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Petaluma, CA, January 8, 2019 — On January 8, 2018, the first wine labels bearing the Petaluma Gap American Viticultural Area (AVA) were submitted by winemakers to the Alcohol, Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) for approval by the federal government. A year later, the Petaluma Gap Winegrowers Alliance (PGWA) is cheering on its growers and winemakers for the plethora of wines now bearing the AVA on the label and for the accolades these wines are receiving from top wine writers and reviewers.

“We are thrilled to see so many of our winery members receiving 90+ point ratings on the wines they are making from grapes grown in the Petaluma Gap” said Justin Seidenfeld, Director of Winemaking for Rodney Strong and President of the Petaluma Gap Winegrowers Alliance. “The wind that ushers in the cool air from the Pacific and that defines our wines is challenging for our growers, but also rewarding for our winemakers. Grapes grown in the Petaluma Gap typically ripen more slowly, but there are many rewards that result from the longer hang-time.”

There are now dozens of winemakers who have labeled their wines with the Petaluma Gap AVA and more than half of the PGWA members have received 90+ point ratings on wines produced from Petaluma Gap fruit. At the first anniversary celebration to be held on January 8th, videos will be shown of the Petaluma Gap labels and those wines that have received top ratings.

“2018 was a busy year for the Petaluma Gap Winegrowers” said Cheryl Quist, Executive Director. “In May we held a celebration of the approval of the AVA where government dignitaries presented proclamations from the State of California and the Federal Government. In the Spring and Fall the Alliance conducted technical seminars to educate members on topics focused on the Petaluma Gap AVA, and our group’s participation throughout the year in Sonoma County Vintners’ promotional events included the Sommelier Summit, the Sonoma County Barrel Auction and Taste of Sonoma.”

Erica Stancliff, Vice President of the Board and Winemaker at Trombetta Family Wines adds “At a recent Board of Directors meeting, we agreed that the approval of the AVA is really just the beginning of our effort. The next phase is to educate consumers about Petaluma Gap wines, and showing the AVA designation prominently on the label is the first step in that process.”

In December members of PGWA elected seven new board members to bring additional talent to assist with these efforts: Kim Badenfort (Wine Industry Network), Al Brayton (Thirty-Seven Wines), Catherine Caruso (Amy’s Kitchen), Tom Gendall (Cline Cellars), David Meyers (Attorney), Scott Welch (Jackson Family Wines), and Kristine Youngberg (Adobe Road Winery). The group plans several activities in 2019 including a technical seminar series and continued activities with Sonoma County Vintners, as well as participation in other industry events. For more information see www.petalumagap.com.

About the Petaluma Gap Winegrowers Alliance

Founded in 2005, the Petaluma Gap Winegrowers Alliance (PGWA) exists to educate members of the wine trade and consumers about the Petaluma Gap and to increase awareness of the region’s unique growing conditions and resulting wine quality. PGWA additionally supports member winegrowers and vintners within the region through ongoing programs and communications designed to help them maximize their success within the industry. The group’s membership is made up of grape growers, wineries, associate business members, sponsors and local community members with a passion for the region and its wine. Throughout the year, the group conducts educational events and tastings independently and through the Sonoma County Vintners.

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