West Sonoma Coast: Investing in Marketing over AVA Recognition

Vintners and growers from the far western coastal areas of the Sonoma Coast AVA have recently launched a marketing program to promote the “WestSonomaCoast” area.  The group has determined, at least for now, that the politics and bureaucracy surrounding the AVA formation process do not best serve the group’s goal of distinguishing the far west coastal properties and wines from the larger and Sonoma Coast AVA.  Although these marketing efforts may, in the future, strengthen the name, boundary and scientific evidence will be needed to support a new AVA petition.  Thus, this group appears to be testing the theory that a geographically oriented marketing program can build brand equity to an equal or greater degree than forming a new AVA and using that AVA name on the label of each qualifying bottle of wine.  Of course without any legal recognition of an AVA or a certification mark, one wonders how the group will be able to claim control of the West Sonoma Coast name.
For more information or assistance on the filing of applications for recognition of AVAs contact Carol Kingery Ritter at [email protected].
Copyright Dickenson Peatman & Fogarty at www.lexvini.com