The federal government on Thursday recognized the Petaluma Gap as the newest American Viticultural Area (AVA), giving Sonoma County its 18th such wine appellation and providing another reminder of its vast diversity of grape growing throughout the region.
The Treasury Department’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau’s ruling allows wineries that use grapes from the area to put the “Petaluma Gap” designation on their bottle labels in an effort to differentiate themselves in the competitive $34 billion marketplace for California wines.
The area covers 4,000 acres of vineyards in an overall 200,000-acre region in southern Sonoma County and northern Marin County. About 75 percent of the acreage is planted to pinot noir, which is the most expensive wine grape in the county. The rest is mostly comprised of chardonnay and syrah.
Much of the area is already covered under the enormous Sonoma Coast AVA, but Petaluma Gap proponents noted their area was different because of the afternoon wind and fog that come from Bodega Bay and pass through the hilly areas and into San Pablo Bay, cooling the fruit and allowing a longer hang time to give it more flavor.
(Source: The Press Democrat)