Effective December 21, 2020, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau’s (TTB) will establish the Tehachapi Mountains American Viticultural Area (AVA). Spanning approximately 58,000 acres, this will allow local vintners to use the “Tehachapi Mountains” appellation of origin on bottle labels for wine produced in the Tehachapi Mountains AVA. Congressman Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) applauded the mid-November announcement from TBB with the following statement:
“This announcement is welcome news for our community, which has been working to establish the Tehachapi Mountains AVA for several years and is something I have strongly supported and urged the Administration to finalize. Tehachapi joins other AVAs such as Napa Valley, Sonoma Valley, and the Central Coast as an official wine region. Tehachapi wines can now compete with other well-known AVAs in our state, further cementing California’s position as the top wine-producing state in the nation.
“Not only will the Tehachapi Mountains AVA encompass approximately 58,000 acres, it will be at one of the highest elevations in the country, making it truly unique. This AVA designation will also help stimulate the local economy by further putting Tehachapi wines on the map, thereby increasing awareness of our fast-growing winemaking region.
“I want to thank President Trump, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin, and TTB Administrator Ryan for finalizing this important AVA designation, and I look forward to seeing the Tehachapi Mountains AVA become a top wine production and tourist spot in California.”
Community leaders issued the below statements:
“I am excited that the Tehachapi Mountains American Viticultural Area has been approved. This means a lot for the Tehachapi Wine Growers, the Greater Tehachapi Area, and Kern County. In addition to being known as ‘The Land of 4 Seasons,’ Tehachapi will become known as an exceptional wine growing region tucked away in the Tehachapi Mountains.” – Jim Arnold, Triassic Vineyards owner and President of Tehachapi Wine Growers Commission
“High altitude, yet warm conditions truly make the Tehachapi area unique, providing winegrowers a setting to grow and fully ripen quality wine grapes, which require both warm, sunny days and cool nights to develop the subtle flavors necessary to make outstanding wines. Establishment of the Tehachapi Mountains AVA will give Tehachapi area winegrowers the ability to develop and market their wine based on the reputation of the Tehachapi area for producing high quality wine grapes. On behalf of the Tehachapi winegrowers, I would like to thank Congressman Kevin McCarthy for his substantial efforts in support of the Tehachapi Mountains AVA that ensured our petition successfully navigated the approval process. I would also like to thank those in the community who submitted letters or comments in support of the AVA, as well as Karen Thornton of the TTB without whose patient guidance this AVA would not have come to pass.” – Julie Bell, Tehachapi Mountains AVA petition author
“Our Tehachapi Wine Growers are now recognized with an AVA designation which makes me so proud of how hard they worked, the designation ‘Tehachapi Mountains’ will be seen on every bottle of wine produced from our community.” – The Honorable Susan Wiggins, Tehachapi Mayor
“The successful effort to establish the AVA of ‘Tehachapi Mountains’ provides an important economic development tool for our regional vineyards, wineries and tasting rooms, undoubtedly increasing sales and tourism. I congratulate the Tehachapi Wine Grower’s Commission and the Greater Tehachapi Economic Development Council who have worked so hard to bring this important designation to our beautiful region.” – The Honorable Zack Scrivner, 2nd District Kern County Supervisor
“The Greater Tehachapi Economic Development Council is proud of the new American Viticultural Area designation for our Tehachapi Valley Wine Growers. Under the umbrella of the GTEDC, the Tehachapi Wine Growers Association worked very hard and diligently towards achieving the AVA designation for our mountain community. We look forward to new tourism and economic growth for our County of Kern.” – Lydia Chaney, President of the Greater Tehachapi Economic Development Council (GTEDC)
“Without the dedication of our Tehachapi Wine Growers Association, Greater Tehachapi Economic Development Council and our Congressman Kevin McCarthy we would not see the words ‘Tehachapi Mountains’ on the wine produced right here in Tehachapi. It shows the true power of collaboration and now our wine industry can grow and be recognized.” – Greg Garrett, Tehachapi City Manager
“Today we celebrate the Tehachapi area wine growers and our mountain community. The Tehachapi Wine Growers Association along with many others have worked diligently for several years to bring the designation of a American Viticultural Area (AVA) known as the ‘Tehachapi Mountains’ to fruition. This designation will showcase the Greater Tehachapi area and define our cherished wine industry.” – Ida Perkins, President, Tehachapi Chamber of Commerce
- In 2018, Tehachapi area vineyard owners filed a petition with the TTB to establish an AVA in the region. It was accepted as perfected and ready for rule-making later that year.
- On June 26, 2020, the TTB published Notice No. 191 in the Federal Register proposing to establish the Tehachapi Mountains AVA.
- On August 20, 2020, Congressman McCarthy sent a letter to TTB Administrator Ryan in support of establishing the Tehachapi Mountains AVA.
- There are currently 251 AVAs in the United States, including 140 in California like the Napa Valley AVA, the Sonoma Valley AVA, the Central Coast AVA, and multiple Paso Robles AVAs.
- Establishment of the Tehachapi Mountains AVA allows regional vintners to label wine produced in this region with the “Tehachapi Mountains” appellation of origin instead of the generic “California” designation.
- Wine grape growing and winemaking started in the Tehachapi region in 2006, and has now grown to seven vineyards and two wineries.
- The Tehachapi Mountains AVA will become effective 30 days following publication of the final rule in the Federal Register.