Feds approve Moon Mountain AVA in Sonoma Valley
This Repris Wines vineyard on Moon Mountain is part of the newly established Moon Mountain AVA
ALVIN JORNADA/Press Democrat
Tue, Oct 1, 2013
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Farming on hillsides and high elevations is a tricky business, but winemakers have been harvesting grapes from the slopes of Moon Mountain in the Mayacmas range for generations.
Now, after more than a decade of attempts, the grape growers and wineries that farm on the mountain's slopes have been approved for a new American Viticultural Area.
The new “Moon Mountain District Sonoma County” east of Highway 12 spans 17,663 acres and includes 1,500 acres of commercial vineyards planted at elevations from 400 to 2,200 feet.
The designation, which was approved by federal regulators at the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, allows vintners to describe the origin of their wines on the label while giving consumers information to identify where a wine comes from.
The new appellation is located within the Sonoma Valley AVA, but the mountain vintners have long wanted to differentiate their wines on the labels.
“Because it was part of Sonoma Valley, it's been hard to get any story about mountain-grown wines and how they're special,” said Christian Borcher, co-founder of Repris Wines, who pushed for the designation. “Wines that are grown on the hills and the top of the mountain are distinctly different and usually a higher quality than what you can grow on the valley floor.”
Hillside vines produce smaller berries, so there's more skin to impart flavor on the juice from the grapes, Borcher said.