In a move that will help promote Paso Robles as an international brand, California Assemblyman Sam Blakeslee introduced legislation yesterday to create a conjunctive labeling law to protect the Paso Robles name. The bill, AB 87, would require vintners choosing to use a Paso Robles "sub" appellation on their labels to also list the Paso Robles AVA on the bottle.
There are efforts underway to further subdivide the Paso Robles AVA into smaller, distinctive viticultural areas. While highly desirable in terms of sub-regional identification and industry value, the marketing of sub-appellations has the potential of diluting the prominence of the Paso Robles winegrowing area and confusing consumers. Winegrowers in Paso Robles have been working on a proposal for "sub" AVAs for several months and a filing will likely be submitted to the U.S. Department of Treasury's Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau within a few weeks.
"Our local wineries have shown great vision in working together to maintain the national prominence of Paso Robles wines," said Blakeslee. "Their commitment to regional marketing will have wide-ranging benefits to local agriculture, tourism and jobs."
Bearing acres of wine grapes have more than doubled since 1999 in Paso Robles, and the region has grown to include more than 120 wineries and 26,000 vineyard acres, making it roughly the same size as Washington in terms of planted acres.
"We're thrilled, Paso Robles Wine Alliance executive director Stacie Jacob said. "We've received support from Wine Institute, CAWG (California Association of Winegrape Growers) Family Winemakers, and the Napa Valley Vintners Association has supported our bill. We looked at Napa's statute from 1990 and we have basically followed the model they created to ensure we create a stronger tie between the Paso Robles AVA and future sub appellations that will be wholly contained within our AVA."