FAQs About the Eola-Amity Hills (EAH) Winegrowing Region
What is the Eola-Amity Hills American Viticultural Area (EAH AVA)?
It has long been known that the essential characteristics of a wine, such as aroma and flavor, are closely dependent on the place in which the grapes are grown. The French use the term "terroir" to denote the complex features of a vineyard site, including its soil, topography, climate, water availability, and drainage, etc., that make the wine grapes it produces unique. The Europeans have refined a system of appellations, specific to each country and region, that reflects a vineyard's terroir.
So too have American winegrowing regions developed a system of appellations, or American Viticultural Areas (AVAs), to reflect the terroir of the vineyards in these regions. An American Viticultural Area is a designated wine grape-growing region in the United States distinguishable by geographic features, with boundaries defined by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), United States Department of the Treasury. There were 190 AVAs in the United States as of May, 2008. The AVA designation of the origin of the wine grapes may be put on the label if state and federal rules are met. This provides a purchaser important assurance of the authenticity of the bottle's contents.
The Willamette Valley AVA encompasses more than three million acres and has many diverse soil types, climatic influences, and ultimately, wine styles. Therefore, wine growers throughout the Valley felt the need to refine further this broad region, and six AVAs have now been established, in addition to the long-standing Willamette Valley appellation. The Eola-Amity Hills AVA, one of the six, became official in August 2006.
The most important and unique features of this AVA are discussed in another FAQ.