A viticultural area for American wine is a delimited grape-growing region having distinguishing features as described in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) at 27 CFR part 9 and a name and delineated boundary as established in part 9 of the regulations. These designations allow vintners and consumers to attribute a given quality, reputation, or other characteristic of a wine made from grapes grown in an area to its geographic origin.
The establishment of viticultural areas allows vintners to describe more accurately the origin of their wines to consumers and helps consumers to identify wines they may purchase.
Any interested individual or group may petition for a new or modified AVA through the process outlined in, 27 CFR Part 9, American Viticultural Areas. The main AVA petitioning elements include substantive documentation and evidence for the name usage, boundary line chosen, distinguishing features of the area, and a written boundary description with accompanying USGS maps. To assist persons who wish to petition TTB for the creation or modification of an AVA, TTB has created the AVA Manual for Petitioners. The manual includes guidance on how to prepare a petition, as well as tables to help persons collect and evaluate information on distinguishing features. TTB encourages petitioners to review the manual before drafting or submitting a petition.
TTB maintains a list of established AVAs, as well as a listing of AVA petitions that have been accepted as perfected, but for which a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking has yet to publish.