Lewis-Clark Valley AVA Designation
It is official! The valley we call home is now an American Viticultural Area (AVA)! The Lewis-Clark Valley AVA was approved by the Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) on April 20, 2016, just in time for the AVA Launch event. From this point forward, wines produced from grapes GROWN within the boundary of the Lewis-Clark Valley AVA will be adorned with the words ‘Lewis-Clark Valley’ on the label.
In 2009 our buddies Mike and Melissa Pearson opened Colter’s Creek Winery here in the valley. Like us, they were committed to making world class wine from grapes grown in the Lewis-Clark Valley. They were excited to join forces with us in working to establish the Lewis-Clark Valley AVA. With help from CEDA, we secured an Economic Development Grant to help with the financial burden of gathering the data required to establish a scientifically meaningful boundary for the AVA. The grant required matching funds which were contributed by the Ports of Clarkston & Lewiston, Idaho Wine Commission, Colter’s Creek Winery, and Clearwater Canyon Cellars. Mike, Melissa, Karl, and I wrote the checks, tipped our glasses, and hoped that the AVA would be accepted by the TTB someday thereby bringing prestige to the grapes grown now and prior to prohibition.
With money in-hand we hired Dr. Alan Busacca, a geologist, to be the author of our Lewis-Clark Valley AVA petition. Dr. Busacca spent months researching the geology, soils, weather, rain fall, and history of the Lewis-Clark Valley. The petition he prepared is a compelling story of the wine making history here and the environmental factors that contribute to the exceptional wine quality we have grown to expect from this place. Our first petition was submitted in 2011 and rejected with suggested revisions. Although it was a setback, the TTB gave us great feedback allowing us to prepare and submit our final petition. Our new and approved Lewis-Clark Valley AVA is comprised of 306,658 acres within Clearwater, Latah, Lewis & Nez Perce counties in Idaho and Asotin, Garfield, Whitman counties in Washington. You can read the entire L-CV AVA petition here.. I highly suggest looking through this document if you are interested in geeking out on Lewis-Clark Valley wine info. It is a real page turner.
What does this mean for our valley? The quality of life and culture of our community will thrive as our wine industry grows here. This has been proven in similar communities here in the Northwest. This new chapter in our region beholds many wonderful and delicious opportunities and we are grateful to be here to enjoy it.
It only took 7 years, but we did it! We are now planted in the Lewis-Clark Valley American Viticultural Area.