood Valley
22,400.00
2/21/1997
River Junction
1,300.00
7/9/2001
Rockpile
15,400.00
4/29/2002
Russian River Valley
96,000.00
11/21/1983
Rutherford
6,650.00
8/2/1993
Saddle Rock Malibu
2,090.00
8/16/2006
Saint Helena
9,060.00
10/11/1995
Salado Creek
2,940.00
8/30/2004
San Antonio
150,400.00
7/10/2006
San Benito
45,000.00
11/4/1987
San Bernabe
24,796.00
8/30/2004
San Francisco Bay
1,566,713.00
3/22/1999
San Lucas
33,920.00
3/2/1987
San Pasqual Valley
9,000.00
9/16/1981
San Ysidro District
2,340.00
12/17/1990
Santa Clara Valley
332,800.00
4/27/1989
Santa Cruz Mountains
408,000.00
1/4/1982
Santa Lucia Highlands
22,000.00
6/15/1992
Santa Maria Valley
80,000.00
9/4/1981
Santa Ynez Valley
76,800.00
5/16/1983
Seiad Valley
2,160.00
6/20/1994
Sierra Foothills
2,600,000.00
12/18/1987
Sloughhouse
78,800.00
8/16/2006
Solano County Green Valley
2,560.00
1/28/1983
Sonoma Coast
480,000.00
7/13/1987
Sonoma Mountain
5,000.00
2/22/1985
Sonoma Valley
4,000.00
1/24/1982
South Coast
115,200.00
12/23/1985
Spring Mountain District
8,600.00
6/14/1993
Sta. Rita Hills
30,720.00
7/30/2001
Stags Leap District
2,700.00
2/27/1989
Suisun Valley
15,360.00
12/27/1982
Temecula Valley
33,000.00
2/7/1986
Tracy Hills
39,200.00
12/8/2006
Trinity Lakes
96,000.00
4/29/2005
Wild Horse Valley
3,300.00
12/30/1988
Willow Creek
6,000.00
9/19/1983
York Mountain
9,360.00
2/27/1987
Yorkville Highlands
40,000.00
6/8/1998
Yountville
8,260.00
5/18/1999

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