Subunit a of the yeast vacuolar-type, proton-translocating ATPase enzyme complex (V-ATPase) is responsible for both proton translocation and subcellular localization of this highly conserved molecular machine. Inclusion of the Vph1p isoform causes the V-ATPase complex to traffic to the vacuolar membrane, whereas incorporation of Stv1p causes continued cycling between the trans-Golgi and endosome. We previously demonstrated that this targeting information is contained within the cytosolic, N-terminal portion of V-ATPase subunit a (Stv1p). To identify residues responsible for sorting of the Golgi isoform of the V-ATPase, a random mutagenesis was performed on the N terminus of Stv1p. Subsequent characterization of mutant alleles led to the identification of a short peptide sequence, W(83)KY, that is necessary for proper Stv1p localization. Based on three-dimensional homology modeling to the Meiothermus ruber subunit I, we propose a structural model of the intact Stv1p-containing V-ATPase demonstrating the accessibility of the W(83)KY sequence to retrograde sorting machinery. Finally, we characterized the sorting signal within the context of a reconstructed Stv1p ancestor (Anc.Stv1). This evolutionary intermediate includes an endogenous W(83)KY sorting motif and is sufficient to compete with sorting of the native yeast Stv1p V-ATPase isoform. These data define a novel sorting signal that is both necessary and sufficient for trafficking of the V-ATPase within the Golgi/endosomal network.