The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) is weighing approval of a third American Viticultural Area in the High Desert region northeast of Los Angeles. If approved, the Antelope Valley of the California High Desert AVA would join the Leona Valley and Sierra Pelona AVAs established in 2008 and 2010, respectively.
The Antelope Valley Winegrowers Association (AVWA), founded in 2006, was behind all three proposals, supported by nurseryman Ralph Carter, who drew up the petitions. A fourth application for a Tehachapi/Cummings Valley AVA, which would include part of neighboring Kern County, is currently on hold because it does not contain sufficient vineyard acreage.
The AVWA membership consists of about a dozen wine grape vineyards and five vintners, distributed among all four of the areas. With an annual production of some 18,000 cases and 90 acres of vineyards, Agua Dulce, the only winery in the Sierra Pelona AVA, is by far the largest. Two wineries operate within the proposed Antelope Valley AVA: 4,000-case Cameo Ranch & Winery and 2,500-case Antelope Valley Winery, both in Lancaster. Cameo Ranch farms 25 acres of vineyards; Antelope Valley Winery has a single acre at its Lancaster estate and more in the Leona Valley AVA, according to its wine club manager and AVWA president, Chantel Kilmer.
According to the petition, the proposed Antelope Valley AVA contains 665 square miles, bounded on three sides by the Tehachapi, San Gabriel and Sierra Pelona mountains and on the fourth by the Mojave Desert.
What do you think about this possibility?