Everyone knows of Napa Valley. Most have also heard of Sonoma County as a premium wine region. Fewer know anything about Rockpile or Green Valley or even Russian River Valley. Russian wine??
U.S. wine growing areas have lots of different American Viticultural Areas (AVAs). These government-approved growing regions are supposed to help the consumer select wines based on where the grapes are from.
Many wines labeled Napa Valley aren't grown in the valley at all, but on nearby hills, but they still say Napa Valley because that's what people recognize.
Sonoma has finally realized they should be selling Sonoma County to wine buyers so beginning in 2014 the label has to say "Sonoma County." It will still say Russian River Valley, or Dry Creek Valley, or whatever, but will also say Sonoma County.
|Fancy wine label,|
but where the heck is Alexander Valley?
Image from rodneystrong.com
This will really help clarify where the wine comes from for the majority of wine consumers.
There are a few yahoos that don't understand wine-buying in New Jersey or Texas and think this is wrong. From an article in Decanter.com one of these winemaker yahoos says, "The danger is very real. It'll elevate a few large producers of mid-grade wines (read Gallo & Kendall-Jackson) at the expense of the small producers." (I paraphrased a bit here).
Do you guys actually sell wine? And to someone other than wine geeks who know this stuff? Get you head out of your you-know-what. This is a good thing. Really.