Lehigh Valley wine country's new distinction

April 15, 2008 3:15:08 PM PDT
Wine aficionados in the area have a reason to toast. Many would agree that the Lehigh Valley rivals places like Sonoma County or the Napa Valley when it comes to natural beauty in its open spaces.

But now, it has something else in common with those regions.

Lehigh Valley has recently been designated as an American Viticulture Area or AVA.

This means it has been determined that the grapes grown here have a distinctive character.

A unique quality influenced by the regional climate and soil composition.

The distinction was granted earlier this month.

The only way to know a wine comes with an AVA distinction is that the maker is allowed to name the region where it was made on the label.

For example, right next to the bottles shipped in from well-known wine-producing regions like Mendocino County and Columbia Valley, there will also be bottles with the words "Lehigh Valley" stamped right on the front.

The AVA distinction is already in effect, but you won't see any Lehigh Valley labels until the wines from 2007 harvest hit store shelves next month.