AVA stands for American Viticultural Area. It is listed on the front of most wine labels, sometimes on the back. It lets the buyer know where the wine is from, simply the region. These regions usually have particular microclimates, geology, and other influences.
The smallest American Viticultural Area, Cole Ranch was just sold. A whopping 150 acres of which only 55 are planted, mostly to Cabernet Sauvignon but also Merlot, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Riesling. It was just purchased for $2.7 million.
Mike Lucia is now the proud owner of an entire AVA in Northern California. His plan is to graft more obscure Northern European varieties. I look forward to tasting wine from the property and see how the likes of Mondeuse grapes grow in Mendocino.