[Federal Register Volume 70, Number 11 (Tuesday, January 18, 2005)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 2801-2805]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 05-912]


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

DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY

Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau

27 CFR Part 9

[TTB T.D.-22; Re: Notice No. 12]
RIN 1513-AA63


Establishment of the McMinnville Viticultural Area (2002R-217P)

AGENCY: Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), Treasury.

[[Page 2802]]


ACTION: Final rule; Treasury decision.

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

SUMMARY: This Treasury decision establishes the McMinnville 
viticultural area in Yamhill County, Oregon. The new McMinnville 
viticultural area is entirely within the existing Willamette Valley 
viticultural area. We designate viticultural areas to allow vintners to 
better describe the origin of their wines and to allow consumers to 
better identify wines they may purchase.

EFFECTIVE DATE: March 21, 2005.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jennifer Berry, Regulations and 
Procedures Division, Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, P.O. Box 
18152, Roanoke, VA 24014; telephone (540) 344-9333.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background on Viticultural Areas

TTB Authority

    Section 105(e) of the Federal Alcohol Administration Act (the FAA 
Act, 27 U.S.C. 201 et seq.) requires that alcohol beverage labels 
provide the consumer with adequate information regarding a product's 
identity and prohibits the use of misleading information on such 
labels. The FAA Act also authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury to 
issue regulations to carry out its provisions. The Alcohol and Tobacco 
Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) administers these regulations.
    Part 4 of the TTB regulations (27 CFR part 4) allows the 
establishment of definitive viticultural areas and the use of their 
names as appellations of origin on wine labels and in wine 
advertisements. Part 9 of the TTB regulations (27 CFR part 9) contains 
the list of approved viticultural areas.

Definition

    Section 4.25(e)(1)(i) of the TTB regulations (27 CFR 4.25(e)(1)(i)) 
defines a viticultural area for American wine as a delimited grape-
growing region distinguishable by geographical features, the boundaries 
of which have been recognized and defined in part 9 of the regulations. 
These designations allow vintners and consumers to attribute a given 
quality, reputation, or other characteristic of a wine made from grapes 
grown in an area to its geographic origin. The establishment of 
viticultural areas allows vintners to describe more accurately the 
origin of their wines to consumers and helps consumers to identify 
wines they may purchase. Establishment of a viticultural area is 
neither an approval nor an endorsement by TTB of the wine produced in 
that area.

Requirements

    Section 4.25(e)(2) of the TTB regulations outlines the procedure 
for proposing an American viticultural area and provides that any 
interested party may petition TTB to establish a grape-growing region 
as a viticultural area. Section 9.3(b) of the TTB regulations requires 
the petition to include--
     Evidence that the proposed viticultural area is locally 
and/or nationally known by the name specified in the petition;
     Historical or current evidence that supports setting the 
boundary of the proposed viticultural area as the petition specifies;
     Evidence relating to the geographical features, such as 
climate, soils, elevation, and physical features, that distinguish the 
proposed viticultural area from surrounding areas;
     A description of the specific boundary of the proposed 
viticultural area, based on features found on United States Geological 
Survey (USGS) maps; and
     A copy of the appropriate USGS map(s) with the proposed 
viticultural area's boundary prominently marked.

McMinnville Viticultural Area Petition

    In 2002, Mr. Kevin Byrd, of Youngberg Hill Vineyards in 
McMinnville, Oregon, filed a petition requesting the establishment of a 
viticultural area to be called ``McMinnville'' in Yamhill County, 
Oregon. The proposed viticultural area is located approximately 40 
miles southwest of Portland, Oregon, just west of the city of 
McMinnville and north of the village of Sheridan. The McMinnville area 
is entirely within the existing Willamette Valley viticultural area (27 
CFR 9.90). According to the petitioner, there were 14 wineries and 523 
acres planted to vines within the proposed McMinnville viticultural 
area.

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Comments Received

    TTB published Notice No. 12 regarding the proposed McMinnville 
viticultural area in the June 27, 2003, Federal Register (68 FR 38248). 
Three comments were received in response to this notice. Two of these 
were from Arthur and Linda Lindsay of Mystic Mountain Vineyards in 
McMinnville, Oregon. The Lindsays disagreed with the exclusion of land 
above 800 feet in elevation from the McMinnville viticultural area as 
the petitioner originally proposed. The third comment was from the 
petitioner, Kevin Byrd, who asked that TTB amend the originally 
petitioned boundaries to eliminate the 800-foot elevation restriction, 
stating that he agreed with the information presented by the Lindsays 
in their comments. These comments are addressed in more detail below in 
the ``Boundary Evidence'' discussion.
    Below, we summarize the evidence presented in the petition.

Name Evidence

    The viticultural area is named for the city of McMinnville, the 
county seat of Yamhill County, which is located at the northeastern 
border of the viticultural area. Mr. Byrd stated that the area is 
considered part of greater McMinnville and noted that most of the 
wineries within the proposed boundaries have McMinnville addresses. He 
provided historical information on the name ``McMinnville'' from 
``Oregon Geographic Names'' by Lewis L. McArthur (Oregon Historical 
Society, 1982). Mr. McArthur stated:

    McMinnville was named by William T. Newby, who was born in 
McMinnville, Warren County, Tennessee, in 1820, and came to Oregon 
in 1843. He settled near the present site of McMinnville early in 
1844, and in 1853 built a grist mill and founded the town. In 1854 
he started a store. He was county assessor in 1848 and state senator 
in 1870. McMinville post office was established on May 29, 1855, 
with Elbrige G. Edson postmaster. The name was later changed to the 
present spelling.

    According to the petitioner, consumers know McMinnville as a wine-
producing region. To demonstrate this, he submitted several quotes from 
Internet sites. The first quote is from the Web site of the Greater 
McMinnville Chamber of Commerce; the other two are from travel sites:
     ``Nestled in the heart of Oregon's beautiful wine country, 
McMinnville is Oregon at its best.'' (See http://www.mcminnville.org/
welcome.html.)
     ``Before gaining its glamorous reputation as a wine-
producing center, McMinnville was known as the home of Linfield College 
* * *.'' (See http://www.ohwy.com/or/m/mcminnvi.htm.)
     ``McMinnville is known for its picturesque vineyards that 
dot the foothills. Located in Yamhill County, the oldest county in 
Oregon, McMinnville is often compared to the wine regions of France and 
Germany.'' (See www.el.com/to/mcminnville.)
    In addition, the petitioner noted that McMinnville is the home of 
the International Pinot Noir Celebration, held every July since 1987 at 
the Linfield College campus.

Boundary Evidence

    The McMinnville viticultural area's boundaries encompass Gopher 
Valley,

[[Page 2803]]

Dupee Valley, Muddy Valley, and the surrounding hills, all 
geographically part of the eastern foothills of the Coast Range. All 
land within the viticultural area is above 200 feet in elevation. 
According to the petitioner, this higher elevation causes the 
McMinnville viticultural area to have distinctive soils and climate 
when compared to other, lower parts of the Willamette Valley.
    The petitioner stated that below the 200-foot elevation line the 
Willamette silt-based soils create growing conditions substantially 
different from those in the proposed viticultural area. The greater 
depth, water-holding capacity, and fertility of soils at these lower 
elevations extends the vegetative period of the vine and delays 
ripening of vineyards planted at those elevations. The soils of the 
proposed viticultural area are described in greater detail in the 
following section.
    In addition, the petitioner noted that elevations below 200 feet 
are more prone to frost when compared to the higher elevations.
    Initially, the petitioner proposed to exclude from the McMinnville 
viticultural area any land above 800 feet in elevation falling within 
the proposed boundaries, due to climatic differences with land below 
that elevation. In particular, the petitioner stated that land above 
800 feet within the proposed McMinnville viticultural area experiences 
fewer degree growing days than lower elevations do, thus preventing the 
reliable ripening of wine grapes. Because of the unusual nature of the 
boundary proposal, TTB specifically asked in Notice No. 12 for comments 
regarding the proposed McMinnville viticultural area boundaries.
    Mystic Mountain Vineyards submitted two comments disagreeing with 
the proposed elevation limitation--one signed by Linda Lindsay, the 
other by Arthur Lindsay. Mr. Lindsay noted that he and his wife own a 
vineyard within the proposed McMinnville viticultural area's boundary, 
but at an elevation of 1,200 feet. He stated that their records, dating 
back to 1999, show that their vineyard's degree growing days are 
sufficient to ripen their yearly crop. While Mr. Lindsay acknowledged 
that their vineyard's daily high temperatures are lower than those of 
vineyards at lower elevations, he argued that their nighttime 
temperatures are generally higher than those at lower elevations during 
the growing season. He pointed out that since degree growing days are 
calculated on a 24-hour basis, the degree growing days for their 
vineyard's elevation are as high as those found at lower elevations.
    The petitioner, Kevin Byrd, wrote to request that TTB amend the 
McMinnville viticultural area's proposed boundary to eliminate the 800-
foot elevation restriction. He stated that he researched the 
information provided by Mr. Lindsay and found that the degree growing 
days for the higher elevations within the McMinnville viticultural area 
are indeed comparable to those at lower elevations. He also noted that 
the Lindsays' vineyard has a history of producing quality grapes.
    TTB believes that the information presented by the commenters 
provides an adequate basis for amending the McMinnville viticultural 
area boundary originally proposed in Notice No. 12. Accordingly, the 
proposed restriction limiting the McMinnville viticultural area to land 
below 800 feet within the described boundary has been eliminated in 
this final rule. All land within the described boundary is included 
within the McMinnville viticultural area regardless of elevation.

Distinguishing Features

    The petitioner asserted that the geographic and climatic features 
of the McMinnville viticultural area distinguish it from surrounding 
areas of the Willamette Valley.

Temperature and Precipitation

    According to the petitioner, the McMinnville viticultural area's 
location just east of the Coast Range and northeast of the Van Duzer 
Corridor greatly affects its growing season temperatures and 
precipitation. He submitted temperature and precipitation data from the 
Oregon Climate Service comparing McMinnville with two other sites in 
the western Willamette Valley--Dallas, Oregon, to the south of 
McMinnville, and Scoggins Dam, Oregon, to the north.
    The submitted data show that McMinnville is, on average, warmer and 
drier than Dallas and Scoggins Dam. McMinnville averaged 2,178 degree 
growing days above 50 degrees (each degree that a day's mean 
temperature is above 50 degrees F counts as one degree day) during the 
growing season for the years 1971-2000, with average yearly 
precipitation of 41.66 inches. Dallas, for the same period, averaged 
2,116 degree growing days above 50 degrees, with precipitation of 49.13 
inches. Scoggins Dam, for the period, averaged 1,974 degree growing 
days above 50 degrees, with precipitation of 50.68 inches.
    The petitioner explained that cooler and wetter conditions south of 
McMinnville viticultural area are due to the Van Duzer Corridor, a pass 
through Oregon's Coast Range. Cool, wet marine air flows inland through 
this pass, causing cooler, wetter growing conditions in areas east of 
the pass. North and west of McMinnville, at Scoggins Dam for example, 
the petition stated that the land makes a rapid transition to the 
slopes of the Coast Range, which has much cooler temperatures and 
greater rainfall.

Soils and Geology

    According to the petitioner, the soils and geology of the 
McMinnville viticultural area are different from those in surrounding 
areas, thus providing distinctive growing conditions for the area's 
grapes. To demonstrate the soil differences, the petitioner submitted 
soil survey maps published by the Soil Conservation Service of the U.S. 
Department of Agriculture. Several types of shallow (less than 40 
inches deep) silty clay and clay loams that exhibit low total available 
moisture characterize the McMinnville viticultural area. These soils, 
primarily Yamhill, Nekia, Peavine, Willakenzie, and Hazelair, all have 
a typical depth to base materials of between 20 and 40 inches, while 
the average total available moisture for these soils ranges from 4.8 to 
6.3 inches.
    To the west and northwest of the McMinnville viticultural area, the 
petition notes, the soils transition to those of the Olyic and Hembre 
associations. While these soils are also shallow silty clay and clay 
loams, they tend to be acidic. To the north of the McMinnville area 
(within another proposed viticultural area named Yamhill-Carlton 
District), a greater percentage of the soils are of the Woodburn-
Willamette association. These soils are of greater depth (60 inches) 
and have higher available moisture (12 to 13 inches). The Woodburn-
Willamette soils also predominate to the south and southwest of the 
McMinnville area.
    The petitioner stated that the most distinctive geological feature 
within the McMinnville viticultural area is the Nestucca Formation, a 
2,000-foot thick bedrock formation that extends west from the city of 
McMinnville to the slopes of the Coast Range. This formation contains 
marine sandstone and mudstone with intrusions of marine basalts. These 
intrusions differentiate the formation from the pure basaltic parent 
materials found under the Red Hills and Chehalem Mountains and the pure 
marine sedimentary materials of the Yamhill Formation found on the 
valley floor.
    Because of these marine basalts, the petition notes that the ground 
water composition of the McMinnville

[[Page 2804]]

viticultural area is significantly different from that of areas to the 
east. According to data obtained from Oregon State University's 
Drinking Water Program, it contains greater dissolved sodium (66 mg/L 
vs. 16 mg/L), less dissolved potassium (0.9 mg/L vs. 3.8 mg/L), and 
greater dissolved boron (230 [mu]g/L vs. 20 [mu]g/L) than the ground 
water east of McMinnville. The petitioner asserts that significant 
variations in these component materials can result in grapes with 
unique flavor and development characteristics.

Boundary Description

    See the narrative boundary description of the viticultural area in 
the regulatory text published at the end of this notice.

Maps

    The petitioner(s) provided the required maps, and we list them 
below in the regulatory text.

TTB Finding

    After careful review of the petition and the comments, TTB finds 
that the evidence submitted supports the establishment of the proposed 
viticultural area. Therefore, under the authority of the Federal 
Alcohol Administration Act and part 4 of our regulations, we establish 
the ``McMinnville'' viticultural area in Yamhill County, Oregon, 
effective 60-days from this document's publication date.

Impact on Current Wine Labels

    Part 4 of the TTB regulations prohibits any label reference on a 
wine that indicates or implies an origin other than the wine's true 
place of origin. With the establishment of this viticultural area and 
its inclusion in part 9 of the TTB regulations, its name, 
``McMinnville,'' is recognized as a name of viticultural significance. 
Consequently, wine bottlers using ``McMinnville'' in a brand name, 
including a trademark, or in another label reference as to the origin 
of the wine, must ensure that the product is eligible to use the 
viticultural area's name as an appellation of origin.
    For a wine to be eligible to use as an appellation of origin the 
name of a viticultural area specified in part 9 of the TTB regulations, 
at least 85 percent of the grapes used to make the wine must have been 
grown within the area represented by that name, and the wine must meet 
the other conditions listed in 27 CFR 4.25(e)(3). If the wine is not 
eligible to use the viticultural area name as an appellation of origin 
and that name appears in the brand name, then the label is not in 
compliance and the bottler must change the brand name and obtain 
approval of a new label. Similarly, if the viticultural area name 
appears in another reference on the label in a misleading manner, the 
bottler would have to obtain approval of a new label.
    Different rules apply if a wine has a brand name containing a 
viticultural area name that was used as a brand name on a label 
approved before July 7, 1986. See 27 CFR 4.39(i)(2) for details.

Regulatory Analyses and Notices

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    We certify that this regulation will not have a significant 
economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. This 
regulation imposes no new reporting, recordkeeping, or other 
administrative requirement. Any benefit derived from the use of a 
viticultural area name is the result of a proprietor's efforts and 
consumer acceptance of wines from that area. Therefore, no regulatory 
flexibility analysis is required.

Executive Order 12866

    This rule is not a significant regulatory action as defined by 
Executive Order 12866 (58 FR 51735). Therefore, it requires no 
regulatory assessment.

Drafting Information

    Jennifer Berry of the Regulations and Procedures Division drafted 
this document.

List of Subjects in 27 CFR Part 9

    Wine.

The Final Rule

0
For the reasons discussed in the preamble, we amend 27 CFR, chapter 1, 
part 9 as follows:

PART 9--AMERICAN VITICULTURAL AREAS

0
1. The authority citation for part 9 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 27 U.S.C. 205.

Subpart C--Approved American Viticultural Areas

0
2. Subpart C is amended by adding Sec.  9.181 to read as follows:


Sec.  9.181  McMinnville.

    (a) Name. The name of the viticultural area described in this 
section is ``McMinnville.''
    (b) Approved Maps. The appropriate maps for determining the 
boundaries of the McMinnville viticultural area are five United States 
Geological Survey (USGS) 1:24,000 scale topographic maps titled:
    (1) McMinnville, Oregon, 1957, revised 1992;
    (2) Muddy Valley, Oregon, 1979, revised 1992;
    (3) Stony Mountain, Oregon, 1979, revised 1992;
    (4) Sheridan, Oregon, 1956, revised 1992; and
    (5) Ballston, Oregon, 1956, revised 1992.
    (c) Boundary. The McMinnville viticultural area is located in 
Yamhill County, Oregon, and is entirely within the Willamette Valley 
viticultural area. The boundary of the McMinnville viticultural area is 
as described below--
    (1) The beginning point is on the McMinnville, Oregon, map where 
the 200-foot contour line intersects the common boundary between 
section 13, T4S, R5W, and section 18, T4S, R4W. From this point follow 
the meandering 200-foot contour line westerly for about 2 miles to its 
intersection with Baker Creek Road in section 54, T4W, R5W, on the 
Muddy Valley map;
    (2) Then follow Baker Creek Road west about 2 miles through Happy 
Valley to the road's intersection with Power House Hill Road in section 
50, T4S, R5W (Muddy Valley map);
    (3) Proceed southwest on Power House Hill Road for about 1.4 miles 
to its intersection with Peavine Road in section 17, T4S, R5W (Muddy 
Valley map);
    (4) Follow Peavine Road west and then northwest about 1.5 miles to 
its intersection with Gill Creek in section 18, T4S, R5W (Muddy Valley 
map);
    (5) Follow Gill Creek southerly (downstream) for about 0.6 miles to 
its intersection with the 800-foot contour line in section 18, T4S, 
R5W, on the Muddy Valley map;
    (6) From Gill Creek, follow the meandering 800-foot contour line 
westerly, crossing Deer Creek in section 14, T4S, R6W, on the Stony 
Mountain map, and, crossing back and forth four times between the Stony 
Mountain and Muddy Valley maps in section 24, T4S, R6W, continue 
southwesterly to the contour line's intersection with Thomson Mill Road 
in section 27, T4S, R6W, on the Stony Mountain map;
    (7) Continue to follow the meandering 800-foot contour line 
southwesterly, crossing Cronin and Beaver Creeks, to the 800-foot 
contour line's intersection with Rock Creek Road in section 46, T5S, 
R6W, on the Stony Mountain map;
    (8) Then follow Rock Creek Road south for about 5 miles to its 
intersection with the West Valley Highway in section 44, T5S, R6W, on 
the Sheridan map, and continue about

[[Page 2805]]

200 feet due south in a straight line to from that intersection to the 
200-foot contour line, just north of the Yamhill River (Sheridan map);
    (9) Then follow the meandering 200-foot contour line easterly, 
passing north of most of the village of Sheridan, crossing onto the 
Ballston map, and continue easterly and then northerly along the 200-
foot contour line to its first intersection with Christensen Road at 
the common boundary between sections 27 and 34, T5S, R5W (Ballston 
map);
    (10) Continue to follow the 200-foot contour line westerly and then 
northerly, passing onto the Muddy Valley map and then the Stony 
Mountain map, to the contour line's intersection with Deer Creek in 
section 64, T5S, R6W (Stony Mountain map);
    (11) Cross Deer Creek and follow the 200-foot contour line 
southeasterly, crossing Dupree Creek in section 64, T5S, R6W, on the 
Muddy Valley map, and, crossing onto the Ballston map, continue 
southerly and then easterly along the 200-foot contour line to its 
intersection with State Route 18 at the hamlet of Bellevue, section 28, 
T5S, R5W (Ballston map);
    (12) Continue westerly then northerly along the meandering 200-foot 
contour line, crossing Latham Road at the northern boundary of section 
53, T5S, R5W, and, crossing onto the Muddy Valley map, continue 
northerly along the 200-foot contour line to its intersection with 
Muddy Creek in section 40, T5S, R5W (Muddy Valley map);
    (13) Crossing Muddy Creek, follow the 200-foot contour line 
southerly, then easterly, and then northerly to its intersection with 
Peavine Road in the western extension of section 47, T4S, R5W (Muddy 
Valley map);
    (14) From Peavine Road, continue northeasterly along the meandering 
200-foot contour line, crossing Cozine Creek in section 46, T4S, R5W, 
and, crossing onto the McMinnville map, follow the 200-foot contour 
line across Redmond Hill Road in section 44, T4S, R5W, and return to 
the point of beginning (McMinnville map)

    Signed: November 22, 2004.
Arthur J. Libertucci,
Administrator.

    Approved: December 9, 2004.
Timothy E. Skud,
Deputy Assistant Secretary (Tax, Trade, and Tariff Policy).
[FR Doc. 05-912 Filed 1-14-05; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4810-31-P