[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 202 (Thursday, October 18, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 64033-64036]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-25639]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY

Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau

27 CFR Part 9

[Docket No. TTB-2012-0003; T.D. TTB-108; Ref: Notice No. 128]
RIN 1513-AB85


Establishment of the Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley 
Viticultural Area

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

ACTION: Final rule; Treasury decision.

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SUMMARY: The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) establishes 
the 162,762-acre ``Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley'' viticultural area 
in Douglas, Grant, and Kittitas Counties in central Washington. The 
viticultural area lies entirely 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.

DATES: Effective Date: November 19, 2012.

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

[[Page 64034]]

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, and 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.

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, with 1,399 acres 
dedicated to 6 commercially-producing vineyards. The petition states 
that there are also six wineries located within the proposed 
viticultural area. The petition includes a map showing that the 
vineyards and wineries are dispersed throughout the proposed 
viticultural area.
    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 areas.

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Comments Received

    TTB published Notice No. 128 in the Federal Register on May 8, 2012 
(77 FR 27001), proposing to establish the Ancient Lakes of Columbia 
Valley viticultural area. In the proposed rule, TTB summarized the 
evidence from the petition regarding the name, boundary, and 
distinguishing features for the proposed viticultural area. The 
distinguishing features of the proposed viticultural area include 
climate, topography, and soils. The proposed rule contained a 
comparison of the distinguishing features of the proposed viticultural 
area with the surrounding regions. Notice No. 128 also contained a 
comparison of the proposed viticultural area with the existing Columbia 
Valley viticultural area detailing how the distinguishing features of 
the proposed viticultural area are consistent with, and distinct from, 
the established Columbia Valley viticultural area. For a description of 
the evidence relating to the name, boundary, and distinguishing 
features of the proposed viticultural area, see Notice No. 128.
    In Notice No. 128, TTB solicited comments on the accuracy of the 
name, boundary, climatic, and other required information submitted in 
support of the petition. In addition, given the proposed viticultural 
area's location within the existing Columbia Valley viticultural area, 
TTB also solicited comments on whether the evidence submitted in the 
petition regarding the distinguishing features of the proposed 
viticultural area sufficiently differentiates the proposed viticultural 
area from the existing Columbia Valley viticultural area. TTB also 
asked for comments on whether the geographical 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 the existing 
viticultural area. The comment period closed on July 9, 2012.
    In response to Notice No. 128, TTB received a total of three 
comments regarding the proposed viticultural area: One from Cameron 
Fries, one of the original petitioners; one from the executive director 
of a Washington State non-profit wine tourism promotion association; 
and one from the City Administrator of Quincy, Washington, commenting 
on his own behalf. All three commenters supported the establishment of 
the Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley viticultural area as proposed in 
Notice No. 128. TTB received no comments in opposition of the Ancient 
Lakes of Columbia Valley viticultural area as proposed. In regards to 
the question of whether the Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley 
viticultural area was so distinct that it should be separated from the 
existing Columbia Valley viticultural area, TTB received no comments.

TTB Determination

    After careful review of the petition and the comments received in 
response

[[Page 64035]]

to Notice No. 128, TTB finds that the evidence provided by the 
petitioner supports the establishment of the 162,762-acre Ancient Lakes 
of Columbia Valley viticultural area within the Columbia Valley 
viticultural area. Accordingly, under the authority of the FAA Act, 
section 1111(d) of the Homeland Security Act of 2002, and part 4 of the 
TTB regulations, TTB establishes the ``Ancient Lakes of Columbia 
Valley'' viticultural area in Douglas, Grant, and Kittitas Counties, 
Washington, effective 30 days from the publication date of this 
document.

Boundary Description

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

Maps

    The petitioners provided the required maps, and TTB lists them 
below in the 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. With the establishment of this viticultural area, its 
name, ``Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley,'' is recognized as a name of 
viticultural significance under 27 CFR 4.39(i)(3), as the text of this 
regulation makes clear. Once this regulation becomes effective, 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.
    The establishment of the Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley 
viticultural area will not affect any existing viticultural area, and 
any bottlers using ``Columbia Valley'' as an appellation of origin or 
in a brand name for wines made from grapes grown within the Ancient 
Lakes of Columbia Valley viticultural area will not be affected by the 
establishment of this new viticultural area. The establishment of the 
Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley viticultural area will allow vintners 
to use ``Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley'' and ``Columbia Valley'' as 
appellations of origin for wines made from grapes grown within the 
Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley viticultural area.
    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.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    TTB certifies that this regulation will not have a significant 
economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The 
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 final 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 final rule.

List of Subjects in 27 CFR Part 9

    Wine.

The Regulatory Amendment

    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, TTB amends title 27, 
chapter I, part 9, Code of Federal Regulations, 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.  9.227 to read as follows:


Sec.  9.227  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

[[Page 64036]]

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
    (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, and onto the West Bar map, returning to the 
beginning point.

    Signed: September 18, 2012.
John J. Manfreda,
Administrator.
    Approved: September 27, 2012.
Timothy E. Skud,
Deputy Assistant Secretary, (Tax, Trade, and Tariff Policy).
[FR Doc. 2012-25639 Filed 10-17-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4810-31-P