GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - Northeast Wisconsin's growing wine industry is getting some long-awaited federal recognition.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury has approved the establishment of the "Wisconsin Ledge" as an American Viticultural Area.
Officials say the Wisconsin Ledge AVA designation will be published in the Federal Registry on Thursday March 22nd. The rule will take effect 30 days later, so labels with the new Wisconsin Ledge AVA as an appellation of origin can be approved as of April 23, 2012.
The Wisconsin Ledge AVA contains about 3,800 square miles with approximately 320 acres of vineyards that will expand up to 390 acres over the next two years. This viticultural area encompasses Door, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Sheboygan, Ozaukee, Washington, Dodge, Fond du Lac, Calumet, Brown and Outagamie counties.
You can read more about the Wisconsin Ledge AVA proposal here.
American Viticultural Area designations allow vintners and consumers to attribute a given quality, reputation, or other characteristic of a wine made from grapes grown in an area to its geographic origin.
The establishment of viticultural areas allows vintners to describe more accurately the origin of their wines to consumers and helps consumers to identify wines they may purchase.
It's the second AVA designation in Wisconsin, following the "Lake Wisconsin" AVA established in 1994.