Feds Approve Calistoga AVAIn December 2009, the long-awaited recognition of one of America's most historic wine places, Calistoga, an area within the Napa Valley American Viticultural Area (AVA) has been approved by the Alcohol Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) of the US Department of Treasury as the Calistoga AVA. The milestone represented years of hard work and unwavering leadership of US Representative Mike Thompson (D-St Helena).
"We could not have achieved this incredible victory for wine consumers and the wine industry had it not been for Representative Mike Thompson. He has worked tirelessly to ensure truth-in-wine-labeling for consumers and intimately understands the need for forthright protection of wine's place of origin," said Napa Valley Vintners Executive Director Linda Reiff.
Though the region has been renowned for winemaking for more than 100 years, wine producers that sprung up in recent years began using the name Calistoga in their brand labeling. Their wine did not come from the proposed AVA and they were road-blocking vintners and growers by opposing the recognition so that they could continue to mis-describe the wines they produced—branding them as from Calistoga when they were not.
In 2007, the TTB proposed a grandfathering of these mis-descriptive brands, which would have unfairly created a special, or preferred class, for these upstart wine brands. Had this rule making gone forward, this would have established precedent favoring those who mislead consumers about place of origin while trading on the hard work and quality reputation of these long-time growers and vintners from Calistoga.The NVV, passionate about protecting and respecting winegrowing place names, believes that, when it comes to wine, there is no ingredient more important than location. If it says "Napa" on the label, the wine in the bottle should be from Napa. The same now applies to Calistoga.
Watch the video of the hearing (video)