[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 89 (Tuesday, May 8, 2012)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 27001-27007]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-11069]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY

Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau

27 CFR Part 9

[Docket No. TTB-2012-0003; Notice No. 128]
RIN 1513-AB85


Proposed Establishment of the Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley 
Viticultural Area

AGENCY: Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, Treasury.

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking.

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SUMMARY: The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) proposes to 
establish the 162,762-acre ``Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley'' 
viticultural area in Douglas, Grant, and Kittitas Counties in central 
Washington. The proposed viticultural area lies within the larger 
Columbia Valley viticultural area. TTB designates viticultural areas to 
allow vintners to better describe the origin of their wines and to 
allow consumers to better identify wines they may purchase. TTB invites 
comments on this proposed addition to its regulations.

DATES: We must receive your comments on or before July 9, 2012.

ADDRESSES: Please send your comments on this notice to one of the 
following addresses:
     Internet: http://www.regulations.gov (via the online 
comment form for this notice as posted within Docket No. TTB-2012-0003 
at ``Regulations.gov,'' the Federal e-rulemaking portal);
     U.S. Mail: Director, Regulations and Rulings Division, 
Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, P.O. Box 14412, Washington, 
DC 20044-4412; or
     Hand delivery/courier in lieu of mail: Alcohol and Tobacco 
Tax and Trade Bureau, 1310 G Street NW., Suite 200E, Washington, DC 
20005.
    See the Public Participation section of this notice for specific 
instructions and requirements for submitting comments, and for 
information on how to request a public hearing.
    You may view copies of this notice, selected supporting materials, 
and any comments that TTB receives about this proposal at http://www.regulations.gov within Docket No. TTB-2012-0003. A link to that 
docket is posted on the TTB Web site at http://www.ttb.gov/wine/wine_rulemaking.shtml under Notice No. 128. You also may view copies of this 
notice, all related petitions, maps, or other supporting materials, and 
any comments that TTB receives about this proposal by appointment at 
the TTB Information Resource Center, 1310 G Street NW., Washington, DC 
20005. Please call 202-453-2270 to make an appointment.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Karen A. Thornton, Regulations and 
Rulings Division, Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, 1310 G St. 
NW., Box 12, Washington, DC 20005; phone 202-453-1039, ext. 175.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background on Viticultural Areas

TTB Authority

    Section 105(e) of the Federal Alcohol Administration Act (FAA Act), 
27 U.S.C. 205(e), authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury to prescribe 
regulations for the labeling of wine, distilled spirits, and malt 
beverages. The FAA Act provides that these regulations should, among 
other things, prohibit consumer deception and the use of misleading 
statements on labels, and ensure that labels provide the consumer with 
adequate information as to the identity and quality of the product. The 
Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) administers the FAA Act 
pursuant to section 1111(d) of the Homeland Security Act of 2002, 
codified at 6 U.S.C. 531(d). The Secretary has delegated various 
authorities through Treasury Department Order 120-01 (Revised), dated 
January 21, 2003, to the TTB Administrator to perform the functions and 
duties in the administration and enforcement of this law.
    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) sets 
forth standards for the preparation and submission of petitions for the 
establishment or modification of American viticultural areas and lists 
the approved American 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 having distinguishing features as described in part 9 of 
the regulations and a name and a delineated boundary as established 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 9.12 of the TTB regulations (27 CFR 
9.12) prescribes standards for petitions for the establishment or 
modification of American viticultural areas. Such petitions must 
include the following:
     Evidence that the area within the proposed viticultural 
area boundary is nationally or locally known by the viticultural area 
name specified in the petition;
     An explanation of the basis for defining the boundary of 
the proposed viticultural area;
     A narrative description of the features of the proposed 
viticultural area that affect viticulture, such as climate, geology, 
soils, physical features, and elevation, that make the proposed 
viticultural area distinctive and distinguish it from adjacent areas 
outside the proposed viticultural area boundary;
     A copy of the appropriate United States Geological Survey 
(USGS) map(s) showing the location of the proposed viticultural area, 
with the boundary of

[[Page 27002]]

the proposed viticultural area clearly drawn thereon; and
     A detailed narrative description of the proposed 
viticultural area boundary based on USGS map markings.

Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley Petition

    TTB received a petition from Joan R. Davenport, a professor of soil 
sciences at Washington State University, and Cameron Fries of White 
Heron Cellars, on behalf of the vintners and grape growers in the 
Ancient Lakes region of central Washington, proposing the establishment 
of the ``Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley'' viticultural area. The 
proposed viticultural area contains 162,762 acres, 1,399 acres of which 
are dedicated to commercially-producing vineyards. The petition states 
that there are six wineries and six commercially-producing vineyards 
located within the proposed viticultural area. The petition also 
includes a map showing that the vineyards and wineries are dispersed 
throughout the proposed viticultural area. According to the petition, 
the distinguishing features of the proposed viticultural area include 
its topography, soils, climate, and geology. Unless otherwise noted, 
all information and data contained in the below sections concerning the 
name, boundary, and distinguishing features of the proposed 
viticultural area are from the petition for the proposed Ancient Lakes 
of Columbia Valley viticultural area and its supporting exhibits.
    TTB notes that the proposed Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley 
viticultural area lies completely within the existing Columbia Valley 
viticultural area (27 CFR 9.74). The proposed viticultural area does 
not overlap with any other existing or proposed viticultural area.

Name Evidence

    The USGS Babcock Ridge map shows the ``Ancient Lake'' place name 
marking a cluster of three lakes located in the western half of the 
proposed Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley viticultural area. According 
to the USGS Geographic Names Information System (GNIS), the ``Ancient 
Lake'' geographical name is also used for two other areas in Oregon. 
Given the multiple locations with the same name, TTB requested that the 
petitioners provide a geographical modifier to the ``Ancient Lakes'' 
name originally proposed by the petitioners. In response to TTB's 
request, the petitioners changed the proposed viticultural area name to 
``Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley'' to clarify the location of the 
proposed viticultural area and avoid any potential confusion with any 
other locations referred to as ``Ancient Lakes.'' Additionally, TTB 
notes that GNIS shows no other area located within the Columbia Valley 
region, including within the existing Columbia Valley viticultural 
area, that is designated as ``Ancient Lake'' or ``Ancient Lakes.''
    ``Ancient Lakes'' is a name commonly used by local residents and 
businesses for the general region near the cluster of three lakes 
appearing on the Babcock Ridge map. The petitioners submitted a 
newspaper article, area maps, and printed documentation of online news 
articles that demonstrate such usage. The newspaper article concerned a 
geological tour of the Quincy Valley and listed one of the tour stops 
as the ``incised coulees of the Ancient Lakes area'' (``Geological 
touring,'' Quincy Valley Post-Register, September 10, 2005). An online 
news article on desert recreation in Washington State from the Web site 
of The Oregonian newspaper is titled ``Ancient Lakes provide water for 
wildlife in Washington's sagebrush desert'' (OregonLive.com, March 31, 
2010). The Wenatchee Area Wine Trail Map denotes an area surrounding 
several wineries as the ``Ancient Lakes Area.'' Also, a vacation guide 
map of Grant County, Washington, designates a cluster of three lakes 
within the proposed viticultural area as ``Ancient Lakes.''
    The petition also includes a series of letters submitted by county 
and State government officials, a Member of Congress, and businesses 
within the general region of the proposed viticultural area, and area 
winemakers that support both the establishment of the proposed 
viticultural area and the use of the Ancient Lakes name.

Boundary Evidence

    The proposed Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley viticultural area is 
located within a bowl-shaped formation known as the Quincy Basin, which 
lies within the larger Columbia Valley region of central Washington. 
Most of the proposed viticultural area is within Grant County, with 
small parts in Douglas and Kittitas Counties. The proposed Ancient 
Lakes of Columbia Valley viticultural area is 12 miles from east-to-
west and 22 miles from north-to-south, according to USGS maps. The 
Columbia River forms the western portion of the proposed boundary line. 
The Babcock Bench and Babcock Ridge formations, which run north and 
south along the eastern side of the river within the proposed 
viticultural area, rise sharply before descending to the lower slopes 
of the basin floor. The Potholes Coulee, a distinctive feature within 
the proposed viticultural area, juts from the Babcock Bench into the 
floor of the Quincy Basin. The coulee consists of two parallel, steep-
sided canyons running west to east, perpendicular to the Babcock Bench. 
When viewed from above, the coulee has a horseshoe shape, with the 
Babcock Bench forming the bottom of the horseshoe. The coulee is dotted 
with lakes, including the cluster of three lakes identified as Ancient 
Lake on the USGS Babcock Ridge map.
    Two east-to-west mountain ranges, Beezley Hills and Frenchman 
Hills, define the respective northern and southern edges of the Quincy 
Basin. These ranges also form the north and south portions of the 
boundary line of the proposed Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley 
viticultural area.
    The USGS maps show that the eastern portion of the proposed 
boundary line closely follows the north-to-south Frenchman Hills 
Wasteway. TTB notes that the wasteway is a manmade irrigation canal. 
The proposed eastern boundary line is in the region where the Beezley 
Hills begin to curve to the north and the Frenchman Hills begin to 
curve to the south, pulling away from their basin-forming shape and 
marking the eastern edge of the Quincy Basin.
    The western portion of the proposed boundary line follows the 
western shoreline of the Columbia River in Kittitas County. The 
mountainous landscape to the west of the Columbia River (outside of the 
proposed viticultural area) marks the western edge of the Quincy Basin. 
Much of the land to the west of the Columbia River outside of the 
proposed viticultural area is designated as a wildlife refuge by the 
Washington State Department of Game and Wildlife, and, according to the 
petitioners, is unlikely to be available for agricultural purposes.

Distinguishing Features

    The distinguishing features of the proposed Ancient Lakes of 
Columbia Valley viticultural area are topography, soils, and climate.
Topography
    The proposed viticultural area is located within a distinctive 
landform locally referred to as the Quincy Basin. The basin has 
elevations lower than the surrounding area and slopes gently to the 
east. As previously noted the foothills of the Beezley Mountains and 
the Frenchman Hills form the northern and southern portions of the 
proposed boundary. The foothills of the Beezley Hills within the 
proposed viticultural area start at around 1,300 feet near the town of 
Quincy and rise to around 1,600 feet at the northern portion of the 
proposed boundary line. In the foothills

[[Page 27003]]

of the Frenchman Hills, the elevations begin around at 1,200 feet 
within the proposed viticultural area and rise to 1,912 feet at the 
peak marked Columbia on the USGS Vantage map, near the southern portion 
of the proposed boundary line.
    The floor of the basin comprises most of the proposed viticultural 
area and is much flatter than most of the surrounding region. The 
Babcock Bench, Babcock Ridge, and the Potholes Coulee provide the only 
significant elevation changes and slope gradients within the basin. The 
Babcock Bench begins as a narrow band of nearly flat land within the 
proposed viticultural area, with an elevation of 570 feet at the edge 
of the river, and quickly rises to the east to form a steep and rugged 
terrain. At about the 1,100-foot elevation, the slopes of the Babcock 
Bench become even steeper and higher, forming the Babcock Ridge, with 
elevations up to 1,586 feet. A map submitted with the petition shows 
slope gradients of 54 to 63 percent on the Babcock Ridge. The eastern 
slopes of Babcock Ridge are less steep than the western slopes, with 
slope gradients of approximately 27 percent, and descend to the lower 
elevations of the Quincy Basin floor. The highest elevation on the 
Potholes Coulee is a 1,328-foot peak on the rim. The three lakes 
identified as Ancient Lake on the USGS map have an elevation of 821 
feet at water level, which is one of the lowest elevations in the 
coulee. The floor of the Quincy Basin has a nearly flat topography and 
slopes downward gently and gradually towards the east from the Potholes 
Coulee and Babcock Ridge, with a sloping gradient of less than 4 
percent.
    To the north of the proposed viticultural area, the slope gradient 
is much steeper and the elevations are much higher. The Beezley Hills 
rise from the foothills to an elevation of 2,882 feet at Monument Hill. 
Slope gradients in the hills range from 27 to 54 percent, much steeper 
than the floor of the Quincy Basin within the proposed viticultural 
area.
    To the east of the proposed viticultural area, the topography is 
nearly flat, similar to the floor of the Quincy Basin within the 
proposed viticultural area. However, the slight elevations of the 
region to the east of the proposed viticultural area have mostly 
western-facing slopes, in contrast to the mostly eastern-facing slopes 
of the basin floor within the proposed viticultural area. The terrain 
east of the proposed viticultural area also develops an upward slope 
with a gradient of approximately 11 percent. The change in slope and 
the increase in gradient mark the eastern edge of the Quincy Basin.
    To the south of the proposed viticultural area are the Frenchman 
Hills, which form the southern edge of the Quincy Basin. Outside of the 
proposed viticultural area, the elevations of the Frenchman Hills begin 
to descend from a height of around 1,740 feet, transitioning into the 
feature known as the Royal Slope. The Royal Slope descends to 
approximately 1,000 feet and has slope gradients ranging from 4 to 11 
percent.
    To the west of the Babcock Bench and Columbia River, beyond the 
boundary of the proposed viticultural area, the terrain is rugged and 
steep, with slope gradients of between 27 to 54 percent. Elevations in 
this region start at 580 feet along the banks of the Columbia River and 
quickly rise to 2,765 feet at a peak on the West Bar map.
Soils
    The proposed Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley viticultural area 
contains 65 soil types (United States Department of Agriculture-Natural 
Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NCRS), http://datagateway.nrcs.usda.gov), with the most common 17 soils within the 
proposed viticultural area covering 88 percent of the land surface. The 
Ancient Lakes region soils are classified as Aridisols, which were 
formed in arid conditions and have a low presence of organic matter. 
Soils with low levels of organic matter are important in viticulture 
because they release less nitrogen, resulting in less vigorous vine 
growth and a more favorable fruit-to-canopy ratio.
    The petition includes two tables that describe the soil composition 
of the proposed Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley viticultural area and 
the areas due north, east, south, and west. The first table lists the 
seven most common soil series in the proposed viticultural area and the 
percentage (and rank) of the series in areas due north, east, south, 
and west. The second table lists the top five soil series in the areas 
surrounding the proposed viticultural area. The tables show significant 
contrasts in soils within and outside of the proposed Ancient Lakes of 
Columbia Valley viticultural area.

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                                     Proposed
              Soil                 viticultural        North           East            South           West
                                       area
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Quincy fine sand................       18.49 (1)       0.71 (40)        36.5 (1)        7.41 (5)               0
Warden very fine sandy loam.....       11.65 (2)       0.07 (92)       0.11 (20)       0.42 (26)               0
Taunton silt loam and loamy fine        9.91 (3)               0        7.75 (4)        9.76 (3)               0
 sand...........................
Scoon silt loam.................        8.92 (4)               0       1.76 (11)        7.55 (4)               0
Shano silt loam.................        6.63 (5)               0               0        3.69 (9)               0
Sagehill very fine sandy loam...        5.36 (6)               0       0.06 (22)       0.42 (25)               0
Adkins very fine sandy loam.....        3.36 (7)               0               0        4.76 (7)               0
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      Rank                North                    East                    South                   West
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1..............  Toler ashy fine sandy    Quincy fine sand......  Pits..................  Shin very cobbly ashy
                  loam.                                                                    loam.
2..............  Esquatzel silt loam....  Malaga gravelly sandy   Taunton silt loam and   Argaback very cobbly
                                           loam.                   loamy fine sand.        loam.
3..............  Ritzville silt loam....  Timmerman coarse sandy  Scoon silt loam.......  Jumpe stony ashy loam.
                                           loam.
4..............  Argaback very cobbly     Taunton loamy fine      Quincy fine sand......  Tekison stony loam.
                  loam.                    sand.
5..............  Bagdad silt loam.......  Prosser very fine       Adkins very fine sandy  Malaga stony sandy
                                           sandy loam.             loam.                   loam.
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    To the north of the proposed Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley 
viticultural area, the five most common northern soils are all 
Mollisols, which have high levels of organic matter that can contribute 
to more vigorous vine growth than the Aridisoils of the proposed 
viticultural area. The most common northern soil series shows influence

[[Page 27004]]

from volcanic activity. Volcanic soils tend to have water repellant 
characteristics and provide irrigation challenges.
    To the east, Quincy fine sand and Taunton loamy fine sand are two 
of the five most common soils, similar to the proposed Ancient Lakes of 
Columbia Valley viticultural area. However, there are fewer soil types 
to the east than within the proposed viticultural area, and a higher 
percentage of the soils to the east are sandy soils. Soils high in sand 
have lower water holding capacities than less sandy soils.
    To the south, all of the seven most common soils in the Ancient 
Lakes region are present; however, these soils account for only 24.72 
percent of the soil composition. Schawana complex soils, which are not 
present within the proposed viticultural area, are the most dominant in 
the area to the south of the proposed viticultural area, comprising 
15.43 percent of the soils. Schawana complex soils are described as 
very weakly developed soils with very shallow depths that are not 
particularly well suited for viticulture.
    The region to the west contains none of the seven most common soils 
found within the proposed viticultural area. Two of the most common 
soils to the west are of volcanic origin, as indicated by the presence 
of ash. These soils, like the volcanic soils to the north of the 
proposed viticultural area, have low water holding capacities. The most 
common soils to the west also contain large quantities of stones and 
cobbles, which also have low water holding capacity.
Climate
    The petition provides climatic data for the proposed Ancient Lakes 
of Columbia Valley viticultural area and the surrounding areas, 
including annual precipitation averages in inches, growing degree day 
(GDD) units,\1\ and the number of consecutive days during which GDD 
accumulation was not interrupted by a day when the temperature did not 
exceed 50 degrees Fahrenheit (F). A base temperature of 50 degrees F is 
used because that is the base temperature used for calculating growing 
degree days. TTB notes that a continuous span of GDD unit accumulation 
contributes to consistent grape growth and achieving maturity before 
the onset of freezing temperatures.
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    \1\ In the Winkler climatic classification system, annual heat 
accumulation during the growing season, measured in annual GDD, 
defines climatic regions. One GDD accumulates for each degree 
Fahrenheit that a day's mean temperature is above 50 degrees, the 
minimum temperature required for grapevine growth (``General 
Viticulture,'' by Albert J. Winkler, University of California Press, 
1974, pages 61-64.)
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    The table below was derived from the data contained in the 
petition. The petition uses long-term weather station data from the 
Quincy (within the proposed viticultural area), Wenatchee (to the 
north), and Moses Lake (to the east) sites; 2009-10 data from the Royal 
City West (to the south) site; \2\ and 2007-2010 data from the 
Wenatchee Heights (to the west) site \3\ (the Washington Agricultural 
Weather Network Version 2.0, WSU Prosser, www.weather.wsu.edu).
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    \2\ According to the petitioner, the Royal City West weather 
station went online in December 2008. The data included in the 
tables is for the only two complete years available from that 
station.
    \3\ According to the petitioner, the Wenatchee Heights weather 
station data is only available from 2006. The data included in the 
tables is for the only four complete years available from that 
station.

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                                     Proposed
            Location               viticultural        North           East            South           West
                                       area
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Precipitation in inches.........            6.49              10               7            7.03            8.18
GDD units.......................           2,570           2,640           2,551           2,784           2,169
Number of continuous GDD days...             182             186             175             153             152
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    The data in the table above show that the climate within the 
proposed Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley viticultural area is 
distinguishable from the climate in surrounding areas. The area to the 
north of the proposed viticultural area has more precipitation, more 
GDD units, and more continuous GDD unit days. The area to the east is 
cooler, as shown by fewer GDD units and a shorter period of GDD unit 
days. The area to the south has a greater fluctuation in growing season 
temperatures than the proposed viticultural area; although daytime 
temperatures climb high enough above 50 degrees F to achieve a high 
total number of GDD units, temperatures also drop below 50 degrees F 
frequently enough to result in a shorter number of continuous GDD unit 
days. The area to the west receives more precipitation than the 
proposed viticultural area and is cooler, with fewer GDD units and a 
shorter period of continuous GDD unit days.

Comparison of the Proposed Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley to the 
Existing Columbia Valley Viticultural Area

    The proposed Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley viticultural area 
lies entirely within, and is approximately 0.01 percent the size of, 
the Columbia Valley viticultural area. The 11.6 million acre Columbia 
Valley viticultural area was established by T.D. ATF-190, which 
published in the Federal Register (49 FR 44895) on November 13, 1984. 
T.D. ATF-190 describes the Columbia Valley as a large, treeless basin 
surrounding the Yakima, Snake, and Columbia Rivers in portions of 
Washington and Oregon. The topography of the Columbia Valley 
viticultural area was described as a rolling terrain, cut by rivers and 
broken by long, sloping, basaltic, east-west uplifts. In addition, T.D. 
ATF-190 states that the Columbia Valley viticultural area is dominated 
by major rivers and has a long, dry growing season characterized by an 
average growing season of 150 days or more; 2,000 GDD units or more; 
and 15 inches of rainfall or less annually.
    The information submitted in the petition shows that the smaller 
proposed Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley viticultural area generally 
has a climate that fits within the climate range of the larger Columbia 
Valley viticultural area as described in T.D. ATF-190, with low annual 
precipitation, a growing season of 180 days, and 2,570 GDD units. 
However, TTB notes that the relatively uniform distinguishing features 
of the smaller proposed Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley viticultural 
area contrast to the more varied topography, soils, and climate of the 
expansive Columbia Valley viticultural area.
    Like the Columbia Valley viticultural area, the proposed Ancient 
Lakes of Columbia Valley viticultural area is also a basin, ringed by 
the steep slopes of the Beezley Hills, the Babcock Bench, and the 
Frenchman Hills. However, the Columbia Valley viticultural area is 
marked by three major rivers, whereas

[[Page 27005]]

the water features of the proposed Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley 
viticultural area include many small lakes and two manmade irrigation 
canals; the only major river in the proposed Ancient Lakes of Columbia 
Valley viticultural area is the Columbia River, which forms the western 
portion of the proposed boundary line. Additionally, the soil 
information provided in the petition for the proposed Ancient Lakes of 
Columbia Valley viticultural area shows that although the soil types 
found within the proposed boundary are present to some extent in the 
surrounding areas, they do not occur with the same frequency as within 
the proposed viticultural area.

TTB Determination

    TTB concludes that the petition to establish the 162,762-acre 
Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley viticultural area merits consideration 
and public comment, as invited in this notice.

Boundary Description

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

Maps

    The petitioner provided the required maps, and TTB lists them below 
in the proposed regulatory text.

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. If TTB establishes this proposed viticultural area, 
its name, ``Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley,'' will be recognized as a 
name of viticultural significance under 27 CFR 4.39(i)(3). The text of 
the proposed regulation clarifies this point. Consequently, wine 
bottlers using ``Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley'' in a brand name, 
including a trademark, or in another label reference as to the origin 
of the wine, will have to ensure that the product is eligible to use 
the viticultural area's name as an appellation of origin.
    On the other hand, TTB does not believe that any single part of the 
proposed viticultural area name standing alone, that is, ``Ancient 
Lakes'' or ``Columbia Valley,'' would have viticultural significance in 
relation to this proposed viticultural area because: (1) According to 
Geographic Names Information Service, the ``Ancient Lakes'' area name 
refers to locations in Oregon as well as Washington, so TTB believes 
that a determination of ``Ancient Lakes'' as a term of viticultural 
significance could lead to consumer and industry confusion and should 
be avoided; and (2) ``Columbia Valley,'' standing alone, is locally and 
nationally known as referring to the established Columbia Valley 
viticultural area (27 CFR 9.74), which is already a term of 
viticultural significance under 27 CFR 4.39(i)(3), which states that 
``[a] name has viticultural significance * * * when approved as a 
viticultural area * * *.'' Therefore, the proposed part 9 regulatory 
text set forth in this document specifies only ``Ancient Lakes of 
Columbia Valley'' as a term of viticultural significance for purposes 
of part 4 of the TTB regulations.
    For a wine to be eligible to use a viticultural area name as an 
appellation of origin or a term of viticultural significance in a brand 
name, at least 85 percent of the wine must be derived from grapes grown 
within the area represented by that name or term, 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 or other term of viticultural significance 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 or other term of viticultural 
significance 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 or other term of viticultural significance that 
was used as a brand name on a label approved before July 7, 1986. See 
27 CFR 4.39(i)(2) for details.

Public Participation

Comments Invited

    TTB invites comments from interested members of the public on 
whether it should establish the proposed viticultural area. TTB is also 
interested in receiving comments on the sufficiency and accuracy of the 
name, boundary, topography, soils, climate, and other required 
information submitted in support of the petition. In addition, given 
the proposed Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley viticultural area's 
location within the existing Columbia Valley viticultural area, TTB is 
interested in comments on whether the evidence submitted in the 
petition regarding the distinguishing features of the proposed 
viticultural area sufficiently differentiates it from the existing 
Columbia Valley viticultural area. TTB is also interested in comments 
whether the geographic features of the proposed viticultural area are 
so distinguishable from the surrounding Columbia Valley viticultural 
area that the proposed Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley viticultural 
area should no longer be part of that viticultural area. Please provide 
any available specific information in support of your comments.
    Because of the potential impact of the establishment of the 
proposed Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley viticultural area on wine 
labels that include the term ``Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley'' as 
discussed above under Impact on Current Wine Labels, TTB is 
particularly interested in comments regarding whether there will be a 
conflict between the proposed area name and currently used brand names. 
If a commenter believes that a conflict will arise, the comment should 
describe the nature of that conflict, including any anticipated 
negative economic impact that approval of the proposed viticultural 
area will have on an existing viticultural enterprise. TTB is also 
interested in receiving suggestions for ways to avoid conflicts, for 
example, by adopting a modified or different name for the viticultural 
area.

Submitting Comments

    You may submit comments on this notice by using one of the 
following three methods:
     Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: You may send comments via the 
online comment form posted with this notice within Docket No. TTB-2012-
0003 on ``Regulations.gov,'' the Federal e-rulemaking portal, at http://www.regulations.gov. A direct link to that docket is available under 
Notice No. 128 on the TTB Web site at http://www.ttb.gov/wine/wine_rulemaking.shtml. Supplemental files may be attached to comments 
submitted via Regulations.gov. For complete instructions on how to use 
Regulations.gov, visit the site and click on the ``Help'' tab at the 
top of the page.
     U.S. Mail: You may send comments via postal mail to the 
Director, Regulations and Rulings Division, Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and 
Trade Bureau, P.O. Box 14412, Washington, DC 20044-4412.
     Hand Delivery/Courier: You may hand-carry your comments or 
have them hand-carried to the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, 
1310 G Street NW., Suite 200E, Washington, DC 20005.
    Please submit your comments by the closing date shown above in this 
notice. Your comments must reference Notice

[[Page 27006]]

No. 128 and include your name and mailing address. Your comments also 
must be made in English, be legible, and be written in language 
acceptable for public disclosure. TTB does not acknowledge receipt of 
comments, and TTB considers all comments as originals.
    If you are commenting on behalf of an association, business, or 
other entity, your comment must include the entity's name as well as 
your name and position title. If you comment via Regulations.gov, 
please enter the entity's name in the ``Organization'' blank of the 
online comment form. If you comment via postal mail or hand delivery/
courier, please submit your entity's comment on letterhead.
    You may also write to the Administrator before the comment closing 
date to ask for a public hearing. The Administrator reserves the right 
to determine whether to hold a public hearing.

Confidentiality

    All submitted comments and attachments are part of the public 
record and subject to disclosure. Do not enclose any material in your 
comments that you consider to be confidential or inappropriate for 
public disclosure.

Public Disclosure

    On the Federal e-rulemaking portal, Regulations.gov, TTB will post, 
and you may view, copies of this notice, selected supporting materials, 
and any electronic or mailed comments TTB receives about this proposal. 
A direct link to that docket is available on the TTB Web site at http://www.ttb.gov/wine/wine_rulemaking.shtml under Notice No. 128. You may 
also reach the docket containing this notice and the posted comments 
received on it through the Regulations.gov search page at http://www.regulations.gov.
    All posted comments will display the commenter's name, organization 
(if any), city, and State, and, in the case of mailed comments, all 
address information, including email addresses. TTB may omit voluminous 
attachments or material that the Bureau considers unsuitable for 
posting.
    You may also view copies of this notice, all related petitions, 
maps and other supporting materials, and any electronic or mailed 
comments that TTB receives about this proposal by appointment at the 
TTB Information Resource Center, 1310 G Street NW., Washington, DC 
20005. You may also obtain copies at 20 cents per 8.5 x 
11 page. Contact TTB's information specialist at the above 
address or by telephone at 202-453-2270 to schedule an appointment or 
to request copies of comments or other materials.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    TTB certifies that this proposed regulation, if adopted, would not 
have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities. The proposed regulation imposes no new reporting, 
recordkeeping, or other administrative requirement. Any benefit derived 
from the use of a viticultural area name would be 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 proposed rule is not a significant regulatory action as 
defined by Executive Order 12866. Therefore, no regulatory assessment 
is required.

Drafting Information

    Karen A. Thornton of the Regulations and Rulings Division drafted 
this notice.

List of Subjects in 27 CFR Part 9

    Wine.

Proposed Regulatory Amendment

    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, TTB proposes to amend 
title 27, chapter I, part 9, Code of Federal Regulations, as follows:

PART 9--AMERICAN VITICULTURAL AREAS

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

    Authority:  27 U.S.C. 205.

Subpart C--Approved American Viticultural Areas

    2. Subpart C is amended by adding Sec.  9.---- to read as follows:


Sec.  9.----  Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley.

    (a) Name. The name of the viticultural area described in this 
section is ``Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley''. For purposes of part 4 
of this chapter, ``Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley'' is a term of 
viticultural significance.
    (b) Approved maps. The 12 United States Geological Survey (USGS) 
1:24,000 scale topographic maps used to determine the boundary of the 
Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley viticultural area are titled:
    (1) West Bar, Washington, 1966;
    (2) Rock Island Dam, Washington, 1966;
    (3) Appledale, Washington, 1966, photoinspected 1976;
    (4) Monument Hill, Washington--Grant County, 1966;
    (5) Ephrata SW, Washington--Grant County, 1956;
    (6) Winchester, Washington--Grant County, 1966;
    (7) Winchester SW, Washington--Grant County, 1966, photorevised 
1978;
    (8) Royal City, Washington--Grant County, provisional edition 1986 
(formerly named Smyrna);
    (9) Beverly NE, Washington--Grant County, 1965;
    (10) Vantage, Washington, 1965, photorevised 1978;
    (11) Ginkgo, Washington, 1953, photorevised 1978; and
    (12) Cape Horn SE, Washington, 1966, photoinspected 1975.
    (c) Boundary. The Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley viticultural 
area is located in Douglas, Grant, and Kittitas Counties in central 
Washington. The boundary of the Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley 
viticultural area is as described below:
    (1) The beginning point is on the West Bar map where the western 
shoreline of the Columbia River in Kittitas County intersects with the 
north boundary line of section 8, T20N/R22E. Proceed east along the 
section boundaries for approximately 4.35 miles, over the Columbia 
River and into Douglas County, to the intersection of the line with the 
Grant and Douglas Counties common boundary line (concurrent with the 
R22E and R23E common line) at the northwest corner of section 12, T20N/
R22E; then
    (2) Proceed north along the Grant and Douglas Counties common 
boundary line for approximately 2.25 miles, onto the Rock Island Dam 
map, to the northwest corner of section 31, T21N/R23E; then
    (3) Proceed east in a straight line along the section boundaries 
for approximately 12.1 miles, over the Appledale and Monument Hills 
maps, onto the Ephrata SW map to the intersection of the line with the 
R24E and R25E common line at the northwest corner of section 36, T21N/
R24E; then
    (4) Proceed south along the R24E and R25E common line for 
approximately 22.5 miles, over the Winchester and Winchester SW maps, 
onto the Royal City map, passing over the West Canal and into the 
Frenchman Hills, to the southwest corner of section 12, T17N/R24E 
(concurrent with the intersection of the R24E and R25E common line and 
a single transmission line); then
    (5) Proceed west in a straight line along the section boundaries 
(marked for 3 sections by the single transmission line) for 
approximately 4 miles, onto the Beverly NE map, to the southwest corner 
of section 9, T17N/R24E; then

[[Page 27007]]

    (6) Proceed north in a straight line along the section boundary for 
approximately 1 mile to the northwest corner of section 9, T17N/R24E; 
then
    (7) Proceed west in a straight line along the section boundaries 
for approximately 7.9 miles, onto the Vantage map, crossing over 
Interstate Route 90 and Columbia River, to the western shoreline of the 
Columbia River, at Hole in the Wall in Kittitas County, section 6, 
T17N/R23E; and then
    (8) Proceed north along the western shoreline of the meandering 
Columbia River for approximately 23.3 miles, crossing over the Ginkgo 
and Cape Horn SE maps, onto the West Bar map, and returning to the 
beginning point.

    Signed: April 30, 2012.
John J. Manfreda,
Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2012-11069 Filed 5-7-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4810-31-P