After years of effort and nearly a year of delay, federal officials are expected to publish a petition to have the Lewiston-Clarkston Valley formally designated as a federal American Viticultural Area.
Representatives of the U.S. Treasury Department's Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau confirmed Tuesday that the designation should become official in 30 days.
An AVA is a much-sought after designation for a specific wine grape-growing region due to its ideal growing conditions and history. Idaho's first AVA, the Snake River Valley AVA, was granted in 2007 and is credited for spurring the state's rapid growth in wine operations. In 2009, vintners petitioned the feds to consider a new Lewis-Clark Valley AVA, to include more than 40 miles of canyons including parts of Clearwater, Latah, Lewis and Nez Perce counties in Idaho, and Asotin, Garfield and Whitman counties in Washington.
U.S. Sens. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Maria Cantwell (D-Washington) intervened earlier this month to urge the U.S. Treasury to move the process forward. This morning's Lewiston Tribune reports the approval comes just in time for the April 20 meeting of the region's wineries and ribbon-cutting of a new convention center at the Lindsay Creek Vineyards in Lewiston.