[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 118 (Tuesday, June 19, 2012)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 36433-36439]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-14920]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY

Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau

27 CFR Part 9

[Docket No. TTB-2012-0005; Notice No. 130]
RIN 1513-AB88


Proposed Establishment of the Elkton Oregon 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 approximately 74,900-acre ``Elkton Oregon'' viticultural 
area in Douglas County, Oregon. The proposed viticultural area lies 
totally within the Umpqua Valley viticultural area and the multi-county 
Southern Oregon 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: Comments must be received on or before August 20, 2012.

ADDRESSES: Please send your comments on this notice to one of the 
following addresses:
     http://www.regulations.gov (via the online comment form 
for this notice as posted within Docket No. TTB-2012-0005 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 200-E, 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 TTB receives about this proposal at http://www.regulations.gov within Docket No. TTB-2012-0005. A link to that 
docket is posted on the TTB Web site at http://www.ttb.gov/wine/wine_rulemaking.shtml under Notice No. 130. You also may view copies of this 
notice, all related petitions, maps or other supporting materials, and 
any comments TTB receives about this proposal by appointment at the TTB 
Information Resource Center, 1310 G Street NW., Washington, DC 20220. 
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 
Street NW., Box 12, Washington, DC 20005; telephone 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) contains 
the list of 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 locally or nationally 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, 
soil, 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 the proposed viticultural area clearly drawn 
thereon; and
     A detailed narrative description of the proposed 
viticultural area boundary based on USGS map markings.

[[Page 36434]]

Elkton Oregon Petition

    TTB received a petition from Michael Landt, on behalf of himself 
and the owners of seven other Elkton area vineyards, proposing the 
establishment of the ``Elkton Oregon'' American viticultural area in 
Douglas County in southwestern Oregon. The proposed viticultural area 
encompasses approximately 74,900 acres, with 12 commercially-producing 
vineyards covering 96.5 acres, according to the petition. The petition 
also included a map indicating that the vineyards are disbursed 
throughout the proposed viticultural area.
    The proposed Elkton Oregon viticultural area is located entirely 
within the larger Umpqua Valley viticultural area (27 CFR 9.89), which, 
in turn, is located entirely within the Southern Oregon viticultural 
area (27 CFR 9.179). The proposed viticultural area covers 
approximately 11 percent of the 689,904-acre Umpqua Valley viticultural 
area and 0.04 percent of the much larger 1,977,298-acre Southern Oregon 
viticultural area. The proposed Elkton Oregon viticultural area lies to 
the northwest of, but does not share any boundary with, the Red Hills 
Douglas County viticultural area (27 CFR 9.190), which also is entirely 
within the Umpqua Valley viticultural area, and it is southwest of the 
Willamette Valley viticultural area (27 CFR 9.90). The petition states 
that the marine influence from the Pacific Ocean distinguishes the 
proposed viticultural area from the larger Umpqua Valley.
    TTB notes that the boundaries and name usage of the Umpqua Valley 
and Southern Oregon viticultural areas would not be affected by the 
establishment of the proposed Elkton Oregon viticultural area. TTB also 
notes that, except for its location within the existing Umpqua Valley 
and Southern Oregon viticultural areas, the proposed viticultural area 
does not overlap any other existing or proposed viticultural areas. 
Unless otherwise noted, all information and data contained in the below 
sections are from the petition for the proposed viticultural area and 
its supporting exhibits.

Name Evidence

    The proposed Elkton Oregon viticultural area surrounds the small, 
incorporated town of Elkton, Oregon, which is located at the confluence 
of Elk Creek and the Umpqua River in northern Douglas County. The town 
is shown on the USGS topographical ``Elkton Oregon'' quadrangle map, 
and it is listed as a populated place in the USGS's Geographical Names 
Information System (GNIS; http://geonames.usgs.gov/index.html). A 
search of GNIS shows the name ``Elkton'' used 11 times for places, 
sites, or buildings in Oregon, all of which are in Douglas County, with 
9 of those names appearing on the Elkton quadrangle map and the 
remaining 2 names appearing on maps of adjoining quadrangles.
    The town of Elkton also is shown on commercially-produced road 
maps. For example, the American Automobile Association (AAA) map, 
Oregon Washington State series, published February, 2008, shows the 
town of Elkton in western Oregon on State Route 38 between Interstate 5 
and the Pacific Ocean.
    The City of Elkton Web site (http://www.elkton-oregon.com) lists 
information about the city and its elected officials. The Elkton School 
District Web site (http://www.elkton.k12.or.us/) includes information 
on the Elkton Grade School and Elkton High School. Other places located 
within the proposed viticultural area include the Elkton Baptist 
Church, Elkton Christian Church, Elkton Lions Club, Elkton RV Park, 
Elkton Cash Market, and Elkton Bait and Tackle, according to the Elkton 
Business Directory Web page (http://www.elkton-oregon.com/businessdirectory).
    According to a search of the GNIS system, the Elkton name is also 
used for at least 123 towns and sites in 16 States. Given that the name 
``Elkton'' is used for various locations throughout the United States, 
the petitioners included ``Oregon'' as part of the proposed 
viticultural area name to more specifically describe the location of 
the proposed viticultural area.

Boundary Evidence

    The proposed Elkton Oregon viticultural area is nestled in the 
northwest portion of the Umpqua Valley viticultural area, which is, in 
turn, within the larger, multi-county Southern Oregon viticultural 
area. The northern portion of the boundary line and part of the western 
portion of the boundary line for the proposed Elkton Oregon 
viticultural area coincides with portions of the boundary line for the 
Umpqua Valley and Southern Oregon viticultural areas. The proposed 
viticultural area does not include the northwestern-most part of the 
Umpqua and Southern Oregon viticultural areas because of that area's 
more extreme marine influence, which is inconsistent with the 
distinguishing features of the proposed viticultural area.
    The northern portion of the boundary line for the proposed Elkton 
Oregon viticultural area follows the 1,000-foot elevation line that 
separates the higher, more rugged mountain terrain outside the proposed 
viticultural area from the lower elevations within the proposed 
viticultural area that descend to the Umpqua River.
    The proposed eastern portion of the boundary line incorporates 
1,000-foot elevation lines, several connecting straight lines between 
marked points on USGS maps, and a portion of Elk Creek to separate the 
lower elevated foothills and river bottom within the proposed 
viticultural area from the higher mountain elevations to the east.
    The proposed southern portion of the boundary line follows a 1,000-
foot elevation line and then a straight line to the southwest corner of 
the proposed viticultural area, separating the lower elevated wide 
terraces along the Umpqua River from the higher elevated rugged 
mountain terrain to the south.
    The proposed southwestern and western portions of the boundary line 
are connected straight lines between marked points on USGS maps that 
are based on the western extent of viticulture in the Elkton area, 
separating the proposed viticultural area from heavily timbered and 
remote areas to the west. The southwestern and western portions of the 
proposed Elkton Oregon viticultural area boundary line also coincide 
with the northwest portion of the boundary lines for both the Southern 
Oregon and Umpqua Valley viticultural areas.

Distinguishing Features

    The distinguishing features of the proposed Elkton Oregon 
viticultural area include climate and topography.
Climate
    The marine influence from the Pacific Ocean moderates temperatures 
and creates a unique micro-climate within the proposed Elkton Oregon 
viticultural area. The proximity to the Pacific Ocean, geographical 
location along the Umpqua River, and low elevation combine to influence 
the Elkton area growing season climate. The coastal marine influence 
brings cooling breezes, fog, and moist air inland from the Pacific 
coastline along the Umpqua River and into the proposed viticultural 
area, resulting in a milder and longer growing season with more 
rainfall than in the surrounding areas. The cooler temperatures make 
the proposed viticultural area suitable for growing cool climate 
varieties of grapes, such as pinot noir, that do not grow and mature as 
reliably in the warmer climates of the region farther to the south 
within the

[[Page 36435]]

Umpqua Valley and Southern Oregon viticultural areas.
    Climate data from within the proposed Elkton Oregon viticultural 
area and from areas to the east and south was obtained from the Western 
Regional Climate Center (WRCC) Web site, which collects data from 
various federal, state, and local agencies. All data is from the 1971-
2000 climate normals for each station and is summarized in the table 
below. The five weather stations from which the data was collected are 
located in Elkton and in Drain, Riddle, Roseburg, and Winchester, four 
communities within the larger Umpqua Valley and Southern Oregon 
viticultural areas.\1\
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    \1\ Due to the lack of weather stations in the areas to the west 
and north of the proposed Elkton Oregon viticultural area, data was 
not available for those areas.

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                                                                                                                       Average growing   Average annual
 Location  (direction from the proposed    Median date of last spring   Median date of first fall      Frost-free     degree day units    precipitation
           viticultural area)                        frost                        frost              period  (days)     (Winkler) \2\       (inches)
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Elkton..................................  April 2....................  November 9.................               220             2,346              52.5
Drain (East)............................  April 24...................  October 26.................               193             2,268              47.9
Riddle (South)..........................  April 22...................  October 31.................               191             2,436              31.6
Roseburg (South)........................  April 7....................  November 8.................               215             2,683              33.7
Winchester (South)......................  March 28...................  November 5.................               222             2,426              35.7
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    The table shows that the climates of the areas to the east and 
south differ from the climate within the Elkton Oregon proposed 
viticultural area. The community to the east of the proposed 
viticultural area (Drain) receives less precipitation and has cooler 
temperatures, as shown by the shorter frost-free period and fewer 
growing degree day (GDD) units. Drain also has a shorter growing season 
than the proposed viticultural area, as indicated by a later date of 
last spring frost and earlier date of first fall frost.
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    \2\ 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). Climatic region I has less than 2,500 GDD units 
per year; region II, 2,501 to 3,000; region III, 3,001 to 3,500; 
region IV, 3,501 to 4,000; and region V, 4,001 or more (ibid.).
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    The communities located in the region to the south of the proposed 
viticultural area (Riddle, Roseburg, and Winchester) are generally 
warmer and drier than the proposed viticultural area. The three 
communities all receive significantly less precipitation, with annual 
totals of between 31 and 35 inches. All three communities also have 
higher totals of GDD units, indicating a warmer climate than within the 
proposed viticultural area. The warmer temperatures allow grapes to 
ripen earlier and harvest to take place in September, whereas grapes 
within the cooler proposed viticultural area are frequently not ripe 
enough to harvest until October, according to the petitioner.
    The petitioner attributes the cooler climate of the proposed Elkton 
Oregon viticultural area to its proximity to the Pacific Ocean. During 
the summer, frequent breezes travel inland from the Pacific Ocean along 
the Umpqua River and into the proposed viticultural area. The breezes 
begin in the late afternoon and contribute to lower nighttime 
temperatures. To offset the cooling effect of the breezes and ensure 
the greatest chance for grapes to ripen fully, most vineyards within 
the proposed viticultural area are planted at lower elevations, where 
temperatures are warmer than on the higher slopes. The cool nighttime 
temperatures resulting from the breezes also promote morning fog. 
Because the fog persists until late morning, vineyards do not receive 
much sunlight until the afternoon. As a result, vineyards within the 
proposed viticultural area are commonly planted on the west side of 
slopes, where they can benefit most from the afternoon sun. The cool, 
moist air from the Pacific diminishes as it travels south along the 
Umpqua River, resulting in little fog and few cool breezes reaching the 
communities south of the proposed viticultural area.
    The marine influence of the Pacific Ocean also contributes to the 
high precipitation levels within the proposed viticultural area. Moist 
air traveling east from the Pacific Ocean is blocked by the mountains 
to the west of the proposed viticultural area and the Umpqua Valley and 
Southern Oregon viticultural areas and only enters these areas through 
gaps in the mountains created by creeks and rivers, particularly the 
Umpqua River. The proposed viticultural area receives more of this 
moist air than other regions within the larger Umpqua Valley 
viticultural area because the Pacific air diminishes the farther it 
travels from the ocean and has less moisture by the time it reaches the 
communities farther upstream. The amount of annual rainfall within the 
proposed viticultural area makes irrigation unnecessary, unlike in the 
areas farther to the east and south within the Umpqua Valley (``Explore 
Wine Regions in Oregon: Umpqua Valley,'' from the Oregon Wine Board Web 
site, www.oregonwine.org).
Topography
    TTB notes that the proposed Elkton Oregon viticultural area can be 
described as a steep-sided basin, consisting of low-lying, relatively 
flat river bottom lands that quickly rise to steep slopes. The Umpqua 
River enters from the south, through a gap in the mountain range near 
the town of Kellogg, and exits through a similar gap in the northwest 
corner of the proposed viticultural area. The terrain of the proposed 
viticultural area is most notably marked by the broad turns of the 
Umpqua River. Along these river bends are river terraces and foothills 
with lower elevations and gentle slopes with grades of 2 to 12 percent, 
in addition to wide swaths of relatively flat river bottom land. Elk 
Creek, which is also bordered by river terraces and river bottom land, 
flows from east to west through the northeastern portion of the 
proposed viticultural area, joining with the Umpqua River near the town 
of Elkton.
    The flat river bottom land and gentle river terraces of the Umpqua 
River and Elk Creek form the bottom of the basin. Above the river 
terraces and river bottom lands, the terrain quickly rises to steep, 
rugged hills with higher elevations, forming the sides of the basin, 
with the 1,000-foot elevation contour forming the rim. The 1,000-foot 
elevation contour was chosen to form most of the boundary line for the 
proposed viticultural area because above 1,000 feet the land becomes 
too steep and rugged for vineyards. Elevations within the proposed 
Elkton Oregon viticultural area vary from approximately 122 feet in 
elevation along the Umpqua River to a peak at the 1,754-foot elevation 
in the southwestern

[[Page 36436]]

portion of the proposed viticultural area near Heddin Creek.
    The basin-like shape of the proposed viticultural area, along with 
the Umpqua River, contributes to the distinctive climate of the 
proposed viticultural area. Cool, moist air travels east from the 
Pacific Ocean along the Umpqua River and into the Elkton area, bringing 
mild growing season temperatures, summer breezes, and rain. The steep 
slopes to the north, east, and south of the proposed Elkton Oregon 
viticultural area trap most of the cool air and precipitation within 
the lower elevations of the basin, preventing much of the marine 
influence from travelling farther into the Umpqua Valley viticultural 
area. As a result, the remainder of the Umpqua Valley viticultural area 
is warmer and drier than the proposed Elkton viticultural area.
    All of the vineyards within the proposed Elkton Oregon viticultural 
area are located on the gentle river terraces and foothills along the 
Umpqua River and Elk Creek, at elevations of 140 to 1,000 feet. In 
discussions with TTB, the petitioner stated that river terraces and 
foothills are preferable to river bottom lands because the river bottom 
lands have thick layers of topsoil which allows vines to grow too 
vigorously, requiring special cultivation techniques in order to create 
a favorable foliage-to-fruit ratio. The terraces and foothills, by 
contrast, are less fertile, with a thinner layer of topsoil over 
gravel. As a result, the vines require less extensive pruning to 
produce the desired foliage-to-fruit ratio.
    The area to the west of the proposed Elkton Oregon viticultural 
area is desolate, heavily forested, and rugged. In this region, the 
Umpqua River is closely bound by the rugged terrain, with little to 
none of the open river bottom land or gentle river terraces and 
foothills found within the proposed viticultural area, until the river 
reaches the ocean, according to USGS maps. Elevations to the west rise 
to 1,410 feet along ridge lines and dip to 40 feet along the Umpqua 
River as it flows toward the Pacific Ocean.
    To the north of the proposed viticultural area, the elevation rises 
rapidly to 1,871 feet at Devil Peak in the region marked on USGS maps 
as Devils Graveyard. TTB notes that the only lower elevation areas in 
this area are along the small canyon creeks that feed into the Umpqua 
River and Elk Creek. However, according to the USGS maps, even these 
small creeks are closely bound by steep hillsides and lack the gently-
sloped river terraces and foothills suitable for viticulture, which are 
characteristic of the proposed viticultural area.
    Elevations east of the proposed viticultural area range from 200 
feet along Elk Creek and Big Tom Folley Creek to the 2,456-foot peak of 
Yellow Butte. There is very little open land east of the proposed 
viticultural area until Putnam Valley near the town of Drain, 14 miles 
from Elkton. Although numerous creeks flow through the region to the 
east of the proposed viticultural area, they are closely bound by steep 
hillsides and lack gentle slopes suitable for viticulture.
    To the immediate south of the proposed viticultural area, the 
Umpqua River flows along a more constricted course, with sharper turns, 
narrower river bottom lands, and steeper slopes along its banks. 
Elevations are generally similar to those found within the proposed 
viticultural area, but the lack of open terrain and gentle slopes, 
particularly along the Umpqua River, distinguishes this region from the 
proposed viticultural area. Farther south, near the town of Roseburg 
(approximately 35 miles away from the proposed viticultural area), the 
land along the Umpqua River opens and becomes suitable for viticulture. 
However, in discussions with TTB, the petitioner noted that the 
majority of vineyards in the southern region of the Umpqua Valley 
viticultural area are located on river bottom land due to the steeply 
graded slopes and higher elevations beyond the river bottom land. By 
comparison, all of the vineyards within the proposed Elkton Oregon 
viticultural area are planted on the gentle slopes of the river 
terraces and foothills.

Comparisons of the Proposed Elkton Oregon Viticultural Area to the 
Existing Umpqua Valley and Southern Oregon Viticultural Areas

Umpqua Valley Viticultural Area
    The Umpqua Valley viticultural area was established by T.D. ATF-
170, which published in the Federal Register on March 29, 1984 (49 FR 
12246).
    According to T.D. ATF-170, the Umpqua Valley viticultural area is a 
lowland section of the Umpqua basin bounded on the west and north by 
the Coast Range, to the south by the Klamath Mountains, and on the east 
by the Cascade Range. The terrain of the surrounding area is generally 
steep and rugged. The 1,000-foot elevation line is the basic boundary 
line and a reliable indicator of suitability for cultivation in the 
region. Above the 1,000-foot elevation line, the terrain becomes steep 
and less hospitable to agriculture, and noticeable differences occur in 
climate, soils, topography, and vegetation.
    The proposed Elkton Oregon viticultural area, similar to the Umpqua 
Valley viticultural area, also has low elevations with a boundary line 
that rises to 1,000 feet in elevation to exclude areas without 
viticultural potential. However, due to its smaller size, the proposed 
Elkton Oregon viticultural area has a less varied topography that 
consists primarily of river bottom lands and gently-sloping river 
terraces at lower elevations than much of the rest of the Umpqua 
Valley.
    The Umpqua Valley viticultural area has cool winters and warm 
summers. The Coast Range Mountains to the west block most of the marine 
influence moving inland from the Pacific Ocean, making this 
viticultural area warmer and less foggy than the coastal region. The 
cool marine air that does enter along the Umpqua River diminishes the 
farther upstream it travels, so that very little reaches the 
southernmost portion of this viticultural area.
    The Coast Range Mountains also shield the proposed Elkton Oregon 
viticultural area and make the proposed viticultural area warmer and 
drier than the region along the Pacific coast. However, because of its 
downstream location along the Umpqua River, the proposed viticultural 
area receives more cool breezes and moisture from the Pacific Ocean 
than areas farther upstream. As a result, the proposed viticultural 
area has lower temperatures and more fog than locations farther south 
within the Umpqua Valley viticultural area.
    The Umpqua Valley viticultural area is also described as having 
high annual rainfall amounts, but also a notable lack of rainfall 
during the summer months. By contrast, annual rainfall amounts are 
higher within the proposed Elkton Oregon viticultural area due to moist 
air from the Pacific Ocean. Rainfall also occurs more frequently during 
the growing season within the proposed Elkton Oregon viticultural area 
than in the Umpqua Valley viticultural area, making vineyard irrigation 
unnecessary.
Southern Oregon Viticultural Area
    The large 1,977,298-acre Southern Oregon viticultural area was 
established by T.D. TTB-19, which published in the Federal Register on 
December 8, 2004 (69 FR 70889). The Southern Oregon viticultural area 
boundary encompasses the established Umpqua Valley and Rogue Valley 
viticultural areas, as well as the Applegate Valley viticultural area, 
which is totally within the larger Rogue Valley viticultural area. 
Between the Rogue Valley and Umpqua Valley

[[Page 36437]]

viticultural areas is a connecting valley corridor with viticultural 
potential that is part of the Southern Oregon viticultural area.
    T.D. TTB-19 describes the Southern Oregon viticultural area as a 
series of high intermountain valleys that share a warm, sunny, arid 
climate and contain old, complex soils derived from bedrock. To the 
west, the Coast Range casts a rain shadow on the south and east parts 
of the Southern Oregon viticultural area that reduces precipitation and 
buffers the cooling marine air from moving inland to the grape-growing 
regions. As a result, the Southern Oregon viticultural area has the 
warmest grape-growing conditions in Oregon and moderated precipitation.
    Vineyards in the Southern Oregon viticultural area are typically 
situated in high mountain valleys. Vineyard elevations range from below 
1,000 feet along the Umpqua River, in the northern portion of the 
Southern Oregon viticultural area, to 2,000 feet in the Rogue Valley 
viticultural area at the southern end of the Southern Oregon 
viticultural area. Both warm and cool wine grape varieties grow 
successfully in different parts of the Southern Oregon viticultural 
area.
    The proposed Elkton Oregon viticultural area is one of the high 
mountain valleys within the Southern Oregon viticultural area. The 
proposed viticultural area, as with the Umpqua Valley viticultural area 
in which it would be located, broadly shares some characteristics of 
the larger Southern Oregon viticultural area, such as vineyards below 
the 2,000-foot elevation line and lower precipitation and warmer 
temperatures than the coastal regions to the west. However, the 
proposed Elkton Oregon viticultural area has a distinctive microclimate 
due to its proximity to both the Pacific Ocean and the Umpqua River. 
The marine influence from the ocean brings cooling breezes and moist 
air up the Umpqua River and into the proposed viticultural area, 
resulting in high annual precipitation amounts and a mild growing 
season climate. As a result of the mild climate, the proposed 
viticultural area produces cooler climate varieties of grapes almost 
exclusively because they mature more reliably than warmer varieties of 
grapes.

TTB Determination

    TTB concludes that the petition to establish the 74,900-acre Elkton 
Oregon viticultural area merits consideration and public comment, as 
invited in this notice.
    TTB notes that the name ``Elkton OR'' is an equivalent form of the 
petitioned-for name ``Elkton Oregon.'' Although the original petition 
only proposed the name ``Elkton Oregon'' in reference to the proposed 
viticultural area, TTB believes that also allowing the abbreviated 
``Elkton OR'' as an alternative name is appropriate. TTB does not 
believe allowing the abbreviated form as an alternative viticultural 
area name would cause consumer confusion. Therefore, the part 9 
regulatory text set forth in this proposed rule specifies both ``Elkton 
Oregon'' and ``Elkton OR'' as names for this proposed viticultural 
area.

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 they are listed 
below in the proposed regulatory text.

Impact on Current Wine Labels

    Part 4 of the TTB regulations prohibits any reference on a wine 
label that indicates or implies an origin other than the wine's true 
place of origin. If TTB establishes this proposed viticultural area, 
its name, ``Elkton Oregon,'' and the alternative name ``Elkton OR,'' 
will both be recognized as terms of viticultural significance under 27 
CFR 4.39(i)(3). The text of the proposed regulation clarifies this 
point.
    On the other hand, TTB does not believe that any single part of the 
proposed viticultural area name standing alone, that is, ``Elkton'' or 
``Oregon,'' would have viticultural significance in relation to this 
proposed viticultural area. The GNIS shows the name ``Elkton'' used in 
reference to 132 locations, including populated places in 16 states, so 
TTB believes that ``Elkton,'' standing alone, would not necessarily 
imply that a wine originated within the proposed viticultural area. 
Additionally, ``Oregon,'' standing alone, is locally and nationally 
known as referring to the State of Oregon, which is already a term of 
viticultural significance as a state-wide appellation of origin under 
27 CFR 4.25(a)(1)(ii), and under 27 CFR 4.39(i)(3), which states that a 
term has viticultural significance when it is the name of a State. 
Therefore, the part 9 regulatory text set forth in this proposed rule 
specifies only ``Elkton Oregon'' and ``Elkton OR'' as terms of 
viticultural significance for purposes of part 4 of the TTB 
regulations.
    If this proposed regulatory text is adopted as a final rule, wine 
bottlers using ``Elkton Oregon'' or ``Elkton OR'' in a brand name, 
including a trademark, or in another label reference as to the origin 
of the wine, would have to ensure that the product is eligible to use 
the viticultural area's full name or the alternative name of ``Elkton 
OR'' as an appellation of origin. The approval of the proposed Elkton 
Oregon viticultural area would not affect any existing viticultural 
area, and any bottlers using ``Umpqua Valley'' or ``Southern Oregon'' 
as an appellation of origin or in a brand name for wines made from 
grapes grown within the Umpqua Valley or Southern Oregon viticultural 
areas would not be affected by the establishment of this new 
viticultural area. The establishment of the Elkton Oregon viticultural 
area would allow vintners to use ``Elkton Oregon,'' ``Elkton OR,'' 
``Umpqua Valley,'' and ``Southern Oregon'' as appellations of origin 
for wines made from grapes grown within the Elkton Oregon viticultural 
area if the wines meet the eligibility requirements for the 
appellation.
    For a wine to be labeled with a viticultural area name or with a 
brand name that includes a viticultural area name or other term 
identified as being viticulturally significant in part 9 of the TTB 
regulations, at least 85 percent of the wine must be derived from 
grapes grown within the area represented by that name or other term, 
and the wine must meet the other conditions listed in 27 CFR 
4.25(e)(3). If the wine is not eligible for labeling with the 
viticultural area name or other viticulturally significant term and 
that name or term 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 viticulturally significant term 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 viticulturally significant term 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 the agency should establish the proposed Elkton Oregon 
viticultural area. TTB is interested in receiving comments on the 
sufficiency and accuracy of the name,

[[Page 36438]]

boundary, climate, soils, and other required information submitted in 
support of the petition. Please provide any available specific 
information in support of your comment. In addition, given the proposed 
Elkton Oregon viticultural area's location within both the existing 
Umpqua Valley and Southern Oregon viticultural areas, 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 Umpqua Valley and 
Southern Oregon viticultural areas. TTB is also interested in comments 
on whether the geographic features of the proposed viticultural area 
are so distinguishable from the surrounding Umpqua Valley and Southern 
Oregon viticultural areas that the proposed Elkton Oregon viticultural 
area should no longer be part of those viticultural areas. Please 
provide any available specific information in support of your comments.
    Because of the potential impact of the establishment of the 
proposed Elkton Oregon viticultural area on wine labels that include 
the terms ``Elkton Oregon'' or ``Elkton OR'' as discussed above under 
Impact on Current Wine Labels, TTB is also 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-
0005 on ``Regulations.gov,'' the Federal e-rulemaking portal, at http://www.regulations.gov. A direct link to that docket is available under 
Notice No. 130 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 site's ``Help'' tab.
     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 200-E, Washington, DC 20005.
    Please submit your comments by the closing date shown above in this 
notice. Your comments must reference Notice No. 130 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 considers 
all comments as originals.
    In your comment, please indicate if you are speaking on your own 
behalf or on behalf of an association, business, or other entity. If 
you are speaking on behalf of an entity, your comment must include the 
entity's name as well as your name and position title. If you comment 
via http://www.regulations.gov, please also 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 include, attach, or enclose 
any material in or with 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 online or mailed comments TTB receives about this. A direct 
link to the Regulations.gov docket containing this notice and the 
posted comments received on it is available on the TTB Web site at 
http://www.ttb.gov/wine/wine_rulemaking.shtml">http://www.ttb.gov/wine/wine_rulemaking.shtml under Notice No. 130. 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. For instructions on how to use 
Regulations.gov, visit the site and click on ``User Guide'' under ``How 
to Use this Site.''
    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 TTB considers unsuitable for posting.
    You may view copies of this notice, all related petitions, maps and 
other supporting materials, and any electronic or mailed comments TTB 
receives about this proposal by appointment at the TTB Information 
Resource Center, 1310 G Street NW., Washington, DC 20220. You may also 
obtain copies at 20 cents per 8.5- x 11-inch page. Contact the 
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, it requires no regulatory 
assessment.

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.

[[Page 36439]]

Subpart C--Approved American Viticultural Areas

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


Sec.  9.--  Elkton Oregon.

    (a) Name. The name of the viticultural area described in this 
section is ``Elkton Oregon''. ``Elkton OR'' may also be used as the 
name of the viticultural area described in this section. For purposes 
of part 4 of this chapter, ``Elkton Oregon'' and ``Elkton OR'' are 
terms of viticultural significance.
    (b) Approved maps. The five United States Geological Survey (USGS) 
1:24,000 scale topographic maps used to determine the boundary of the 
Elkton Oregon viticultural area are titled:
    (1) Kellogg Quadrangle, Oregon-Douglas Co., Provisional Edition 
1990;
    (2) Old Blue Quadrangle, Oregon-Douglas Co., Provisional Edition 
1990;
    (3) Devils Graveyard Quadrangle, Oregon-Douglas Co., Provisional 
Edition 1990;
    (4) Elkton Quadrangle, Oregon-Douglas Co., Provisional Edition 
1990; and
    (5) Yellow Butte, Oregon-Douglas Co., Provisional Edition 1987.
    (c) Boundary. The Elkton Oregon viticultural area is located in 
Douglas County, Oregon. The boundary of the Elkton Oregon viticultural 
area is as described below:
    (1) The beginning point is on the Kellogg map at the intersection 
of the T23S/T24S and R7W/R8W common lines. From the beginning point, 
proceed northwest in a straight line, crossing onto the Old Blue map, 
to the eastern-most intersection of the T22S/T23S and R8W/R9W common 
lines; then
    (2) Proceed north along the R8W/R9W common line onto the Devils 
Graveyard map, across the Umpqua River, to the intersection of the R8W/
R9W common line with the 1,000-foot elevation line along the western 
boundary of section 30, T21S/R8W; then
    (3) Proceed generally east along the meandering 1,000-elevation 
line that crosses over Patterson Creek, Weatherly Creek headwaters, 
Cedar Creek, and House Creek; continue following the 1,000-foot 
elevation line onto the Elkton map, back to the Devils Graveyard map, 
returning to the Elkton map, and then continuing generally east and 
southeast across Paradise Creek and Little Tom Folley Creek, to the 
intersection of the 1,000-foot elevation line with an unnamed, improved 
road in the southeast quadrant of section 4, T22S/R7W; then
    (4) Proceed south-southwest along the unnamed, improved road to the 
intersection of that road with an unimproved logging road, 
approximately 1.65 miles due north of the Mile 5 marker on Elk Creek, 
section 9, T22S/R7W; then
    (5) Proceed southeast in a straight line, passing through the 
southeast corner of section 9, T22S/R7W, to Elk Creek, section 15, 
T22S/R7W; then
    (6) Proceed generally southeast (downstream) along Elk Creek to the 
State Route 38 bridge at BM 172, section 15, T22S/R7W; then
    (7) Proceed south in a straight line to the intersection of the 
1,000-foot elevation line and the section 22 south boundary line, T22S/
R7W; then
    (8) Proceed generally south, west, and then north along the 
meandering 1,000-foot elevation line crossing back and forth between 
the Kellogg map and the Yellow Butte map, returning to the Yellow Butte 
map to the intersection of the 1,000-foot elevation line with the R7W/
R6W common line on Bell Ridge, along the section 1 east boundary line, 
T23S/R7W; then
    (9) Proceed southeast in a straight line to the intersection of the 
line with the 1,000-foot elevation line and an unnamed, unimproved 
road, section 7, T23S/R6W; then
    (10) Proceed south and west along the meandering 1,000-foot 
elevation, crossing back and forth between the Kellogg and Yellow Butte 
maps, and finally returning to the Kellogg map, to the intersection of 
the 1,000-foot elevation line with the T23S/T24S common line along the 
section 3 north boundary line, T24S/R7W; and then
    (11) Proceed west along the T23S/T24S common line to the beginning 
point.

    Signed: June 11, 2012.
John J. Manfreda,
Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2012-14920 Filed 6-18-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4810-31-P