New AVAs Requested in Paso Robles
The Paso Robles AVA Committee is moving ahead with its “master plan” to divide the large region into 11 smaller sub-AVAs. The group recently submitted requests for 3 new sub-AVAs to the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), and plans to submit the others in the next few weeks.
Founded by Jerry Lohr, the Paso Robles AVA Committee retained the services of renowned UC Davis geologist Deborah Elliott-Fisk to divide the region into more meaningful sub-AVAs according to geology and climate.
However, a competing plan to establish a Westside sub-AVA is already in the pipeline at the TTB. Many wineries have criticized this proposed division, arguing that it is a marketing ploy that does not correctly reflect the nuances of the region.
Complicating the issue further is the fact that the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance has spent considerable time and money in recent years to raise awareness of the Paso Robles brand. To ensure that none of this effort is lost, the Alliance is backing a piece of legislation introduced by Assemblyman Sam Blakeslee (R-San Luis Obispo) that would require “Paso Robles” to still be on the wine label if the sub-AVA requests go through.
But no matter how the issue is settled, the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance’s mission will remain the same, according to spokeswoman Staci Jacob. Jacob recently told the San Francisco Chronicle, “We’re still driving and getting awareness for Paso Robles as a wine region. That’s where the conjunctive labeling comes in. It will help ensure Paso Robles remains the dominant AVA while the sub-appellations can truly tell the story.”