[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 11 (Wednesday, January 16, 2013)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 3370-3377]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-00699]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY

Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau

27 CFR Part 9

[Docket No. TTB-2013-0001; Notice No. 132]
RIN 1513-AB98


Proposed Establishment of the Ballard Canyon 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 7,800-acre ``Ballard Canyon'' viticultural 
area in Santa Barbara County, California. The proposed viticultural 
area lies entirely within the larger Santa Ynez Valley viticultural 
area and the multicounty Central Coast 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 by March 18, 2013.

ADDRESSES: Please send your comments on this notice to one of the 
following addresses (please note that TTB has a new address for 
comments submitted by U.S. mail):
     Internet: http://www.regulations.gov (via the online 
comment form for this notice as posted within Docket No. TTB-2013-0001 
at ``Regulations.gov,'' the Federal e-rulemaking portal);
     U.S. Mail: Director, Regulations and Rulings Division, 
Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, 1310 G Street NW., Box 12, 
Washington, DC 20005; 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 that TTB receives about this proposal at http://www.regulations.gov within Docket No. TTB-2013-0001. A link to that 
docket is posted 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. 132. 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

[[Page 3371]]

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

Ballard Canyon Petition

    TTB received a petition from Wesley D. Hagen, a vineyard manager 
and winemaker, on behalf of 26 other vintners and grape growers in the 
Ballard Canyon area of California, proposing the establishment of the 
``Ballard Canyon'' American viticultural area. The proposed 
viticultural area contains approximately 7,800 acres, of which 
approximately 565 acres are dedicated to commercially-producing 
vineyards. The petition states that there are 10 commercial vineyards 
located within the proposed viticultural area, with Syrah being the 
primary grape variety grown. According to the petition, the 
distinguishing features of the proposed Ballard Canyon viticultural 
area include wind, temperature, and soils. Unless otherwise noted, all 
information and data pertaining to the proposed viticultural area 
contained in this document are from the petition for the proposed 
Ballard Canyon viticultural area and its supporting exhibits.
    The proposed Ballard Canyon viticultural area is located in Santa 
Barbara County, California, to the west of the town of Ballard. The 
proposed viticultural area lies at the center of the Santa Ynez Valley 
viticultural area (27 CFR 9.54) which, in turn, is within the larger 
multicounty Central Coast viticultural area (27 CFR 9.75). The Santa 
Ynez Valley viticultural area currently contains two smaller, 
established viticultural areas: Sta. Rita Hills (27 CFR 9.162), which 
lies to the west of the proposed viticultural area, and Happy Canyon of 
Santa Barbara (27 CFR 9.217), which lies to the east of the proposed 
Ballard Canyon viticultural area. The Sta. Rita Hills and the Happy 
Canyon of Santa Barbara viticultural areas do not share a boundary or 
overlap the proposed Ballard Canyon viticultural area.

Name Evidence

    The United States Geological Survey's (USGS) Geographical Names 
Information System (GNIS; http://geonames.usgs.gov/index.html) lists 
``Ballard Canyon'' as a valley in Santa Barbara County, California. The 
USGS ``Zaca Creek,'' ``Los Olivos,'' and ``Solvang'' quadrangle maps 
used to mark the boundary of the proposed viticultural area all 
indicate a geological feature marked ``Ballard Canyon'' within the 
proposed viticultural area boundary. The USGS maps also show a paved, 
light-duty road labeled ``Ballard Canyon Road'' running north and south 
through the eastern portion of the proposed Ballard Canyon viticultural 
area. According to the petition, residents refer to property as located 
in ``Ballard Canyon'' if it is accessible from Ballard Canyon Road or 
its side streets. The petition also includes evidence that both the 
canyon and the road are mentioned in official documents of the State of 
California Water Resources Control Board and the Santa Barbara County 
Public Works Department.
    The petition includes excerpts from articles published in national 
and international wine periodicals as evidence that the name and 
location of the proposed Ballard Canyon viticultural area are currently 
associated with viticulture. A review by wine critic Robert Parker 
states that, ``[t]he stunning 2009 Malvasia Bianca Larner Vineyard 
(Ballard Canyon) is just extraordinary.'' (Wine Advocate, No. 190, 
August 2010; www.erobertparker.com.) In an article about Santa Barbara 
County wines, Sommelier Journal editor Randy Caparoso wrote that, 
``[i]n Ballard Canyon, we found something extra: brighter red fruits 
and sweet spices, revved up by slightly racier acidity.'' (Caparoso, 
Randy; ``Event Spotlight: 2010 SJ Terroir Experience,'' Sommelier 
Journal, June 15, 2010, pp. 36-41.) Finally, an article in an October 
2003 issue of Wine Enthusiast Magazine about wines of Santa Barbara 
County mentions that one grape grower attributes ``the juicy ripeness 
of his monumental Syrah, grown at 1,000 feet in the Ballard Canyon 
area, to the micro-climate, which he calls `the best of both cool and 
warm.''' (Heimoff, Steve, and Chris Rubin; ``Semi-rustic and Super-
chic,'' Wine Enthusiast Magazine, October 1, 2003; www.winemag.com.)

[[Page 3372]]

Boundary Evidence

    As previously noted, the proposed Ballard Canyon viticultural area 
lies entirely within the Santa Ynez Valley viticultural area, which, in 
turn, lies within the larger, multicounty Central Coast viticultural 
area. The proposed viticultural area does not overlap with any other 
existing or proposed viticultural area.
    The region within the proposed Ballard Canyon viticultural area is 
comprised of steep north-south ranging slopes and maze-like canyons, 
with Ballard Canyon forming a crescent within the eastern portion. 
Elevations range from 400 feet at the southernmost portion of the 
proposed Ballard Canyon viticultural area to approximately 1,280 feet 
within the northernmost region. The proposed boundary also encompasses 
the majority of the Alisal Creek-Santa Ynez River watershed.
    The proposed boundary follows a series of elevation contours and 
straight lines between points marked on the relevant USGS maps. A 
combination of the 1,000-foot elevation contour line and a series of 
straight lines between points defines the northern portion of the 
proposed boundary and approximately follows the northernmost edge of 
Ballard Canyon. The area to the north of the proposed viticultural area 
contains maze-like canyons and north-south ranges similar to those 
within the proposed Ballard Canyon viticultural area but generally has 
higher elevations and is more exposed to the cooling marine influence 
and strong breezes that travel from the Pacific Ocean through the 
adjacent Santa Maria Valley.
    The eastern portion of the proposed boundary includes the eastern 
edge of Ballard Canyon and separates the canyonlands from the lower, 
flatter Los Olivos basin and Santa Ynez Valley, which lie to the 
immediate east and northeast of the proposed Ballard Canyon 
viticultural area. Elevations in this region range from 660 feet in the 
Santa Ynez Valley to 880 feet near Los Olivos.
    The southern portion of the proposed boundary follows the 400-foot 
elevation contour line, which separates the lower, flatter land near 
the Santa Ynez River from the higher, more rugged canyonlands located 
within the proposed Ballard Canyon viticultural area. The elevations 
south of the proposed viticultural area are lower than within the 
proposed viticultural area, with elevations ranging from 280 feet along 
the Santa Ynez River to 400 feet near the southernmost portion of the 
proposed Ballard Canyon viticultural area boundary line.
    The western portion of the proposed boundary follows the 600-foot 
elevation contour line and several straight lines drawn between points 
to encompass the Alisal Creek-Santa Ynez River watershed. The western 
portion of the proposed boundary separates the north-south ranges 
within the proposed Ballard Canyon viticultural area from the east-west 
ranges to the west. The east-west orientation of the hills and canyons 
to the west of the proposed Ballard Canyon viticultural area allows 
more of the cooling marine influence to travel from the Pacific Ocean 
into this area, bringing stronger breezes, cooler daytime temperatures, 
and warmer nighttime temperatures than within the proposed Ballard 
Canyon viticultural area.

Distinguishing Features

    The distinguishing features of the proposed Ballard Canyon 
viticultural area include wind, temperature, and soils.
Wind
    To the west of the proposed Ballard Canyon viticultural area are 
the Purisima, Santa Rita, and Santa Rosa Hills. These mountain ranges 
run west to east from Lompoc to Buellton and form a ``throat'' that 
allows winds from the Pacific Ocean to flow inland and through the Sta. 
Rita Hills viticultural area. However, just east of the Sta. Rita Hills 
viticultural area and just west of the proposed Ballard Canyon 
viticultural area, the mountains are aligned in a north-south 
orientation. These north-south mountains shelter the proposed Ballard 
Canyon viticultural area from the strongest winds blowing from the 
west.
    The petition provides a summary of average monthly wind and gust 
speeds in miles per hour (mph) from within the proposed Ballard Canyon 
viticultural area, as well as from areas to the north (Foxen Canyon), 
to the east (Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara viticultural area), to the 
south (Solvang), and to the west (Sta. Rita Hills viticultural area) of 
the proposed viticultural area. Data was collected from weather 
stations within the various locations from 2005 through 2009. Winds 
were measured each year from April through October, which is the grape 
growing season. The petition also notes that July, August, and 
September are the critical ripening months for vineyards in the Central 
Coast region of California, when climate can most affect grape 
production. TTB prepared the table below using data provided in the 
petition.

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                                                                   Happy Canyon
                                     Proposed                        of Santa                        Sta. Rita
             Region               Ballard Canyon   Foxen Canyon       Barbara         Solvang          Hills
                                   viticultural       (North)      viticultural       (South)      viticultural
                                       area                         area (East)                     area (West)
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                                         April-October (growing season)
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Average wind speed (miles per               1.37            2.87            1.67            1.72            4.51
 hour)..........................
Average gust speed (miles per              11.97           15.16           12.63           12.1            17.54
 hour)..........................
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                                      July-September (peak growing season)
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Average wind speed (miles per               0.93            2.1             1.1             1.8             3.7
 hour)..........................
Average gust speed (miles per              10.5            13.5            10.4            11.9            15.5
 hour)..........................
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    As shown in the table, the average growing season wind and gust 
speeds are lower within the proposed Ballard Canyon viticultural area 
than in the surrounding areas, with significant differences in wind and 
gust speeds evident from those in Sta. Rita Hills viticultural area to 
the west and Foxen Canyon to the north. The petition attributes the 
lower wind speeds within the proposed Ballard Canyon viticultural area 
to the north-south mountain ranges that block the stronger winds from 
the Pacific Ocean. The east-west coastal ``throat'' that funnels winds 
inland from the Pacific Ocean lies in the heart of the Sta. Rita Hills 
viticultural area and brings the strongest winds into

[[Page 3373]]

that region. Foxen Canyon has north-south ranges similar to the 
proposed viticultural area; however, the adjacent Santa Maria Valley to 
the north channels more of the Pacific Ocean winds into the Foxen 
Canyon region.
    According to the petition, low wind and gust speeds have a positive 
effect on viticulture within the proposed Ballard Canyon viticultural 
area. Constant winds and strong gusts cause the stomas on the leaves to 
close to prevent moisture loss; this reduces a vine's ability to 
photosynthesize efficiently, resulting in less energy and food for the 
vine. By contrast, a lack of persistently strong winds or gusts allows 
the stomas to stay open and the grapevines to photosynthesize more 
efficiently. As a result, the grapes are able to achieve high phenolic 
ripeness, the peak concentration of compounds (phenols) within the 
skin, seeds, stems, and pulp of the grape which contribute to the 
color, flavor, and aroma of the wine.
Temperature
    The north-south mountain ranges of the proposed Ballard Canyon 
viticultural area shelter the proposed viticultural area from the 
marine influence that affects the areas to the west, north and south. 
As a result, the temperatures within the proposed Ballard Canyon 
viticultural area are generally warmer during the day and cooler at 
night than the areas to the west, north and south. The area to the east 
of the proposed Ballard Canyon viticultural area, however, is 
significantly warmer due to a lower marine influence resulting from its 
more inland location.
    The petition provides a summary of high and low temperatures and 
growing degree day (GDD) \1\ data gathered during the growing season 
(April through October) from 2005 through 2009. The petition also 
addresses the impact of the variation in temperature between the 
daytime high and nighttime low (diurnal shift) on viticulture within 
the proposed viticultural area, but did not calculate the shift. TTB 
calculated the diurnal shifts and included the information in the table 
below. The data represent points located within the proposed Ballard 
Canyon viticultural area, as well as points to the north, east, south, 
and west of the proposed viticultural area.
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    \1\ In the Winkler climate 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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                                                                   Happy Canyon
                                     Proposed                        of Santa                        Sta. Rita
             Region               Ballard Canyon   Foxen Canyon       Barbara         Solvang          Hills
                                   viticultural       (North)      viticultural       (South)      viticultural
                                       area                         area (East)                     area (West)
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Average growing season GDD units         2916.58          2823.2          3139.5         2762.03         2176.14
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                                         April-October (growing season)
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Average high temperature........           82.6             79.2            84.7           82.2            74.9
Average low temperature.........           48.9             50.2            49.0           52.5            50.0
Diurnal shift...................           33.7             29.0            35.7           29.7            24.9
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                                      July-September (peak growing season)
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Average high temperature........           88.7             85.0            91.1           88.8            78.3
Average low temperature.........           51.5             53.2            52.5           57.7            53.2
Diurnal shift...................           37.2             31.8            38.6           31.3            25.1
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    The data in the table show that the most significant difference in 
GDD units exists between the proposed viticultural area and the Sta. 
Rita Hills viticultural area to the west, where the cooling marine 
influence results in 25 percent fewer GDD units than within the 
proposed viticultural area. The high GDD unit accumulation within the 
proposed Ballard Canyon viticultural area indicates that the growing 
season temperatures rise far enough above the key 50 degrees Fahrenheit 
(F) mark to allow adequate time for grapes to develop and ripen fully. 
Heat accumulation strongly influences varietal planting decisions, 
making the proposed viticultural area particularly suited to warm-
weather grape varieties such as Syrah, which is the primary grape 
variety grown in the proposed viticultural area.
    The data in the table also show that the proposed Ballard Canyon 
viticultural area has warmer days and cooler nights during the growing 
season than most of the surrounding area, which results in large 
diurnal shifts. The most significant differences in diurnal shifts are 
between the proposed viticultural area and Foxen Canyon to the north, 
Solvang to the south, and the Sta. Rita Hills viticultural area to the 
east, the differences being more pronounced during the peak growing 
season. According to the petition, large diurnal shifts like those 
found within the proposed viticultural area produce desirably high 
levels of sugar and acid in grapes because the daytime heat increases 
sugar production and the nighttime cooling reduces acid loss.
Soils
    More than 95 percent of the acreage within the proposed Ballard 
Canyon viticultural area contains a unified soil association called the 
Chamise-Arnold-Crow Hill association. This soil group is defined as 
gently sloping to very steep, with well drained to somewhat excessively 
drained sands as well as clay loams on high terraces and uplands. A 
very small portion of the southern end of the proposed Ballard Canyon 
viticultural area contains the Positas-Ballard-Santa Ynez association 
and the Sorrento-Mocho-Camarillo association. The Positas-Ballard-Santa 
Ynez association is described in the Santa Barbara area soil map as 
being nearly level to moderately steep, with well drained and 
moderately well drained fine sandy loams to clay loams on terraces 
(``Northern Santa Barbara Area, California General Soil Map,'' issued 
by the United States Department of Agriculture Soil Conservation 
Service, 1971). The same soil map describes the Sorrento-Mocho-
Camarillo association as nearly level to moderately sloping, with well 
drained to somewhat

[[Page 3374]]

poorly drained sandy loams to silty clay loams on flood plains and 
alluvial fans.
    The soils of most of the area immediately adjacent to the proposed 
Ballard Canyon viticultural area are a continuation of the associations 
found within the proposed viticultural area, but they transition to 
other dominant soil types. To the north of the proposed viticultural 
area, the soils transition from the Chamise-Arnold-Crow Hill 
association to Shedd-Santa Lucia-Diablo and Toomes-Climara associations 
near the San Rafael Mountains. To the east and south of the proposed 
viticultural area, the soils begin as the Positas-Ballard-Santa Ynez 
association and transition to the Toomes-Climara and Shedd-Santa Lucia-
Diablo associations. To the southwest, the soils are of the Sorrento-
Mocho-Camarillo and Positas-Ballard-Santa Ynez associations near the 
boundary of the proposed viticultural area and change to Shedd-Santa 
Lucia-Diablo farther south near the Santa Ynez Mountains. To the west, 
the soils begin as a continuation of the Chamise-Arnold-Crow Hill and 
Sorrento-Mocho-Camarillo associations and change to the Marina-Oceano 
association nearer to the Pacific Ocean.
    The soil structure, pH values, and mineral levels of the proposed 
viticultural area also differ from that of the areas to the east and 
west. Information on these factors was not available concerning areas 
to the north and south of the proposed viticultural area. An analysis 
of soils from four vineyards within the proposed viticultural area 
indicates the soil profile is consistently a layer of loam on top of a 
layer of clay, which in turn is on a second layer of loam. By contrast, 
soils of the Sta. Rita Hills viticultural area, to the west, contain 
more sand, and soils of the Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara viticultural 
area, to the east, contain more clay.
    The soil analysis of the four vineyards within the proposed Ballard 
Canyon viticultural area reveals a wide range of soil pH values. Soil 
pH values affect the ability of grapevines to uptake nutrients, and the 
analysis notes that the desired pH range for viticulture is 6.5 to 7.5. 
Moderately acidic soils reduce the ability of the vines to uptake 
nutrients, resulting in less vigorous vine and leaf growth and the 
production of berries that have high concentrations of desirable 
flavors, sugars, and acids. The pH values within the proposed 
viticultural area range from 5.5 (moderately acidic) to 7.5 (slightly 
alkaline), with the more acidic soils appearing in the surface portions 
of the samples and the neutral and alkaline soils appearing at greater 
depths, where most root activity takes place. By contrast, soil pH 
values in the Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara viticultural area, to the 
east, are consistently alkaline (7.25). Soil pH values for the Sta. 
Rita Hills, to the west, are slightly acidic, with values from 6.1 to 
6.7.
    With regard to mineral levels within the soils, the analysis 
reveals that nitrogen levels within the proposed viticultural area are 
between 1.5 and 13 ppm, with the most common total being 5 ppm. 
Nitrogen levels in the soils to the west, within the Sta. Rita Hills 
viticultural area, are also very low.\2\ By contrast, to the east, 
within the Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara viticultural area, nitrogen 
levels in the soil are very high, with levels two to three times higher 
than recommended for viticulture, which requires growers to ameliorate 
their soils in order to achieve a lower, more desirable nitrogen 
level.\3\ The petition notes that the optimal nitrogen level for 
viticulture is between 4 and 8 ppm, and that low levels of nitrogen in 
the soil, such as those commonly found within the proposed viticultural 
area, result in lower vine vigor, smaller berries, and more intensity 
in the resulting wines.
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    \2\ All soil nutrient information for Sta. Rita Hills 
viticultural area can be found in the soil analysis in Addendum 
Exhibit 2 of the petition.
    \3\ All soil nutrient information for the Happy Canyon of Santa 
Barbara viticultural area can be found in the soil analysis in 
Addendum Exhibit 1 of the petition.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Potassium levels within the soils of the proposed viticultural area 
are described as moderately deficient, with levels varying from 70 to 
220 ppm and most soil samples having a range from 120 to 160 ppm. The 
analysis notes the optimal soil potassium level for grape-growing is 
between 100 to 500 ppm, as this level is sufficient to provide protein 
synthesis support, but is low enough to prevent overly vigorous vine 
growth. By contrast, the Sta. Rita Hills viticultural area has soils 
that are highly deficient in potassium, with levels as low as 1 ppm in 
some soils, mostly due to the sandy nature of the soils. Potassium 
levels in the soils of the Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara viticultural 
area are higher than those of the proposed Ballard Canyon viticultural 
area, with average soil levels of 200 ppm.
    Finally, exchangeable levels of calcium in the soils within the 
proposed Ballard Canyon viticultural area are between 1,000 and 1,400 
ppm, within the range generally preferred for viticulture. According to 
the petition, calcium affects the thickness of grape skins, with high 
levels producing thicker skins, lower juice-to-skin ratios during 
ferment, and wines of deeper color and richness. The soils of the Sta. 
Rita Hills viticultural area to the west contain higher levels of 
calcium than the proposed Ballard Canyon viticultural area, around 
1,220 ppm, but the lower amounts of clay in the soil in that region 
limit the ability of the vines to uptake the calcium. The soils of the 
Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara viticultural area to the east contain 
calcium levels up to ten times higher than those of the proposed 
Ballard Canyon viticultural area and also have high clay levels, 
enabling an efficient transfer of calcium to the vines.
Summary of Distinguishing Features
    In summary, the evidence provided in the petition indicated that 
the geographic features of the proposed Ballard Canyon viticultural 
area distinguish it from the surrounding regions in each direction. To 
the north, the winds are stronger, the diurnal shifts in temperature 
are lower during the peak growing season, and the soils transition to 
the Shedd-Santa Lucia-Diablo and Toomes-Climara associations. To the 
east, within the Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara viticultural area, the 
average temperature and GDD units are higher, and the soils contain 
more clay and higher levels of nitrogen and potassium. To the south, 
the winds are stronger, the diurnal shifts in temperature are lower 
during the peak growing season, and the soils are of the Shedd-Santa 
Lucia-Diablo and Toomes-Climara associations. To the west, within the 
Sta. Rita Hills viticultural area, the winds are significantly 
stronger, the GDD units are fewer and temperatures are significantly 
lower, the diurnal shifts in temperature are significantly lower during 
the peak growing season, and the soils are sandier, less acidic, and 
lower in potassium.

Comparison of the Proposed Ballard Canyon Viticultural Area to the 
Existing Santa Ynez Valley and Central Coast Viticultural Areas

Santa Ynez Valley Viticultural Area
    The Santa Ynez Valley viticultural area was established by T.D. 
ATF-132, which published in the Federal Register on April 15, 1983 (48 
FR 16252). The Santa Ynez Valley viticultural area encompasses the Sta. 
Rita Hills and the Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara viticultural areas, as 
well as the proposed Ballard Canyon viticultural area.
    According to T.D. ATF-132, the Santa Ynez Valley viticultural area 
is a valley that surrounds the Santa Ynez River and is bounded by the 
Purisima Hills and

[[Page 3375]]

San Rafael Mountains to the north, Lake Cachuma and the Los Padres 
National Forest to the east, the Santa Ynez Mountains to the south, and 
the Santa Rita Hills to the west. Vineyards are planted on elevations 
ranging from 200 feet along the Santa Ynez River to 1,500 feet in the 
foothills of the San Rafael Mountains. The Santa Ynez Valley 
viticultural area has seven major soil associations, but vineyards are 
primarily planted on soils of the Positas-Ballard-Santa Ynez, Chamise-
Arnold-Crow Hill, Shedd-Santa Lucia-Diablo, and Sorrento-Mocho-
Camarillo series. The Santa Ynez Valley viticultural area has less 
marine influence from the Pacific Ocean than the more coastal regions 
to the west because the hills to the west of the region prevent much of 
the marine influence from reaching deep into the valley, resulting in a 
less moderated climate and overall warmer temperatures than those of 
areas closer to the coast. Even without a heavy marine influence, fog 
is still common at elevations between 1,000 and 1,200 feet. The valley 
averages 2,680 GDD units annually, making it a Region II area on the 
Winkler scale.
    The proposed Ballard Canyon viticultural area is located in the 
center of the Santa Ynez Valley viticultural area and shares some broad 
characteristics of the larger Santa Ynez Valley viticultural area. Like 
much of the Santa Ynez Valley viticultural area, the proposed Ballard 
Canyon viticultural area is sheltered from the strongest marine 
influence of the Pacific Ocean and is warmer than the coastal regions. 
However, due to its much smaller size and more inland location, the 
geographic features of the proposed Ballard Canyon viticultural area 
are more uniform. The proposed viticultural area is a region of north-
south ranging hills and maze-like canyons, compared to the more level 
topography of the Santa Ynez Valley as a whole. In contrast to the 
varied soils of the Santa Ynez Valley viticultural area, the proposed 
Ballard Canyon viticultural area soils are predominately of the 
Chamise-Arnold-Crow Hill association. In addition, due to its more 
central location within the Santa Ynez Valley, the proposed 
viticultural area is also warmer than the western portion of the Santa 
Ynez Valley (Sta. Rita Hills viticultural area) and cooler than the 
eastern region (Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara viticultural area).
Central Coast Viticultural Area
    The large, 1 million-acre Central Coast viticultural area was 
established by T.D. ATF-216, which published in the Federal Register on 
October 24, 1985 (50 FR 43128). The Central Coast viticultural area 
encompasses the California counties of Monterey, Santa Cruz, Santa 
Clara, Alameda, San Benito, San Luis Obispo, and Santa Barbara, and it 
contains 27 established American viticultural areas. T.D. ATF-216 
describes the Central Coast viticultural area as extending from Santa 
Barbara to the San Francisco Bay area, and east to the California 
Coastal Ranges. The only distinguishing feature of the California Coast 
viticultural area addressed in T.D. ATF-216 is that all of the included 
counties experience marine climate influence due to their proximity to 
the Pacific Ocean.
    The proposed Ballard Canyon viticultural area, due to its location 
within Santa Barbara County, is located within the Central Coast 
viticultural area. Although the north-south ranges of the proposed 
Ballard Canyon viticultural area block some of the marine influence 
characteristic of the Central Coast viticultural area, viticulture in 
the region is still affected by slight breezes and mild gusts from the 
Pacific Ocean that reach the area during the growing season. The 
proposed viticultural area has greater uniformity in geographical 
features such as wind, temperature and soils.

TTB Determination

    TTB concludes that the petition to establish the approximately 
7,800-acre Ballard Canyon 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 they are listed 
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, ``Ballard Canyon,'' 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 the name ``Ballard Canyon'' 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 name as an appellation of origin if this proposed rule is 
adopted as a final rule. TTB does not believe that ``Ballard,'' 
standing alone, should have viticultural significance if the proposed 
viticultural area is established, due to the widespread use of 
``Ballard'' as a geographical name. GNIS shows the name ``Ballard'' 
used in reference to over 300 locations in 44 States. Accordingly, the 
proposed part 9 regulatory text set forth in this document specifies 
only the full name ``Ballard Canyon'' as a term of viticultural 
significance for purposes of part 4 of the TTB regulations.
    The approval of the proposed Ballard Canyon viticultural area would 
not affect any existing viticultural area, and any bottlers using 
``Santa Ynez Valley'' or ``Central Coast'' as an appellation of origin 
or in a brand name for wines made from grapes grown within the Santa 
Ynez Valley or Central Coast viticultural areas would not be affected 
by the establishment of this new viticultural area. The establishment 
of the proposed Ballard Canyon viticultural area would allow vintners 
to use ``Ballard Canyon,'' ``Santa Ynez Valley,'' and ``Central Coast'' 
as appellations of origin for wines made from grapes grown within the 
proposed Ballard Canyon 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, at least 85 percent 
of the wine must be derived from grapes grown within the area 
represented by that name, and the wine must meet the other conditions 
listed in 27 CFR 4.25(e)(3). If the wine is not eligible for labeling 
with a viticultural area name and that name appears in the brand name, 
then the label is not in compliance and the bottler must change the 
brand name and obtain approval of a new label. Similarly, if the 
viticultural area name appears in another reference on the label in a 
misleading manner, the bottler would have to obtain approval of a new 
label.
    Different rules apply if a wine has a brand name containing a 
viticultural area name 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 it

[[Page 3376]]

should establish the proposed viticultural area. TTB is also interested 
in receiving comments on the sufficiency and accuracy of the name, 
boundary, soils, climate, and other required information submitted in 
support of the petition. In addition, given the proposed Ballard Canyon 
viticultural area's location within the existing Santa Ynez Valley and 
Central Coast 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 Santa Ynez Valley and Central Coast 
viticultural areas. TTB is also interested in comments whether the 
geographic features of the proposed viticultural area are so 
distinguishable from the surrounding Santa Ynez Valley and Central 
Coast viticultural areas that the proposed Ballard Canyon 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 Ballard Canyon viticultural area on wine labels that include 
the term ``Ballard Canyon'' 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 (please note that TTB has a new address for 
comments submitted by U.S. Mail):
     Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: You may send comments via the 
online comment form posted with this notice within Docket No. TTB-2013-
0001 on ``Regulations.gov,'' the Federal e-rulemaking portal, at http://www.regulations.gov. A direct link to that docket is available under 
Notice No. 132 on the TTB Web site at http://www.ttb.gov/wine/wine_rulemaking.shtml">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 ``User Guide'' under ``How 
to Use this Site.''
     U.S. Mail: You may send comments via postal mail to the 
Director, Regulations and Rulings Division, Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and 
Trade Bureau, 1310 G Street NW., Box 12, Washington, DC 20005.
     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. 132 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.
    In your comment, please clearly state if you are commenting for 
yourself or on behalf of an association, business, or other entity. If 
you are commenting 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 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

    TTB will post, and you may view, copies of this notice, selected 
supporting materials, and any online or mailed comments received about 
this proposal within Docket No. TTB-2013-0001 on the Federal e-
rulemaking portal, Regulations.gov, at http://www.regulations.gov. 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. 132. You may 
also reach the relevant docket through the Regulations.gov search page 
at http://www.regulations.gov. For information on how to use 
Regulations.gov, click on the site's Help or FAQ tabs.
    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-inch 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

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

    Authority: 27 U.S.C. 205.

[[Page 3377]]

Subpart C--Approved American Viticultural Areas

0
2. Subpart C is amended by adding Sec.  9.---- to read as follows:


Sec.  9.----  Ballard Canyon.

    (a) Name. The name of the viticultural area described in this 
section is ``Ballard Canyon''. For purposes of part 4 of this chapter, 
``Ballard Canyon'' is a term of viticultural significance.
    (b) Approved maps. The three United States Geological Survey (USGS) 
1:24,000 scale topographic maps used to determine the boundary of the 
Ballard Canyon viticultural area are titled:
    (1) Los Olivos, CA, 1995;
    (2) Zaca Creek, Calif., 1959; and
    (3) Solvang, CA, 1995.
    (c) Boundary. The Ballard Canyon viticultural area is located in 
Santa Barbara County, California. The boundary of the Ballard Canyon 
viticultural area is as described below:
    (1) The beginning point is on the Los Olivos map at the 
intersection of State Route 154 and Foxen Canyon Road, section 23, T7N/
R31W.
    (2) From the beginning point, proceed southwesterly in a straight 
line approximately 0.3 mile, crossing onto the Zaca Creek map, to the 
intersection of Ballard Canyon Road and an unnamed, unimproved road 
known locally as Los Olivos Meadows Drive, T7N/R31W; then
    (3) Proceed south-southeasterly in a straight line approximately 1 
mile, crossing onto the Los Olivos map, to a marked, unnamed large 
structure located within a circular-shaped 920-foot contour line in the 
southwest corner of section 26, T7N/R31W; then
    (4) Proceed south-southwesterly in a straight line approximately 
1.25 miles, crossing onto the Zaca Creek map, to the marked by the 
``Ball'' 801-foot elevation control point, T6N/R31W; then
    (5) Proceed south-southwesterly in a straight line approximately 
1.45 miles, crossing onto the Solvang map, to a marked, unnamed 775-
foot peak, T6N/R31W; then
    (6) Proceed south-southwesterly in a straight line approximately 
0.55 mile to a marked communication tower'' located within the 760-foot 
contour line, T6N/R31W; then
    (7) Proceed west-southwesterly in a straight line approximately 
0.25 mile to the intersection of Chalk Hill Road and an unnamed light-
duty road known locally as Mesa Vista Lane, T6N/R31W; then
    (8) Proceed west-southwesterly in a straight line approximately 0.6 
mile to the southern-most terminus of a marked, unnamed stream known 
locally as Ballard Creek, T6N/R31W; then
    (9) Proceed northerly (upstream) along Ballard Creek approximately 
0.35 miles to the creek's intersection with the 400-foot contour line, 
T6N/R31W; then
    (10) Proceed southerly and then northwesterly along the 400-foot 
contour line approximately 1.5 miles, to the contour line's first 
intersection with Ballard Canyon Road, T6N/R31W; then
    (11) Proceed north-northeasterly in a straight line approximately 
1.7 miles, crossing onto the Zaca Creek map, to the western-most 
intersection of the 800-foot contour line and the T6N/T7N boundary line 
(approximately 0.9 mile east of U.S Highway 101); then
    (12) Proceed west along the T6N/T7N boundary line approximately 0.4 
miles to the boundary line's third intersection with the 600-foot 
contour line (approximately 0.5 mile east of U.S. Highway 101); then
    (13) Proceed northerly along the meandering 600-foot elevation 
contour line to the contour line's intersection with Zaca Creek, T7N/
R31W; then
    (14) Proceed northeasterly in a straight line for approximately 1.2 
miles to the western-most intersection of the southern boundary of the 
Corral de Quati Land Grant and the 1,000-foot contour line 
(approximately 0.4 mile east of U.S. Highway 101), T7N/R31W; then
    (15) Proceed easterly along the meandering 1,000-foot contour line 
approximately 1.5 miles to the contour line's third intersection with 
the southern boundary of the Corral de Quati Land Grant (approximately 
0.1 mile west of State Route 154), section 22, T7N/R31W; then
    (16) Proceed southeasterly in a straight line approximately 0.8 
miles, crossing onto the Los Olivos map, returning to the beginning 
point.

    Signed: January 8, 2013.
John J. Manfreda,
Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2013-00699 Filed 1-15-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4810-31-P