Nicholas Miller notified redwinebuzz.com this afternoon of the TTB's Final Rule today to expand the boundaries of the Santa Maria Valley AVA.
The new boundaries extend the AVA to the west from Clark Avenue along U.S. Route 101 to the current southern-most point of the AVA.
The initial petition, submitted in 2006, placed the southwestern boundary west of Route 101. However, the TTB rejected that petition, citing insufficient vineyards west of the highway.
Included in the AVA now are several prominent properties: Solomon Hills Vineyard (the second, more southerly part), Le Bon Climat Vineyard, Rancho Ontiveros and two Foxen properties (Tinaquaic and Ma Mère) just west of Foxen Canyon Road.
Prior to this expansion, wines sourced from these vineyards could only be labeled "Santa Barbara County".
This expansion is more than a pro forma development. Not only does it allow for more wines to be labelled with the Santa Maria Valley AVA, but it broadens the meaning of that AVA. While the AVA has built its reputation and identity on Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, the addition of the Foxen properties adds Cabernet and more Syrah plantings to the AVA's identity. A few other properties (most notably Bien Nacido Vineyard) grow Syrah in the Santa Maria Valley AVA. Le Bon Climat Vineyard is planted to Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Viognier.
Original petition and map (page 3) here.