Sebastopol Hills Seeks AVA Status

Led by the Sebastopol Hills Winegrowers Association (SHWA), a petition to establish the Sebastopol Hills in Sonoma County as an American Viticultural Area (“AVA”) has been submitted to the Alcohol & Tobacco Tax & Trade Bureau (TTB). This new AVA would allow vintners and winegrowers in the area the added option of labeling their wines “Sebastopol Hills” in addition to existing AVAs.

Sebastopol Hills is currently recognized as one of six “neighborhoods” by the Russian River Valley Winegrowers, is considered a “marketing area” for the West Sonoma Coast Vintners, and has even been discussed in previous AVA petitions filed to the TTB. However, these informal mentions carry no legal status nor the ability to list “Sebastopol Hills” on an actual wine label. Codifying Sebastopol Hills as an AVA builds upon the work done over the last 40 years by a generation of passionate vintners to establish the Russian River Valley and neighboring AVAs as premier and diverse winegrowing areas.

“Through working in my own small vineyard in Sebastopol Hills, it became obvious to me that this region is distinct, and special, and deserving of formal recognition as a geographic indicator. Establishing Sebastopol Hills as an AVA gives a more complete sense of Russian River Valley’s identity, without taking anything away from it,” explains Joe Rogoway, Managing Partner at Rogoway Law Group and legal counsel to the SHWA.