American Viticultural Areas, or AVAs, are geographical wine grape growing regions in the United States. Their boundaries are defined by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) and established at the request of wineries or other petitioners. Washington State currently has 13 AVAs.
Washington State is a premium wine producing region located in the northwest corner of the United States. Although a relatively young wine industry, it is the nation's second largest wine producer and is ranked among the world's top wine regions. Washington wines are found nationally in all 50 states and internationally in more than 40 countries.
With 50,000 acres planted, the state has ideal geography and conditions for growing premium vinifera wine grapes. Primarily grown on their own root stocks, which support healthier plants, vines produce grapes of consistent quality, resulting in strong vintages year after year. While wine grape growers in Washington focus on Riesling, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah, the region also produces a wide range of other spectacular white and red wines.
From Italy to Australia, winemakers from all over the world have chosen to establish themselves in Washington, where they can create wines reflecting this region's unique characteristics. Their hand-crafted wines are receiving wide acclaim from critics regionally, nationally and internationally for consistent high quality. Many of them have received scores of 90 and above from major wine media. Overall, Washington receives a higher percentage of high scores from principal wine publications than other leading wine regions.
As the state's fourth largest fruit crop, the Washington wine industry is an important contributor to the long term preservation of Washington agriculture. The industry is committed to sustainable agricultural practices and conservation of water resources. Washington is also home to wineries that are certified organic and biodynamic.
Washington's wine industry generates more than $8.6 billion to the state economy and it employs more than 70,000 people directly and indirectly. Wine grapes are among the highest tax generators of any agricultural crops in terms of tax revenues accrued to the state and federal government. Furthermore, Washington wine tourism attracts nearly two million visitors annually, contributing to the positive growth of local and regional economies.