TTB proposes adjacent state AVA


The TTB has issued a new Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would change how American Viticultural Areas (AVA) can be used on a wine label.

The TTB is proposing that wineries in adjacent states be allowed to use the single-state AVA from the bordering state. To use the “Finger Lakes” as an example, a Pennsylvania winery would be able to purchase grapes from the Finger Lakes AVA and use the Finger Lakes AVA on the label, if the wine is fully finished in Pennsylvania. The regulations currently state that a Pennsylvania winery can purchase Finger Lakes grapes and use a “New York” state appellation of origin.

The current rules for AVA use on domestic wine label are:

  1. The labeled area is an American viticultural area approved under U.S. regulations
  2. Not less than 85% of the volume of the wine is derived from grapes grown in the labeled viticultural area
  3. The wine is fully finished (except for cellar treatment and/or blending which does not alter the class and type of the wine) in the state or one of the states where the viticultural area is located

To use the example “Finger Lakes” AVA again, it is currently allowed on a wine label if 85% of the grapes are grown in the Finger Lakes and if it is a New York winery, however the winery does not need to be located within the AVA, it simply needs to be within the state the AVA is located in.

Currently, in the case of a multi-state appellation, like the Columbia Valley, the winery producing the wine must be located within one of the states located in the AVA. So an Oregon winery located in the Columbia Valley can use grapes from a Washington vineyard in the Columbia Valley and use the Columbia Valley AVA on the label. The new proposed rulemaking does not change this.

The TTB would like to hear from the public on this proposal and is accepting public comments until April 10. To submit comments and to read the full Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, please go here: Use of American Viticultural Area Names as Appellations of Origin on Wine Labels

Questions? Contact Michael Kaiser at or 202-223-5172.

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