On April 20, the Lewis-Clark Valley was approved by the Department of Treasury's Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) as the newest AVA (American Viticultural Area). The AVA comprises 306,658 acres within the historic grape-growing region surrounding Lewiston, Idaho and Clarkston, Washington. The AVA approval goes into effect May 20. This did not come about easily. The TTB dragged its feet for months until Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Mike Crapo (R-ID) sent a letter urging the TTB to act on the petition as soon as possible.

The new AVA straddles the Washington and Idaho borders (in the same way as the Walla Walla Valley and the Columbia Gorge straddle Washington and Oregon). Dr. Alan Busacca, the geologist, worked on the petition which created the AVA, situated in Clearwater, Latah, Lewis and Nez Perce counties in Idaho and Asotin, Garfield and Whitman counties in Washington.

This AVA approval was great news to Coco and Karl Umiker of Clearwater Canyon Cellars in Lewiston. This is something they have been working on for seven years. Reviews of Clearwater Canyon Cellars' wines will be in the June and July issues of the Review of Washington Wines. Watch for it!