World’s Largest Wine Appellation


The appellation is 50 times the size of Bordeaux.  I know a wine person named Tom Abruzzini.  He has been in the business forever and once many centuries ago visited every wine region in Italy professionally and studied all the wines around.  He also claims to be the inventor of the Single Vineyard concept.  He claims his idea was copied by the French from the Italians.  I personally do not care much to follow up with the claim but find the point interesting to bottle the produce of a single vineyard by itself for the sake of quality.  The making of quality wine by nature makes the geographical area under the bottle small and even smaller when we refer to blocks or rows of a vineyard.  The world's largest appellation is a great idea commercially but what does it accomplish?  American concept of an appellation is very loose compared to the Old World which is justified because the industry needs to experiment and find what plants best in what soil and weather until someday becomes established enough the laws of the land have to protect the status.  The existing appellation system is too loose to identify wine except for the marketing value attached to a name of a place.  A very large appellation means a very large land of many soils, a huge number of changing climates and other unfriendly elements.  The idea of making a very large appellation is impressive in the news but acts as an oxymoron.  The worlds large and appellation should not be together unless one makes up own definitions for terms as we routinely do here in the US.  The whole benefit of an appellation is in the consistency of specific quality within limits:  Small is the word.

David Furer

The USA will soon have the world's largest wine appellation – the 4m hectare Upper Mississippi River Valley AVA. 

Covering 48,142km sq (4.8m ha or 29,914 square miles) over four states, the AVA averages 193km (120 miles) from east to west, 362km (225 miles) from north to south. 

It encompasses some or all of ten counties in Minnesota, nine in Illinois, 18 in Iowa, and 23 in Wisconsin. The northern boundary begins near St Paul, Minnesota in the north to Moline, Illinois in the south. 

The AVA is more than double the size of Wales (20,779km sq), and fifty times greater than Bordeaux (100,000ha or 1000km sq). 

Representatives of the four states involved filed the petition in 2006. It will take effect 22 July 2009. 

Lake Wisconsin, established in 1994, is the only AVA which currently lies within the new UMRV AVA. 

It contains producers of some repute. The Wollersheim Winery of Prairie du Sac, for example, works with a range of grapes including Sangiovese and Bonarda, and has earned some 267 medals over the past 20 years. 

The application for the UMRV AVA was based upon evidence of a glacial retreat 15,000 years ago. 

The resultant water flows combined with the St Croix River and what became Lake Superior to form this bedrock. 

As federal tobacco subsidies have diminished, and wine consumption has risen in the US, many tobacco farmers, especially in Wisconsin, have switched over to growing grapes. 

Due to the abundance of cold and humidity, French and other hybrids dominate the region. 


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