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Proposed New AVA Tip of the Mitt and Establishment of Squaw Valley-Miramonte

On August 6, 2015, TTB issued a proposed rule to establish a new American Viticultural Area. TTB is accepting comments through October 5, 2015 on a proposed American Viticultural Area (“AVA”) called “Tip of the Mitt,” as per a proposed rule in the Federal Register on June 30, 2015. The proposed AVA is as follows:

  • The proposed AVA is located in the northern portion of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan and contains 2,760-square miles not located within (nor does it contain) any established AVA. It contains 41 commercial vineyards, eight bonded wineries, and about 94 acres. There are four bonded wineries and an additional 48 acres in the process of being planned. The petition proposing the AVA explains that the name “Tip of the Mitt” comes from the fact the lower peninsula of Michigan is shaped liked a mitten and the proposed AVA is located in the “tip” of the mitten.
  • Distinguishing features include climate and soil. The proposed AVA is surrounded by water on its north, west, and east sides, thus the petition noted the proposed region contrasts from the area directly south. The climate is warmer due to the “westerly prevailing winds that distribute warmer air from the surface of Lake Michigan across the region.” Docket No. TTB–2015–0011–0155. The petition also includes data suggesting that the region south has a lower annual temperature, which contributes to the types of grape varietals that can be grown in the southern portion, as well as information on the growing season of the proposed AVA and an assertion that the soil content contains high level of organic matter along with coarse-textured glacial till and Lacustrine sand and gravel. 
  • The petition was filed by the Straits Area Grape Growers Association on behalf of the local vineyard and winery owners.

In addition, on August 7, 2015, TTB issued a final rule to establish the new American Viticultural Area Squaw Valley-Miramonte. The rule is effective starting September 8, 2015 and contains approximately 44,690-acres in Fresno County, California. See T.D. TTB-129: Establishment of the Squaw Valley-Miramonte Viticultural Area. The petition was originally filed by Christine Flannigan, owner of the Sierra Peaks Winery and Purgatory Vineyards, on behalf of the Squaw Valley Grape Growers Group. No comments were received. 

For more information on wine or alcohol law, AVAs, or TTB matters, please contact Lindsey Zahn.

DISCLAIMER: This blog post is for general information purposes only, is not intended to constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship results. Please consult your own attorney for legal advice.

Lindsey A. Zahn


Lindsey is the founder and author of On Reserve: A Wine Law Blog. She is an alcohol beverage and food attorney and is admitted to the New York State Bar.

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