The SOMM Journal

April / May 2018

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Page 84 of 108

84 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } APRIL/MAY 2018 84 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } APRIL/MAY 2018 { appellation translation } THIS PAST DECEMBER, vintners and growers attending the annual Petaluma Gap Winegrowers Alliance (PGWA) holiday party in Sonoma County finally received the present that had topped their lists for the past three years. Earlier that day, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) announced its official ruling recognizing the Petaluma Gap as the new - est American Viticultural Area (AVA). Located 25 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge, this freshly-crowned appellation roots itself around the historic city of Petaluma. With a surface area of 200,000 acres, the appellation encompasses the southwestern segment of Sonoma County and a small portion of northern Marin County. Of the 4,000 acres planted, three-quarters of the vineyards are dedicated to Pinot Noir, with the remainder primarily planted to Chardonnay and Syrah. Stretching from Bodega Head to Tomales Bay on the coast to the west-facing slopes of Sonoma Mountain to the east, the beautiful rural landscape features a patchwork of clay, sandstone, and alluvial-based soils. In addition to its warm daytime temperatures, the characteristics that ultimately set this AVA apart from the other cool-climate subzones in Sonoma County include the strong influence of maritime breezes, as well as a dense afternoon fog that blows in unabated toward the vineyards during the growing season. This "wind tunnel" effect causes the grape clusters to ripen slowly, producing thick-skinned berries with structure, bountifully-complex flavors, lower levels of sugar, and abundant natural acidity. For these reasons, the running theme used by the vintners and growers working with fruit from the Petaluma Gap is "wind to wine." Wind to Wine THE BLUSTERY DETAILS OF THE PETALUMA GAP, AMERICA'S NEWEST AVA by Christopher Sawyer A wave of fog floods into the Petaluma Gap, which was recently named an American Viticultural Area (AVA). PHOTO: CATHLEEN EVANGELISTA

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