Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, but you can call me Vinny. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the fine points of etiquette to the science of winemaking. And don't worry, I'm no wine snob—you can also ask me those "dumb questions" you're too embarrased to ask your wine geek friends! I hope you find my answers educational, empowering and even amusing. And don't forget to check out my most asked questions and my full archives for all my Q&A classics.
Dear Dr. Vinny,
Is it legal for non-vintage wine to have an AVA on the label?
—Jonathan, Kuna, Idaho
AVAs, or American Viticultural Areas, are geographical grapegrowing areas (more specific than a state or county designation) that are legally defined by the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). And fortunately, I have a contact at the TTB on speed dial! Here's what they told me: Wine with a vintage date must have an appellation, but wines that have appellations (including AVAs) do not require a vintage date. So yes, it's legal for non-vintage wine to carry an appellation or AVA here in the United States, and you'll no doubt be familiar with non-vintage wines around the world that also carry their country's AVA equivalent, such as non-vintage sparkling wines from France's Champagne AOC.