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An appellation is a winegrowing region with officially recognized boundaries. Appellation designations are required on wine labels to identify the origin of the grapes used in making the wine. In North America there are three classes of appellations: states/provinces and counties, as well as regions more specifically defined by actual growing conditions, known as American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) in the U.S. and Designated Viticultural Areas (DVAs) in Canada.

Why Appellations For the wine industry it's a matter of defining, understanding, and ultimately perfecting agricultural intervention in the ecological foundations of winegrowing. For consumers it's a matter of expanding consciousness about the meaningful geographical identity of North American wines.

Trends in Appellation Designations Country, state & province and county names have long been the geographical nomenclature by which we identify wine. But these place names are really more about political culture than viticulture. While the comprehensive appellation index below still contains a number of such ecologically insensitive place names, progressive North American winegrowers have joined the world-wide movement toward a more precise ecological and environmental definition of the place characteristics of their winegrowing. As the French say, its all about terroir. Terroir-ism is a revolutionary force redrawing the vinological map of North America in terms of officially designated AVAs(American Viticultural Areas) in the United States, and DVAs (Designated Viticultural Areas) in Canada.

What Appellation means in Cellartracker

The field "Appellation" in Cellartracker refers to the smallest legally-defined geographical particle of wine grape-growing. In practice, this represents the common-sense nesting of ever-more specific units of geography from Country to Region to Sub-Region to Appellation. While the exact terms varies from country to country (see below), the Appellation is usually defined by a government body who set the regulations at minumum of the boundaries, but often includes grape varieties allowed, viticultural practices, yields and vinification methods. Appellations can range in size from a single vineyard like La Tache in Burgundy to an entire regions of non-contiguous vineyards like Bordeaux.

Country Legal term for Appellation Abbreviation
France Appellation d'Origine Controllee AOC
United States American Viticultural Area AVA
Italy Denominazione di Orgine Controllata DOC
Spain Denominación de Origen DO

Both Spain and Italy have an additional level above their respective designations. In Italy, there is Denominazione di Orgine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) and in Spain there is Denominación de Origen Calificada (DOCa). These are intended to represent area with a historical record of quality and consistency.

In the European countries, there is a level of organization below that is used for newer wine-producing areas or for wines with less legal controls. These are also contained in the "Appellation" field of Cellartracker.

Country Legal term Abbreviation
France Vin de Pays VdP?
Italy Indicazione Geografica Tipica IGT
Spain Vino de la Tierra VdT?

In Cellartracker, the general convention has been to neither include or display the abbreviations for the first level of Appellations. In order to distinguish the second level, the abbreviation or name is included and displayed.

Category Appellation

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Edited December 30, 2007 (diff)

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