[Federal Register Volume 65, Number 215 (Monday, November 6, 2000)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 66518-66521]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 00-28361]


=======================================================================
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms

27 CFR Part 9

[Notice No. 905]
RIN 1512-AA07


Long Island Viticultural Area 
(2000R-170P)

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

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) is 
considering the establishment of a viticultural area to be known as 
``Long Island,'' located in Nassau and Suffolk counties, New York. This 
viticultural area encompasses the two existing appellations, ``The 
Hamptons'' and ``North Fork of Long Island,'' as well as the addition 
of the remaining areas of Nassau and Suffolk counties. This proposal is 
the result of a petition filed by Richard Olsen-Harbich on behalf of 
Raphael Winery and the Petrocelli Family, as well as Karen Meredith of 
Broadfields. Mr. Olsen-Harbich believes that the region he refers to as 
``Long Island'' possesses viticultural conditions which are 
distinguishable from the rest of New York State and the bordering areas 
of New Jersey and Connecticut.

DATES: Written comments must be received by January 5, 2001.

ADDRESSES: Send written comments to: Chief, Regulations Division, 
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, P.O. Box 50221, Washington, DC 
20091-0221, (Attention: Notice No. 905). See ``Public Participation'' 
section of this notice if you want to comment by facsimile or e-mail.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Lisa M. Gesser, Regulations Division, 
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, 650 Massachusetts Avenue, NW., 
Washington, DC 20226 (202-927-9347).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

1. Background on Viticultural Areas

What Is ATF's Authority To Establish a Viticultural Area?

    ATF published Treasury Decision ATF-53 (43 FR 37672, 54624) on 
August 23, 1978. This decision revised the regulations in 27 CFR part 
4, Labeling and Advertising of Wine, to 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 in 
the labeling and advertising of wine.
    On October 2, 1979, ATF published Treasury Decision ATF-60 (44 FR 
56692), which added a new part 9 to 27 CFR, American Viticultural 
Areas, for providing the listing of approved American viticultural 
areas, the names of which may be used as appellations of origin.

What Is the Definition of an American Viticultural Area?

    Section 4.25a(e)(1), title 27, CFR, defines an American 
viticultural area as a delimited grape-growing region distinguishable 
by geographical features. Viticultural features such as soil, climate, 
elevation, topography, etc., distinguish it from surrounding areas.

What Is Required to Establish a Viticultural Area?

    Any interested person may petition ATF to establish a grape-growing 
region as a viticultural area. The petition should include:
     Evidence that the name of the proposed viticultural area 
is locally and/or nationally known as referring to the area specified 
in the petition;
     Historical or current evidence that the boundaries of the 
viticultural area are as specified in the petition;
     Evidence relating to the geographical features (climate, 
soil, elevation, physical features, etc.) which distinguish the 
viticultural features of the proposed area from surrounding areas;
     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
     A copy of the appropriate U.S.G.S. map(s) with the 
boundaries prominently marked.

2. Long Island Petition

    ATF has received a petition from Richard Olsen-Harbich on behalf of 
Raphael Winery, the Petrocelli Family, and Karen Meredith of 
Broadfields, proposing to establish a viticultural area in Nassau and 
Suffolk counties, New York, to be known as ``Long Island.'' This 
proposed viticultural area encompasses the two existing appellations, 
``The Hamptons, Long Island'' and ``North Fork of Long

[[Page 66519]]

Island,'' as described in 27 CFR 9.101 and 9.113, as well as the 
remaining areas of Nassau and Suffolk counties, New York. The proposed 
area does not include Kings County (Brooklyn) or Queens County, New 
York.
    The proposed area encompasses approximately 1,170 square miles or 
749,146 acres. Over 2,500 acres of vineyards are currently planted in 
the proposed ``Long Island'' viticultural area and the area presently 
boasts thirty-eight vineyard and/or winery businesses.

What Name Evidence Has Been Provided?

    The petitioner offered the following as evidence that the name 
``Long Island'' refers to the proposed area. The name ``Long Island'' 
has been in continuous use from 1616 to the present to represent the 
island on which the proposed viticultural area is located. However, the 
Long Island Travel Guide (1997) states that the name ``Long Island'' is 
commonly known to mean Nassau and Suffolk counties exclusively. Also, 
the 1999 Long Island Almanac (33rd ed.) covers Nassau and Suffolk 
counties only.
    According to the petitioner, the Bell Atlantic White Pages lists 
approximately 1,150 business telephone listings in Suffolk and Nassau 
counties using the term ``Long Island.'' By comparison, the White Pages 
in Brooklyn and Queens reflect almost no usage of the term ``Long 
Island'' to describe businesses located there. In addition, the 
petitioner submitted, as evidence, several maps, newspaper, and 
magazine articles which refer to the proposed viticultural area as 
``Long Island.''

What Boundary Evidence Has Been Provided?

    The petitioner has submitted, as boundary evidence, the following 
maps on which the name ``Long Island'' prominently appears:
    1. U.S.G.S. Map (New York, N.Y.; N.J.; Conn. 1960 (revised 1979));
    2. U.S.G.S. Map (Hartford, Conn.; N.Y.; N.J.; Mass. 1962 (revised 
1975)); and
    3. U.S.G.S. Map (Providence, R.I.; Mass.; Conn.; N.Y. 1947 (revised 
1969)).
    The proposed ``Long Island'' viticultural area is located on the 
eastern part of Long Island, New York. The proposed area is surrounded 
by the Queens County line on the west, Long Island Sound to the north, 
the Atlantic Ocean to the south and Block Island Sound and Fishers 
Island Sound to the east.
    Long Island, New York, has four counties: Kings (commonly known as 
Brooklyn), Queens, Nassau, and Suffolk. The petitioner contends that 
the appropriate western boundary for the proposed area is the Queens 
County line because Kings and Queens counties are not suitable for 
viticultural purposes. The petitioner states that commercial farms no 
longer exist in Kings or Queens counties and that these counties are 
densely populated urban areas. In addition, the name ``Long Island'' is 
used in common parlance to refer to the Nassau and Suffolk counties 
exclusively.

What Evidence Relating to Geographical Features Has Been Provided?

     Soil: The soils of the proposed ``Long Island'' 
viticultural area are glacial in origin. The petitioner asserts that in 
general, the soils of the proposed area contain a greater percentage of 
sand and gravel and a lower percentage of silt, loam and clay than in 
the soil associations and series found in bordering areas. According to 
the petitioner, soils in the proposed area also lack any real 
percentage of natural limestone when compared to surrounding regions. 
The petitioner asserts that the soils of the proposed area are more 
acidic and make an agricultural liming program indispensable to any 
vineyard operation. Because of this factor, the soils of the proposed 
area are also slightly lower in natural fertility and water-holding 
capacity than neighboring areas. According to the petitioner, this 
difference in soil types leads to a very unique and distinct 
``terroir'' for the proposed area--sandy loams will warm up faster, 
drain better, and allow deeper root penetration than soils in bordering 
areas, which contain greater amounts of silt, clay and rock.
    The soils of the proposed ``Long Island'' viticultural area are 
fairly uniform in that they are predominately glacial till and glacial 
outwash in nature, are very low in organic matter, and contain few, if 
any, large mineral deposits or exposed rock formations. Many of the 
soil series including the Wallington, Sudbury, Scio, Montauk, Plymouth 
and Riverhead Soil Series are common throughout the entire proposed 
area.
    The petitioner states that one of the most distinctive features of 
the proposed ``Long Island'' viticultural area is the vast quantity of 
sandy loam soil deposited during the Pleistocene Epoch of the 
Quarternary Period. This soil was deposited during the last four major 
glacial stages of this Epoch. From oldest to youngest they are: 
Nebraskan, Kansan, Illoian, and Wisconsin. Because of this, the area 
between the surface soil and bedrock areas is several hundred feet.
    By contrast, the nearest surface bedrock begins near the Queens 
County line. Some areas of Queens show exposed bedrock formations while 
the bedrock layer in the proposed ``Long Island'' viticultural area can 
be as much as 500 feet below the surface. For this reason, the soils 
found in Queens County are much shallower than the typical soils found 
in the proposed area and are not suitable for growing grapes. In 
addition, Queens County, which is considered part of New York City, is 
completely urbanized and contains essentially no agricultural land. The 
petitioner states that most of the soil series now identified in Queens 
are known as anthropgenic soils. These soils are described as having 
properties that are dominantly derived from human activities. Out of 
the 30 soil types found in the region of Queens County, only three are 
also found in the proposed ``Long Island'' viticultural area.
     Topography and Terrain: The petitioner states that the 
proposed ``Long Island'' viticultural area is unique from its bordering 
regions in that it lacks any real undulations, rock outcrops or 
muckland areas. By contrast, the Highland Basin, located immediately to 
the west-northwest of the proposed area and encompassing the areas of 
northern New Jersey, the Hudson Highlands region of southern New York 
(including Manhattan, Westchester, the Bronx, and parts of Brooklyn and 
Staten Island), and upland parts of Connecticut, is a rugged, hilly-to-
mountainous terrain. Similarly, the Newark and Atlantic Basins, located 
directly to the northeast and southwest of the proposed area, contain 
characteristic sedimentary sandstones and mudrocks that usually bear a 
red or brownish appearance from an abundance of iron oxide minerals 
(hematite and limonite). None of these geologic formations exist in the 
proposed area.
     Climate: The petitioner states that the moderating 
influence of the proposed ``Long Island'' viticultural area's 
surrounding water is evident in the temperature data. In terms of 
average temperatures, the proposed area shows the highest average 
annual winter temperature compared to the surrounding areas. The 
proposed area's average low temperature over thirty years is 43.5 
degrees Fahrenheit (43.5  deg.F), 2.5  deg.F warmer than the area of 
Westchester County and downstate New York, and 2.2  deg.F warmer 
annually than

[[Page 66520]]

the average from New Jersey. The proposed area is also over 4  deg.F 
warmer on average than Connecticut.
    The petitioner states that the proposed ``Long Island'' 
viticultural area also has the least extreme winter low temperatures 
than its surrounding areas with the lowest average being -5.67  deg.F. 
New Jersey was 1.63  deg.F colder at -7.3  deg.F. Westchester/Downstate 
New York and Connecticut were seen to have winter low temperatures 
considerably colder than the proposed area. Connecticut can experience 
temperatures as low as -13.5  deg.F which is 7.83  deg.F colder than 
the proposed area. Westchester/Downstate New York proved to be the 
coldest with low temperatures reaching -15.3  deg.F in some years which 
is 9.63  deg.F colder than the proposed area.
    According to the petitioner, based on the standard University of 
California at Davis (UCD) temperature summation definition of climatic 
regions or zones, the proposed ``Long Island'' viticultural area would 
appear to fall into high Region II (less than 3,000 degree days). 
Connecticut on the average is a borderline Region II with some years 
having Region I (less than 2,500 degree days) conditions. New Jersey is 
solidly classified as a Region III (less than 3,500 degree days), with 
some locations approaching Region IV (less than 4000 degree days) 
status in warmer years. The proposed area historically has an average 
of 166 more degree-days than Westchester/Downstate NY and as much as 
324 more degree-days than Connecticut.
    The petitioner states that on average, the proposed ``Long Island'' 
viticultural area experiences 204 frost-free days during the growing 
season. This is 31 days longer than New Jersey, 37 days longer than 
Westchester/Downstate NY and as much as 50 days longer than the 
Connecticut average. The proposed area can therefore have as much as 
four to seven weeks more growing season than any of the surrounding 
land masses.
    The petitioner states that on an average annual basis, the proposed 
``Long Island'' viticultural area has the lowest levels of 
precipitation of all the surrounding areas with 42 inches annually. The 
annual difference is 3.4 inches less than Westchester/Downstate NY, 3.8 
inches less than New Jersey and 4.1 inches less than Connecticut. The 
reason for this difference is attributed to the moderating influence of 
Long Island Sound waters.

3. Regulatory Analyses and Notices

Is This a Significant Regulatory Action as Defined by Executive Order 
12866?

    It has been determined that this proposed regulation is not a 
significant regulatory action as defined in Executive Order 12866. 
Accordingly, this proposal is not subject to the analysis required by 
this Executive Order.

How Does the Regulatory Flexibility Act Apply to This Proposed Rule?

    The proposed regulations will not have a significant economic 
impact on a substantial number of small entities. The establishment of 
a viticultural area is neither an endorsement or 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.

Does the Paperwork Reduction Act Apply to This Proposed Rule?

    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 
of proposed rulemaking because no requirement to collect information is 
proposed.

4. Public Participation

Who May Comment on This Notice?

    ATF requests comments from all interested parties. In addition, ATF 
specifically requests comments on the clarity of this proposed rule and 
how it may be made easier to understand. 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.

Can I Review Comments Received?

    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 the Liaison and Public Information, Room 6480, 650 Massachusetts 
Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20226. For information on filing a Freedom 
of Information Act request for a copy of the comments, please refer to 
the internet address: http://www.atf.treas.gov/about/foia/foia.htm.

Will ATF Keep My Comments Confidential?

    ATF will not recognize any comment as confidential. All comments 
and materials will be disclosed to the public. If you consider your 
material to be confidential or inappropriate for disclosure to the 
public, you should not include it in the comments. We will also 
disclose the name of any person who submits a comment.
    During the comment period, any person may request an opportunity to 
present oral testimony at a public hearing. However, the Director 
reserves the right to determine, in light of all circumstances, whether 
a public hearing will be held.

How Do I Send Facsimile Comments?

    You may submit comments by facsimile transmission to (202) 927-
8525. Facsimile comments must:
     Be legible.
     Reference this notice number.
     Be on paper 8\1/2\"  x  11" in size.
     Contain a legible written signature.
     Be not more than three pages.
    We will not acknowledge receipt of facsimile transmissions. We will 
treat facsimile transmissions as originals.

How Do I Send Electronic Mail (E-Mail) Comments?

    You may submit comments by e-mail by sending the comments to 
nprm@atfhq.atf.treas.gov. You must follow these instructions. E-mail 
comments must:
     Contain your name, mailing address, and e-mail address.
     Reference this notice number.
     Be legible when printed on not more than three pages, 8\1/
2\"  x  11" in size.
    We will not acknowledge receipt of e-mail. We will treat comments 
submitted by e-mail as originals.

How Do I Send Comments to the ATF Internet Web Site?

    You may also submit comments using the comment form provided with 
the online copy of the proposed rule on the ATF internet web site at 
http://www.atf.treas.gov.

5. Drafting Information

    The principal author of this document is Lisa M. Gesser, 
Regulations Division,

[[Page 66521]]

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

List of Subjects in 27 CFR Part 9

    Administrative practice and procedure, Consumer protection, 
Viticultural areas, 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.

Subpart C--Approved American Viticultural Areas

    Par. 2. Subpart C is amended by adding Sec. 9.170 to read as 
follows:


Sec. 9.170  Long Island

    (a) Name. The name of the viticultural area described in this 
section is ``Long Island.''
    (b) Approved Maps. The appropriate maps for determining the 
boundary of the Long Island viticultural area are three United States 
Geological Survey (U.S.G.S.) topographic maps (Scale: 1:250,000). They 
are titled:
    (1) ``New York, N.Y.; N.J.; Conn.,'' 1960 (revised 1979);
    (2) ``Hartford, Conn.; N.Y.; N.J.; Mass.,'' 1962 (revised 1975); 
and
    (3) ``Providence, R.I.; Mass.; Conn.; N.Y.,'' 1947 (revised 1969).
    (c) Boundaries. The Long Island viticultural area includes 
approximately 1,170 square miles or 749,146 acres and is made up of the 
counties of Nassau and Suffolk, New York, including all off shore 
islands in those counties.

    Approved: October 27, 2000.
Bradley A. Buckles,
Director.
[FR Doc. 00-28361 Filed 11-3-00; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4810-31-P