It’s been 30 years since Southeastern New England was designated as an official American Viticultural Area, known as AVA. AVAs are specific, federally recognized grape-growing regions. The U.S. Department of Treasury’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau name them.
Wine appellation got its start in the U.S. in 1980 with the first AVA in Augusta, Missouri. Shortly after, we started growing grapes at Greenvale in 1982 (and produced our first wine in 1992). Though wine appellations are fairly new in the United States, they are a longstanding tradition around the world, even referenced in the Bible.
AVAs represent exclusive vineyard zones. They identify where the grapes for a wine were grown. Because they are based on geography, vineyards within the same AVA are known to produce wine with similar characteristics based on climate, soil and growing conditions.
Much like wearing a sweatshirt from your alma mater, AVAs are a point of pride and esteem for vineyards in representing where they’re from. This information is often displayed prominently on wine labels with “Appellation of Origin” tags. We proudly print “Southeastern New England” on all of our wine bottle labels.
There are rules surrounding wine appellations. In the U.S., at least 85% of the wine must come from grapes grown within the AVA; this is the only restriction. But restrictions in Germany include ripeness of the grapes, and in France, appellation dictates which grape varieties and winemaking practices may be used.
The Southeastern New England AVA (of which Greenvale is a part) runs along the coastline from just south of Boston to Rhode Island and onto just south of New London, Connecticut along the Long Island Sound. It includes Cape Cod and the Islands.
In this AVA, the maritime climate and warm Gulf Stream waters in summer and fall help to stabilize temperatures and regulate the growing season. The Southeastern New England AVA is considered a cool grape growing region. It is known for exceptional sparkling and white wines, but cold-hardy grape varieties thrive in general.
The Southeastern New England AVA has developed a reputation for producing outstanding Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. French-hybrid grapes also grow well here.
We’re proud of the wines we produce in Southeastern New England AVA, and raise our glasses to 30 more years of quality and tradition!