Vermont winemakers are pushing for official federal designation of the Champlain Valley as a American Wine Zone.
The designation, which would be a first for Vermont, would allow wineries in the Champlain Valley to talk about the valley’s unique geography and climate, and how they affect viticulture. They could add the designation to their bottle labels, which could raise the profile of Vermont wines among aficionados.
There are 25 vineyards and wineries scattered throughout the Champlain Valley, according to a news release, with 116 acres of commercial grape production. The valley includes producers of organic grapes and wines, as well as farmers growing cold-climate vines to sell to customers in the northern states.
How will Vermont Wine Country get an AVA designation?
Shelburne Vineyard is leading efforts for official designation. The vineyard was one of the pioneers of the Vermont wine industry, first planting vines in 1998. As Shelburne Vineyard states on its website, “It takes determination and dedication to be a winemaker in Vermont. This land is not for the faint-hearted.”
The American Viticultural Area designation falls under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade. Once the Vermont Grape and Wine Council submits their petition for designation, the office will review it and make any requests for revision, then seek public comment and make another round of possible revisions.
Finally, the petition is approved and published in the Federal Register. The whole process can take several months.
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Contact Dan D’Ambrosio at 802-849-0497 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @DanDambrosioVT. This coverage is only possible with the support of our readers.