Results of two scientific studies commissioned by the Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association (LVWA) with funding from the California Department of Food and Agriculture show that there are 12 identifiable growing districts within the 260,000-acre Livermore Valley American Viticultural Area (AVA). Analysis of topography, soils and micro climates across the region also showed the majority can be better classified as a warm Region III, not a hot Region IV as many wine industry experts previously believed. LVWA has not applied for recognition of the districts as separate AVAs, but will begin sharing the district concept to emphasize the diversity and potential of Livermore Valley.
“Knowing that only 4,000 acres of the AVA are planted to grapevines, and that many of those acres are concentrated in one district, it may be that winemaking in the Livermore Valley AVA is still in its infancy,” said Phil Wente, fourth-generation winegrower at Wente Vineyards. “And that’s after more than 160 years of history. Many distinct combinations of district, varietal, rootstock, viticultural and enological practices remain to be explored.”
Phil Wente led the effort to establish Livermore Valley as an AVA in 1982 and was instrumental in the recent project to define the 12 districts. Patrick Shabram Geographic Consulting of Loveland, Colo., drew the new districts based on a study of the Livermore Valley’s soil and topography by Coastal Viticultural Consultants of Angwin, Calif., and Shabram’s own study of meso-climate patterns of the valley.
“For years, growers and vintners have anecdotally talked about the differences between the far western side of the AVA and the eastern side, the differences between the valley floor and the hillsides, the variation in soils and the differences from one vineyard to another,” said LVWA Executive Director Chris Chandler. “We’ve needed to get beyond anecdotes and general observations.”
The new districts average 22,000 acres each and are defined by a combination of climate, soil, geology and slope. They have the following names: Tesla, Ruby Hill, Crane Ridge, Altamont, Mendenhall Springs, Vallecitos, Sunol, Palomares, San Ramon Valley, Mt. Diablo Highlands, Valle de Oro and Amador Valley. New maps, a flyover video and materials describing each district have been posted to the library on the Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association website at https://www.lvwine.org/library.php
About the Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association
The Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association is a 501(c)6 organization dedicated to advancing, protecting and promoting the quality wines, vineyards and experiences of Livermore Valley Wine Country. For more information, please visit www.LVwine.org