CLASSIFYING AMERICAN VITICULTURAL AREAS BASED ON ENVIRONMENTAL DATA
Keywords: American Viticultural Areas, hierarchical cluster analysis, classification, GIS, open data, climate data, soil data, wine
Abstract. American Viticultural Areas are wine appellation areas in the United States formally and legally defined by the US Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) through a petition process and are used in marketing wine. The TTB’s petition process is intended to define areas containing unique environmental conditions. In this paper, I investigate how similar AVA boundaries are in their environmental characteristics though a hierarchical cluster analysis, using the environmental variables required to be described in the petition process. The AVAs fell into six groups, driven largely by their physical features such as topography, elevation, or location on a coastline, rather than into geographic clusters.