What is an AVA Map?
AVA = American Viticultural Area
Basically, an AVA is a unique area for growing wine grapes (aka. an appellation). It is a federally recognized designation to indicate an origin on a wine label. There are larger AVA Regions, like North Coast CA; local AVAs, like Sonoma County; and Nested AVAs, like the Russian River Valley.
Each area has specific characteristics, either geographical or climatic, which make it distiguishable. For example, grapes growing near the coast are going to experience different conditions from those growing in mountainous areas. Why does that matter? It can impact which types of grapes thrive in particular areas, as well as produce different alcohol content, acidity levels, and possibly even how the wine tastes.
In order to include the AVA on the label, 75 percent* or more of grapes used to make the wine be from that appellation, and that the wine be fully finished within the state in which the county is located.
Most AVA Maps I've seen are very....map like and topographical. A friend in the wine industry asked me to make her something a little more abstract. That's where the inspiration for these maps came about.
*I've seen both 75% and 85% lists as requirements