[Federal Register Volume 64, Number 188 (Wednesday, September 29, 1999)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 52483-52486]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 99-25286]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms

27 CFR Part 9

RIN 1512-AA07
[Notice No. 882]


Diamond Mountain Viticultural Area (99R-223P)

AGENCY: Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), Treasury.

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking.

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SUMMARY: The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) has received 
a petition proposing the Diamond Mountain viticultural area. This 
petition was submitted by Rudy von Strasser of Von Strasser Winery on 
behalf of the Diamond Mountain Appellation Committee, whose 15 growers 
and vintners represent 87 percent of the total vineyard holdings in the 
proposed area. The Diamond Mountain proposed viticultural area is 
located entirely within the Napa Valley viticultural area. The proposed 
viticultural area encompasses approximately 5,000 acres, of which 
approximately 450 acres are planted to vineyards.

DATES: Written comments must be received by November 29, 1999.

ADDRESSES: Send written comments to: Chief, Regulations Division, 
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, P.O. Box 50221, Washington, DC 
20091-0221 (Attn: Notice No. 882). Copies of the petition, the proposed 
regulations, the appropriate maps, and any written comments received 
will be available for public inspection during normal business hours at 
the ATF Reading Room, Office of Public Affairs and Disclosure, room 
6480, 650 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20226

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Thomas B. Busey, Regulations Division, 
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, 650 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, 
Washington DC 20226 (202) 927-8199.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    On August 23, 1978, ATF published Treasury Decision ATF-53 (43 FR 
37672, 54624) revising regulations in 27 CFR Part 4. These regulations 
allow the establishment of definitive viticultural areas. The 
regulations allow the name of an approved viticultural area to be used 
as an appellation of origin on wine labels and in wine advertisements. 
On

[[Page 52484]]

October 2, 1979, ATF published Treasury Decision ATF-60 (44 FR 56692) 
which added a new Part 9 to 27 CFR, for the listing of approved 
American viticultural areas, the names of which may be used as 
appellations of origin.
    Section 4.25a(e)(1), title 27, CFR, defines an American 
viticultural area as a delimited grape-growing region distinguishable 
by geographic features, the boundaries of which have been delineated in 
Subpart C of Part 9.
    Section 4.25a(e)(2) outlines the procedure for proposing an 
American viticultural area. Any interested person may petition ATF to 
establish a grape-growing region as a viticultural area. The petition 
should include:
    (a) Evidence that the name of the proposed viticultural area is 
locally and/or nationally known as referring to the area specified in 
the petition;
    (b) Historical or current evidence that the boundaries of the 
viticultural area are as specified in the petition;
    (c) Evidence relating to the geographical characteristics (climate, 
soil, elevation, physical features, etc.) which distinguish the 
viticultural features of the proposed area from surrounding areas;
    (d) A description of the specific boundaries of the viticultural 
area, based on features which can be found on United States Geological 
Survey (U.S.G.S.) maps of the largest applicable scale; and
    (e) A copy (or copies) of the appropriate U.S.G.S. map(s) with the 
boundaries prominently marked.

Petition

    The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) has received a 
petition proposing a new viticultural area to be called Diamond 
Mountain. The proposed viticultural area is located entirely in Napa 
County, California. The proposed area encompasses approximately 5,000 
acres, of which approximately 450 acres are planted to vineyards.

Evidence That the Name of the Area is Locally or Nationally Known

    According to the petitioner, Diamond Mountain has been home to 
vineyards and wineries since the 1860's. The petitioner presented 
evidence that a Mr. Joseph Schram planted his first vines as early as 
1863 and had a hundred acres of vineyards by 1892.
    According to the petitioner, the evolution of Diamond Mountain into 
a Napa Valley regional name began in the early decades of the 20th 
century, with Diamond Mountain School and Diamond Mountain Road being 
the first features in the region to bear the name. The naming of the 
school took place in 1909, with the major access road in the region 
designated as Diamond Mountain Road shortly thereafter.
    The petitioner has also presented substantial evidence that the 
Diamond Mountain region began to gain national renown in the early 
1970's, as expanding consumer interest in California wines resulted in 
new vineyards, new wineries and a greater awareness of regional wine 
character. As evidence for this national name the petitioner includes 
an excerpt from the second edition of The Wines of America by Leon 
Adams that states, ``Diamond Mountain, like Mt. Veeder and Spring 
Mountain also on the west side of Napa Valley, is regarded as a 
viticultural district separate from the rest of Napa Valley.''

Historical or Current Evidence That the Boundaries of the 
Viticultural Area Are as Specified in the Petition

    According to the petitioner, precise boundaries for the region 
being proposed have never been delineated. The petitioner does, 
however, state that Diamond Mountain's viticultural history and 
identity are associated almost exclusively with the Napa Valley, in 
Napa County. For this reason, the boundaries of the proposed 
viticultural area are entirely within Napa County. According to the 
petitioner, the petition takes a conservative approach to establishing 
boundaries for Diamond Mountain. The petitioner states that special 
care has been taken to assure that the boundaries encompass only those 
lands that meet both the historic and geographic criteria for inclusion 
in the proposed viticultural area. Also, the boundaries have been drawn 
to respect neighboring regions with separate names, histories, 
geographic features and political boundaries.
    The petitioner cites the Fourth Edition of ``The Connoisseurs' 
Handbook of the Wines of California and the Pacific Northwest'' for a 
description of the proposed area ``. . . a portion of the Napa Valley's 
western hills between St. Helena and Calistoga''. This citation is 
accompanied by a map which shows the rough limits of the region: Spring 
Mountain to the south, the 400 foot elevation that generally parallels 
Highway 29 to the east, Petrified Forest Road to the north and the 
Napa-Sonoma County line to the west.
    The petitioner claims that the 400 foot contour line for the 
northeastern boundary accurately reflects the lowest elevation of 
vineyards historically associated with Diamond Mountain. The petitioner 
also claims that the southwestern boundary acknowledges the historic 
association of the proposed Diamond Mountain viticultural area with 
Napa County and Napa Valley, and also recognizes the differences in 
history and geography that distinguish Diamond Mountain from adjacent 
slopes of the Mayacama Mountains in Sonoma County.

Evidence Relating to the Geographical Features (Climate, Soil, 
Elevation, Physical Features, Etc.) Which Distinguish Viticultural 
Features of the Proposed Area From Surrounding Areas

    According to the petitioner, the geographical features in the 
proposed Diamond Mountain viticultural area clearly distinguish it from 
surrounding areas. The Diamond Mountain region is situated in the Napa 
Valley on the eastern slope of the Mayacamas Mountains. The region 
consists entirely of residual upland soils derived from volcanic parent 
material. According to the petitioner, these soils are very different 
from the alluvial soils on the floor of the Napa Valley to the east and 
northeast and are also significantly different from the sedimentary 
upland soils prevalent in the Spring Mountain viticultural area to the 
south. The petitioner also emphasizes that these soils are 
significantly different from the shallow, dry soils in Sonoma County to 
the west and southwest.
    According to the petitioner, the proposed viticultural area's 
topography and aspect contribute to a special microclimate. Hillside 
topography and valley temperature inversions combine to give the region 
an unusually moderate temperate regime during a growing season, with 
lower maximum temperatures and higher minimum temperatures than nearby 
locations on the floor of the Napa Valley. The petitioner states that 
the microclimate of the Diamond Mountain region is clearly distinctive 
when compared to the surrounding areas. The region's microclimate is 
slightly warmer than that of the Spring Mountain District to the south, 
but somewhat similar due to comparable upland locations, northeastern 
(eastern, in Spring Mountain's case) aspects, and cooling influence of 
marine breezes from the Pacific Ocean. The microclimate is 
significantly cooler than the floor of the Napa Valley to its northeast 
and north, due to various tempering influences primarily associated 
with its upland location. So too is it cooler than adjacent land to the 
west in Sonoma County, due to its predominantly northeastern aspect 
which provides

[[Page 52485]]

oblique sun and shade in the afternoon, while the western aspect of the 
Mayacamas Mountains adjacent to the region in Sonoma County is clearly 
hotter and drier.

Proposed Boundaries

    The proposed viticultural area is located in Napa County, 
California. The approved USGS maps for determining the boundary of the 
proposed Diamond Mountain viticultural area are, ``Mark West Springs, 
Calif.'', 7.5 minute series, edition of 1993, and the ``Calistoga, 
Calif.'', 7.5 minute series, edition of 1993.
    The northeastern boundary follows the 400 foot contour line from 
Ritchey Creek northwest to the Petrified Forest Road and the northern 
boundary follows the Petrified Forest Road west from the 400 foot 
contour line to the Napa-Sonoma county line. The southwestern boundary 
follows the official boundary line between Napa and Sonoma counties 
southeast from Petrified Forest Road to the east-west boundary between 
Sections 18 and 19 in Township 8 North, Range 6 West, Mount Diablo 
Range and Meridian. The southern boundary follows the boundary between 
Sections 18 and l9, Sections 17 and 20 and Ritchey Creek east from the 
Napa-Sonoma county line to the 400 foot elevation line. It also 
corresponds with the Northern Boundary of the Spring Mountain District 
viticultural area.

Public Participation--Written Comments

    ATF requests comments from all interested persons. Comments 
received on or before the closing date will be carefully considered. 
Comments received after that date will be given the same consideration 
if it is practical to do so. However, assurance of consideration can 
only be given to comments received on or before the closing date.
    ATF will not recognize any submitted material as confidential and 
comments may be disclosed to the public. Any material which the 
commenter considers to be confidential or inappropriate for disclosure 
to the public should not be included in the comments. The name of the 
person submitting a comment is not exempt from disclosure.
    Comments may be submitted by facsimile transmission to (202) 927-
8602, provided the comments: (1) Are legible; (2) are 8\1/2\''  x  11'' 
in size, (3) contain a written signature, and (4) are three pages or 
less in length. This limitation is necessary to assure reasonable 
access to the equipment. Comments sent by FAX in excess of three pages 
will not be accepted. Receipt of FAX transmittals will not be 
acknowledged. Facsimile transmitted comments will be treated as 
originals.
    Any person who desires an opportunity to comment orally at a public 
hearing on the proposed regulation should submit his or her request, in 
writing, to the Director within the 60-day comment period. The 
Director, however, reserves the right to determine, in light of all 
circumstances, whether a public hearing will be held.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    The provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, 44 U.S.C. 
Chapter 35, and its implementing regulations, 5 CFR Part 1320, do not 
apply to this notice because no requirement to collect information is 
proposed.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    It is hereby certified that this proposed regulation will not have 
a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities. The 
establishment of a viticultural area is neither an endorsement nor 
approval by ATF of the quality of wine produced in the area, but rather 
an identification of an area that is distinct from surrounding areas. 
ATF believes that the establishment of viticultural areas merely allows 
wineries to more accurately describe the origin of their wines to 
consumers, and helps consumers identify the wines they purchase. Thus, 
any benefit derived from the use of a viticultural area name is the 
result of the proprietor's own efforts and consumer acceptance of wines 
from that area.
    No new requirements are proposed. Accordingly, a regulatory 
flexibility analysis is not required.

Executive Order 12866

    It has been determined that this proposed regulation is not a 
significant regulatory action as defined by Executive Order 12866. 
Accordingly, this proposal is not subject to the analysis required by 
this Executive Order.
    Drafting Information. The principal author of this document is 
Thomas B. Busey, Regulations Division, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and 
Firearms.

List of Subjects in 27 CFR Part 9

    Administrative practices and procedures, Consumer protection, 
Viticultural areas, and Wine.

Authority and Issuance

    Title 27, Code of Federal Regulations, part 9, American 
Viticultural Areas, is proposed to be amended as follows:

PART 9--AMERICAN VITICULTURAL AREAS

    Paragraph 1. The authority citation for part 9 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority: 27 U.S.C. 205.

    Par. 2. Subpart C is amended by adding Section 9.166 to read as 
follows

Subpart C--Approved American Viticultural Areas

* * * * *


Sec. 9.166  Diamond Mountain.

    (a) Name. The name of the viticultural area described in this 
section is ``Diamond Mountain.''
    (b) Approved map. The appropriate maps for determining the boundary 
of the Diamond Mountain viticultural area are two 1:24,000 Scale 
U.S.G.S. topography maps. They are titled:
    (1) Mark West Springs, CA 1993
    (2) Calistoga, CA 1993
    (c) Boundary. The proposed viticultural area is located in Napa 
County, California. The beginning point is where the boundary between 
Napa and Sonoma counties intersects Petrified Forest Road in Section 3 
of Township 8 North, Range 7 West, Mount Diablo Base and Meridian on 
the Mark West Springs map;
    (1) Then north and east along Petrified Forest Road approximately 
1.9 miles to the point where it intersects the 400 foot contour just 
east of Section 35 of Township 9 North, Range 7 West, Mount Diablo Base 
and Meridian, in the Mallacomes land grant;
    (2) Then generally east southeast along the 400 foot contour 
approximately 6.5 miles to the point where it intersects Ritchey Creek 
in Section 3 of Township 8 North, Range 6 West, Mount Diablo Base and 
Meridian;
    (3) Then west southwest along Ritchey Creek approximately 2.2 miles 
to the point where it intersects the boundary between Sections 17 and 
20 of Township 8 North, Range 6 West, Mount Diablo Base and Meridian;
    (4) Then due west in a straight line along the section boundary 
approximately 0.8 miles to the point where it intersects the boundary 
between Napa and Sonoma Counties between Sections 18 and 19 of Township 
8 North, Range 6 West, Mount Diablo Base and Meridian;
    (5) Then generally northwest along the boundary between Napa and

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Sonoma Counties approximately 4.2 miles to the point where it 
intersects Petrified Forest Road, to the point of beginning.

    Signed: September 21, 1999.
John W. Magaw,
Director.
[FR Doc. 99-25286 Filed 9-28-99; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4810-31-P