Earlier this year, a group of 27 local vineyard growers and winemakers banded together to form the RSF Vintners and Growers Association (RSF VGA). This non-profit was created to essentially market Rancho as a world class wine growing region.
Bucolic Rancho Santa Fe is also a wine growing region you might be asking yourself? Yes, it is. Still in relative infancy compared to much more well know Napa and Sonoma regions, our region has been growing grapes for wine production since 2005. I wrote a two part series two years ago about our local wines including a report on the results of a blind wine tasting (part one, part two).
American Viticulture Area Designation
The first major project the group has been pursuing is to get a federal government (which actually makes it internationally recognized) designation that our wine growing region is a distinct region worthy of a special appellation. Just as only wines grown in the French Bordeaux sub region of Pauillac get to label their wines “Appellation Pauillac Contrôlée”, only wines from a specific geographic region that encompasses RSF would be allowed to label their wines as from the “Rancho Santa Fe” wine growing region.
It turns out that Rancho Santa Fe has enough distinctiveness to merit a unique appellation, or so the local vintners hope. Right now, local commercial wine is lumped into a very broad geographic area of southern California which includes much higher volume wineries of inferior quality.
Our infamous Eucalyptus forest is just one of many differences that give local wine a particular flavor but our soils and micro climate also makes our region unique.
The VGA has almost completed the 100+ page AVA application and hopes to submit it to the government by the end of the year, which, if accepted, would give RSF its own appellation in 1-3 years from now.
RSF VGA Events
The RSF VGA is looking forward to organizing community events such as a local wine stomp during harvest time. Indeed, local Covenant resident Scott Kahn recently enrolled the help of a local Girl Scout troop to help with his latest grape harvest.
The Presentation and Ask
Local winemakers David Gamboa and Jon Williams gave a presentation during the November RSFA Board meeting describing the above. They offered that the RSF Association could become community members of the RSF VGA to strengthen the AVA submission. They asked the Association for a token $10,000 donation to the RSF VGA. The Board took it under advisement, asked for a copy of the AVA submission draft, and said they would consider it at the December Board meeting.
What do you think? Sounds like a worthy community cause to me. Marketing RSF as a high class wine growing region would be yet another marketing angle for the community in addition to all the other great reasons to live here.
Try It Yourself
Jon Williams’ The Cov is available at the Clubhouse restaurant, Mille Fleur and Mr. A’s downtown as well as available for purchase online. Williams stated in the Q&A that he hoped up to five more local wines would get their commercial license to sell their wine in the next year or two.