Royal Slope, a wine region in Washington’s arid Columbia Basin, has just been designated as the state’s newest American Viticultural Area, or AVA, by the federal government.
The U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau published a final rule on Sept. 2 making the designation official and opening the door for wineries to begin using the geographical description on their labeling once the rule takes effect on Oct. 2.
To qualify as an AVA, a wine grape-growing region must have distinguishable climate, soil, elevation and physical features. Royal Slope is the 15th area in Washington to make the cut.
The Royal Slope AVA covers 156,389 acres, wholly within the Columbia Valley AVA; 1,900 of those acres are planted to 20 different varieties of wine grapes, according to the Washington State Wine Commission. The majority of the area’s soils are formed of windblown silts or “loess.”
“Many of our wineries and grape growers have been championing the terroir of Royal Slope for a long time, so it’s thrilling for them to be able to put an official AVA name on the bottle,” said Steve Warner, president of the Wine Commission, in a news release on Sept. 2.
To read the federal final rule, visit: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/09/02/2020-17423/establishment-of-the-royal-slope-viticultural-area.
—by Ross Courtney