[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 42 (Monday, March 4, 2013)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 14046-14053]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-04905]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY

Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau

27 CFR Part 9

[Docket No. TTB-2013-0002; Notice No. 133]
RIN 1513-AC00


Proposed Establishment of the Moon Mountain District Sonoma 
County 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 17,663-acre ``Moon Mountain District Sonoma 
County'' viticultural area in Sonoma County, California. The proposed 
viticultural area lies completely within the established Sonoma Valley 
viticultural area which, in turn, is within the multi-county North 
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: We must receive your comments on or before May 3, 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-2013-0002 
at ``Regulations.gov,'' the Federal e-rulemaking portal);

[[Page 14047]]

     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 200E, Washington, DC 
20005.
    See the Public Participation section of this notice for specific 
instructions and requirements for submitting comments, and for 
information on how to request a public hearing.
    You may view copies of this notice, selected supporting materials, 
and any comments that TTB receives about this proposal at http://www.regulations.gov within Docket No. TTB-2013-0002. A link to that 
docket is posted on the TTB Web site at http://www.ttb.gov/wine/wine-rulemaking.shtml under Notice No. 133. You also may view copies of this 
notice, all related petitions, maps, or other supporting materials, and 
any comments that TTB receives about this proposal by appointment at 
the TTB Information Resource Center, 1310 G Street, NW., Washington, DC 
20005. Please call 202-453-2270 to make an appointment.

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

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background on Viticultural Areas

TTB Authority

    Section 105(e) of the Federal Alcohol Administration Act (FAA Act), 
27 U.S.C. 205(e), authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury to prescribe 
regulations for the labeling of wine, distilled spirits, and malt 
beverages. The FAA Act provides that these regulations should, among 
other things, prohibit consumer deception and the use of misleading 
statements on labels, and ensure that labels provide the consumer with 
adequate information as to the identity and quality of the product. The 
Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) administers the FAA Act 
pursuant to section 1111(d) of the Homeland Security Act of 2002, 
codified at 6 U.S.C. 531(d). The Secretary has delegated various 
authorities through Treasury Department Order 120-01 (Revised), dated 
January 21, 2003, to the TTB Administrator to perform the functions and 
duties in the administration and enforcement of this law.
    Part 4 of the TTB regulations (27 CFR part 4) allows the 
establishment of definitive viticultural areas and the use of their 
names as appellations of origin on wine labels and in wine 
advertisements. Part 9 of the TTB regulations (27 CFR part 9) sets 
forth standards for the preparation and submission of petitions for the 
establishment or modification of American viticultural areas and lists 
the approved American viticultural areas.

Definition

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

Requirements

    Section 4.25(e)(2) of the TTB regulations outlines the procedure 
for proposing an American viticultural area and provides that any 
interested party may petition TTB to establish a grape-growing region 
as a viticultural area. Section 9.12 of the TTB regulations (27 CFR 
9.12) prescribes standards for petitions for the establishment or 
modification of American viticultural areas. Such petitions must 
include the following:
     Evidence that the area within the proposed viticultural 
area boundary is nationally or locally known by the viticultural area 
name specified in the petition;
     An explanation of the basis for defining the boundary of 
the proposed viticultural area;
     A narrative description of the features of the proposed 
viticultural area that affect viticulture, such as climate, geology, 
soils, physical features, and elevation, 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.

Moon Mountain District Sonoma County Petition

    TTB received a petition from Patrick L. Shabram on behalf of 
Christian Borcher, a representative of the vintners and grape growers 
in the proposed viticultural area, proposing the establishment of the 
``Moon Mountain District Sonoma County'' viticultural area in northern 
California. The proposed viticultural area contains approximately 
17,663 acres, of which 1,500 acres are dedicated to commercially-
producing vineyards. The petition states that there are 11 bonded 
wineries and approximately 40 commercially-producing vineyards 
dispersed throughout the proposed viticultural area. According to the 
petition, the distinguishing features of the proposed viticultural area 
include its topography, geology, climate, and soils. Unless otherwise 
noted, all information and data referenced herein concerning the name, 
boundary, and distinguishing features of the proposed viticultural area 
are from the petition for the proposed Moon Mountain District Sonoma 
County viticultural area and its supporting exhibits.
    TTB notes that the proposed Moon Mountain District Sonoma County 
viticultural area lies completely within the existing Sonoma Valley 
viticultural area (27 CFR 9.29), which, in turn, is entirely within the 
multi-county North Coast (27 CFR 9.30) viticultural area. The proposed 
viticultural area does not overlap with any other existing or proposed 
viticultural area.

Name Evidence

    The proposed viticultural area is named for a particular mountain 
peak in the Mayacmas Mountains, known as Moon Mountain. According to 
the petition, the name ``Moon Mountain'' became officially associated 
with the region of the proposed viticultural area in 1957, when the 
Sonoma County Board of Supervisors renamed Goldstein Road as Moon 
Mountain Drive in response to a petition submitted by residents who 
lived and owned property along the road. The road's new name reflected 
the mountainous region's association with the adjacent valley known as 
the Valley of the Moon. Goldstein Road appears on the 1951 USGS map 
(Sonoma Quadrangle) that was included with the petition for the 
purposes of determining the boundary of the proposed viticultural area.

[[Page 14048]]

According to the USGS map, Goldstein Road does run through the proposed 
viticultural area, running eastward from the Valley of the Moon into 
the Mayacmas Mountains.
    At the time Goldstein Road was renamed Moon Mountain Drive, there 
was no peak in the region officially designated as ``Moon Mountain.'' 
In 2007, residents along Moon Mountain Drive petitioned the USGS Board 
on Geographic Names to designate a particular unnamed peak near the 
easternmost end of the road as ``Moon Mountain,'' noting that several 
residents and businesses along the road incorporated the name ``Moon 
Mountain'' in the names of their homesteads and businesses and that 
``logic suggests there should be a Moon Mountain nearby.'' The Board 
granted the petition and officially designated the peak ``Moon 
Mountain.'' Although the 1951 USGS map (Sonoma Quadrangle) does not 
show any peak labeled ``Moon Mountain,'' the current petition notes 
that Moon Mountain is located near Mount Pisgah, near the easternmost 
end of Moon Mountain Drive. Both Mount Pisgah and Goldstein Road/Moon 
Mountain Drive appear on the USGS map and are within the proposed 
viticultural area boundary. Additionally, a search of the United States 
Geographic Names Information System (USGNIS) does currently list a peak 
in Sonoma County named ``Moon Mountain.''
    Several local businesses within the proposed viticultural area use 
the name ``Moon Mountain,'' including Moon Mountain Retreat, Moon 
Mountain Christmas Tree Farm, and Moon Mountain Studios. According to 
the petitioner, a number of businesses opened in the area between 1978 
and 2004, incorporating ``Moon Mountain'' in their names. The Moon 
Mountain Christmas Tree Farm was established around 1978, the Moon 
Mountain Studios opened in 1994, and the Moon Mountain Retreat opened 
around 2004. The long-standing use of the name ``Moon Mountain'' by 
these businesses demonstrates that residents associated the name ``Moon 
Mountain'' with the area long before the peak was officially designated 
in 2007.
    Because the USGNIS identifies nine other States that have peaks or 
locations known as ``Moon Mountain,'' the petitioner, after discussions 
with TTB, proposed the name ``Moon Mountain District Sonoma County,'' 
in order to distinguish the proposed viticultural area geographically 
and avoid possible consumer confusion with other locations known as 
``Moon Mountain.''

Boundary Evidence

    The proposed Moon Mountain District Sonoma County viticultural area 
is a long, narrow region covering approximately 17,663 acres on the 
western slopes of the Mayacmas Mountains. The proposed viticultural 
area extends from Sugarloaf Ridge in the north to the city of Sonoma in 
the south, and from the Valley of the Moon and Sonoma Valley in the 
west to the shared Sonoma/Napa county line in the east.
    A series of lines drawn between marked points on the USGS map 
defines the northern portion of the proposed boundary and separates the 
proposed viticultural area from the steeper, more rugged slopes of 
Sugarloaf Ridge. The northern portion of the proposed boundary also 
approximates the point where the neighboring Valley of the Moon makes a 
distinct westward turn. According to the petition, this bend in the 
valley is an important feature because regions to the north of the bend 
are more influenced by breezes from the Pacific Ocean, whereas points 
south of the bend, including the proposed viticultural area, are more 
influenced by winds moving inland from San Pablo Bay.
    The eastern portion of the proposed boundary follows the border 
between Sonoma and Napa Counties, along the ridgeline of the Mayacmas 
Mountains. The proposed boundary separates the west-facing slopes of 
the proposed viticultural area from the east-facing slopes on the 
opposite side of the ridge. Additionally, a portion of the proposed 
eastern boundary is shared with the western boundary of the established 
Mt. Veeder viticultural area (27 CFR 9.123), which is located on the 
eastern slopes of the Mayacmas Mountains in Napa County.
    A series of lines drawn between features on the USGS map forms the 
southern portion of the proposed boundary. South of the proposed 
boundary, outside the proposed viticultural area, the terrain is marked 
by lower, rolling hills and flatlands that descend to the Napa Marsh 
along the shoreline of San Pablo Bay.
    The western portion of the proposed boundary follows the 400-foot 
elevation contour line and the 600-foot elevation contour line to 
separate the steeper slopes and higher elevations of the proposed 
viticultural area from the lower, flatter terrain of the Valley of the 
Moon and Sonoma Valley.

Distinguishing Features

    The distinguishing features of the proposed Moon Mountain District 
Sonoma County viticultural area are topography, geology, climate, and 
soils.
Topography
    The proposed Moon Mountain District Sonoma County viticultural area 
is a mountainous region situated on the western slopes of the Mayacmas 
Mountains south of Sugarloaf Ridge. The slope angles of the proposed 
viticultural area are moderate, and elevations range from approximately 
400 feet near the city of Sonoma, to the south and southwest, to 2,200 
feet along the highest ridges near the shared Sonoma/Napa County line 
that forms the eastern boundary of the proposed viticultural area. The 
high elevations and moderate slope angles allow cool air to drain off 
the proposed viticultural area at night and into the adjoining Valley 
of the Moon and Sonoma Valley, reducing frost in the mountains during 
the late spring and early fall.
    The terrain of the proposed viticultural area predominately faces 
to the west, allowing the vineyards to receive sunlight in the 
afternoon, when solar radiation is more intense and less likely to be 
blocked by fog. High levels of solar radiation cause grapes to 
accumulate sugars faster, ripen earlier, and retain less acid at 
harvest, so growers must account for solar radiation exposure when 
determining the optimal harvest period from their crops. (See ``An 
Introduction to Environmental Influences on Ripening in Grapes: Focus 
on Wine and Phenolics,'' by Julie M. Tarara and Jungmin Lee, United 
States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, August 
18, 2011.)
    To the north of the proposed viticultural area, the mountain sides 
beyond Sugarloaf Ridge become too steep for commercial viticulture, 
with elevation changes of 1,100 feet in less than 900 feet of 
horizontal distance. To the east, the terrain of the established Mt. 
Veeder viticultural area is similar to that of the proposed 
viticultural area, but the easterly slope orientation of the Mt. Veeder 
viticultural area means the vineyards receive most of their sunlight 
during the morning, when solar radiation is less intense. To the south, 
the elevation gradually descends and the terrain is characterized by 
low hills and flatlands and then the wetlands of the Napa Marsh along 
the shores of San Pablo Bay. To the west are the lower, flatter floors 
of the Valley of the Moon and Sonoma Valley.
Geology
    The geology of the proposed Moon Mountain District Sonoma County 
viticultural area is dominated by the Sonoma Volcanic Group, a series 
of extrusive igneous rock formations. Formations in this group are 
primarily

[[Page 14049]]

created from Pliocene andesitic and basaltic lava flows. Additional 
formations consist of rhyolite lava flows and ash mixed with andesitic 
and basaltic lava flows. As these rock formations weather over time, 
they form rocky soils that provide good drainage for vineyards.
    To the immediate north of the proposed viticultural area, the 
geology is similar to that of the proposed viticultural area, but only 
at the lowest elevations. As the elevations to the north increase, the 
geology is dominated by the Franciscan Assemblage, which is composed of 
sedimentary and metamorphic rocks of the Jurassic and Cretaceous 
Periods, particularly serpentine rocks.
    To the east of the proposed viticultural area, within the 
established Mt. Veeder viticultural area, the geology is characterized 
by the Great Valley Sequence. The Great Valley Sequence is comprised 
mainly of sedimentary rock from the Lower Cretaceous and Upper Jurassic 
Periods.
    To the south of the proposed viticultural area, the geological 
formations are of the Huichica Formation. Rocks of this formation are 
sedimentary. Alluvial fan deposits and fluvial deposits from the 
Quaternary Period are also present in this region.
    To the west of the proposed viticultural area, the floors of the 
Valley of the Moon and Sonoma Valley are dominated by alluvial and 
fluvial sediments and sedimentary rock formations.
Climate
    The climate of the proposed Moon Mountain District Sonoma County 
viticultural area is moderated by coastal influences from two sources--
the Pacific Ocean and San Pablo Bay. Breezes from the Pacific Ocean 
travel from the north across the Santa Rosa Plains and into the Valley 
of the Moon, which is adjacent to the western boundary of the proposed 
viticultural area. Coastal air from San Pablo Bay moves from the south 
across the Napa Marsh and into Sonoma Valley, which is adjacent to the 
southern and southwestern boundary of the proposed viticultural area.
    Although cooling marine air and fog enters the proposed 
viticultural area from two directions, the climate of the proposed 
viticultural area is generally warmer than the surrounding area due to 
its inland location and higher elevations. Because the proposed Moon 
Mountain District Sonoma County viticultural area is located at the 
southern end of the Valley of the Moon and the northern end of Sonoma 
Valley, the marine breezes and fog from both the Pacific Ocean and San 
Pablo Bay are warmer and less intense by the time they reach the 
proposed viticultural area. Additionally, the higher elevation of the 
proposed viticultural area places it above most of the cooling marine 
fog, which is heaviest in the neighboring valleys.
    The petition included a comparison of growing degree day \1\ (GDD) 
accumulations from locations within the proposed viticultural area as 
well as from the regions to the northwest, west, and south. Data was 
not provided for areas to the immediate north and east of the proposed 
viticultural area. The data was gathered from weather stations from 
2006 through 2010. TTB prepared the following table using data included 
in the petition.
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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).

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                       Average growing       Winkler
        Weather station site          degree days 2006-  classification
                                            2010             region
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Outside Proposed Viticultural Area:
    Santa Rosa\2\ (Northwest).......              1801                 I
    Bennett Valley viticultural area              2096                 I
     (West).........................
    Los Carneros viticultural area                2269                 I
     (South)........................
    Nicholson Ranch (South).........              2811                II
    PNA Vineyards (South)...........              2696                II
Within Proposed Viticultural Area:
    Rancho Salina...................              2964                II
    Moon Mountain Feather...........              3326               III
    Moon Mountain Barn..............              2908               III
    Kamen Vineyards.................              3018               III
------------------------------------------------------------------------
\2\ Because data from 2006 was incomplete, the average GDD accumulation
  for Santa Rosa covers only 2007 through 2010.

    The data in the table indicates that locations within the proposed 
Moon Mountain District Sonoma County have greater GDD accumulations 
than locations to the northwest and south. Three of the four proposed 
viticultural area vineyards in the table fall in the warm Region III 
category, and the fourth is within the moderately cool Region II. By 
contrast, three of the five locations outside the proposed viticultural 
area are classified in the very cool Region I. The regions to the 
northwest and south of the proposed viticultural area are closer to the 
Pacific Ocean and San Pablo Bay and receive more of the cooling marine 
breezes, and the locations to the west are at lower elevations and are 
more affected by marine fog. High GDD accumulations make the proposed 
viticultural area suitable for the growing warmer weather Zinfandel 
grapes, which are not commonly grown in the cooler surrounding regions.
    The petition also compared the lowest growing season temperatures 
recorded at four vineyards within the proposed viticultural area to 
those of two vineyard locations outside the proposed viticultural area 
to the south and southwest in the adjacent Sonoma Valley. Data was not 
available for the surrounding regions to the north and east. The data 
was collected in April and October during 2009 and 2010. The two months 
were chosen because temperatures generally fall to their lowest points 
at the beginning and end of the growing season.

[[Page 14050]]



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                                                               2009                            2010
             Station                 Elevation   ---------------------------------------------------------------
                                      (feet)           April          October          April          October
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Within proposed viticultural
 area:
    Rancho Salina...............           (\1\)            36.3            43.3            35.3            45.5
    Moon Mountain Feather.......           1,500            34.6            40.6            34.8            46.1
    Moon Mountain Barn..........           1,050            33.4            37.7            33.9            43.3
    Kamen Vineyards.............     1,000-1,300            34.6            39.3            35.4            44.7
Outside proposed viticultural
 area:
    Nicholson Ranch.............             185            29.3            37.2            33.3           (\1\)
    PNA Vineyard................              25            33.3           (\1\)            33.3           31.7
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\1\ Not available.

    As shown in the table, the lowest temperatures recorded for the 
four vineyards within the proposed Moon Mountain District Sonoma County 
viticultural are generally warmer than those of the two vineyards 
outside the proposed viticultural area. According to the petition, the 
warmer temperatures can be attributed to the higher elevations of the 
proposed viticultural area. At night, the heavier cool air drains off 
the higher elevations and settles in the lower elevations of the 
neighboring Valley of the Moon and Sonoma Valley, lowering the valleys' 
temperatures. Warmer temperatures at the beginning of the growing 
season promote bud break and reduce the risk of frost damage to tender 
new growth, and warmer temperatures at the end of the growing season 
allow more maturation time for the fruit.
Soils
    The soils of the proposed Moon Mountain District Sonoma County 
viticultural area are primarily derived from volcanic rock. Soils 
derived from sedimentary rock, including alluvium from sedimentary 
sources, make up less than one half of one percent of the soils of the 
proposed viticultural area. The following table lists the various soil 
series found within the proposed viticultural area.

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                                                                Acreage within proposed      Percent of total
                          Soil series                              viticultural area        viticultural area
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Goulding......................................................                    6,150                    36.55
Goulding......................................................                    3,521                    23.40
Goulding Toomes Complex.......................................                    2,629                    15.62
Rock Land.....................................................                    3,937                     23.4
Red Hill......................................................                    2,923                    17.37
Spreckels.....................................................                    1,478                     8.78
Forward.......................................................                    1,242                     7.38
Laniger.......................................................                      717                     4.26
Cohasset......................................................                      110                     0.65
Toomes........................................................                       83                     0.50
Raynor........................................................                       59                     0.35
Suther........................................................                       58                     0.35
Huichica......................................................                       28                     0.17
Kidd..........................................................                       18                     0.11
Clear Lake....................................................                       16                     0.09
Henneke.......................................................                        6                     0.03
Other (quarries)..............................................                        3                     0.02
                                                               -------------------------------------------------
    TOTAL.....................................................                   16,827                      100
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    The most common soils within the proposed viticultural area are 
Goulding series soils, including Goulding Toomes Complex soils. These 
soils are described in the petition as dark brown soils of volcanic 
origin. Red Hills soils, the second-most common soil series within the 
proposed viticultural area, are similar in appearance to Goulding soils 
and are also derived from volcanic sources. Rock Land soils are found 
at high elevations and are described as ryholithic tuff rock covered 
with light colored soils, including Forward, Kidd, and Laniger series 
soils. Small amounts of Rock Land soils are also found at lower 
elevations within the proposed viticultural area, primarily as a result 
of weathering of material from the higher ridges. Spreckels and Forward 
series soils have similar grayish-brown coloring and are both found on 
hills and slopes with tuff sediment. All of these volcanic soils are 
described as thin, well drained, loamy soils. According to the 
petition, thin, well drained soils prevent the roots of the vines from 
penetrating deeply and result in greater stress on the vine and less 
vigorous growth. Less vigorous growth leads to smaller fruit yields, 
but the flavors of the grapes are highly concentrated.
    To both the north and east of the proposed Moon Mountain District 
Sonoma County viticultural area, the soils are primarily sedimentary in 
origin. These soils are derived from shale and sandstone, which are not 
present within the proposed Moon Mountain District Sonoma County 
viticultural area. To the south and west, in the Valley of the Moon and 
Sonoma Valley, the soils are predominately alluvial, including Hire, 
Huichica, and Tuscan series.

Comparison of the Proposed Moon Mountain District Sonoma County 
Viticultural Area to the Existing Sonoma Valley and North Coast 
Viticultural Areas

Sonoma Valley Viticultural Area
    The Sonoma Valley viticultural area was established by T.D. ATF-96, 
which was published in the Federal Register on December 4, 1981 (46 FR 
59238). It

[[Page 14051]]

is located in southeastern Sonoma County, California, and contains both 
valleys and upland terrain. The Sonoma Valley viticultural area is 
bordered by the Santa Rosa Plain to the north, San Pablo Bay to the 
south, the Sonoma Mountains to the west, and the Sonoma/Napa County 
line, along the ridge of the Mayacmas Mountains, to the east. At the 
center of the viticultural area are the Valley of the Moon and Sonoma 
Valley which, according to the current petition, are often collectively 
referred to as ``Sonoma Valley.'' T.D. ATF-96 states that the Sonoma 
Valley viticultural area is shielded from the heat of California's 
Central Valley, to the east, by the Mayacmas Mountains. The Sonoma 
Mountains, to the west, prevent heavy marine fog from intruding into 
most of the viticultural area while still allowing cool breezes and 
lighter fogs to penetrate the area. The protected nature of the 
viticultural area leads to moderate summer and winter temperatures that 
distinguish it from the surrounding regions.
    The proposed Moon Mountain District Sonoma County viticultural area 
is located entirely within the eastern portion of the Sonoma Valley 
viticultural area, along the western slopes of the Mayacmas Mountains. 
A portion of the proposed viticultural area's eastern boundary is 
shared with the eastern boundary of the Sonoma Valley viticultural 
area. Like the Sonoma Valley viticultural area, the proposed 
viticultural area benefits from the moderating effect of cool breezes 
and light fogs from both the Pacific Ocean and San Pablo Bay and is 
protected from the heaviest marine intrusion by the Sonoma Mountains. 
However, the proposed Moon Mountain District Sonoma County viticultural 
area is comprised entirely of moderately steep mountain slopes, whereas 
the Sonoma Valley viticultural area also contains the lower, flatter 
Valley of the Moon and Sonoma Valley. Additionally, the alluvial soils 
that are prevalent in the lowland portions of the Sonoma Valley 
viticultural area are scarce within the proposed viticultural area, 
which primarily contains volcanic soils.
North Coast Viticultural Area
    The North Coast viticultural area was established by T.D. ATF-145, 
which was published in the Federal Register on September 21, 1983 (48 
FR 42973). It includes all or portions of Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino, 
Solano, Lake, and Marin Counties, California. TTB notes that the North 
Coast viticultural area contains all or portions of approximately 40 
established viticultural areas, in addition to the area covered by the 
proposed Moon Mountain District Sonoma County viticultural area. In the 
conclusion of the ``Geographical Features'' section of the preamble, 
T.D. ATF-145 states that ``[d]ue to the enormous size of the North 
Coast, variations exist in climatic features such as temperature, 
rainfall, and fog intrusion.''
    The proposed Moon Mountain District Sonoma County viticultural area 
shares the basic viticultural feature of the North Coast viticultural 
area: the marine influence that moderates growing season temperatures 
in the area. However, the proposed viticultural area is much more 
uniform in its geography, geology, climate, and soils than the diverse 
multicounty North Coast viticultural area. In this regard, TTB notes 
that T.D. ATF-145 specifically states that ``approval of this 
viticultural area does not preclude approval of additional areas, 
either wholly contained with the North Coast, or partially overlapping 
the North Coast,'' and that ``smaller viticultural areas tend to be 
more uniform in their geographical and climatic characteristics, while 
very large areas such as the North Coast tend to exhibit generally 
similar characteristics, in this case the influence of maritime air off 
of the Pacific Ocean and San Pablo Bay.'' Thus, the proposal to 
establish the Moon Mountain District Sonoma County viticultural area is 
not inconsistent with what was envisioned when the North Coast 
viticultural area was established.

TTB Determination

    TTB concludes that the petition to establish the 17,663-acre Moon 
Mountain District Sonoma County viticultural area merits consideration 
and public comment, as invited in this notice.

Boundary Description

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

Maps

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

Impact on Current Wine Labels

    Part 4 of the TTB regulations prohibits any label reference on a 
wine that indicates or implies an origin other than the wine's true 
place of origin. If TTB establishes this proposed viticultural area, 
its name, ``Moon Mountain District Sonoma County,'' 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 ``Moon Mountain District Sonoma County'' 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 
approval of the proposed Moon Mountain District Sonoma County 
viticultural area would not affect any existing viticultural area, and 
any bottlers using ``Sonoma Valley'' or ``North Coast'' as an 
appellation of origin or in a brand name for wines made from grapes 
grown within the Sonoma Valley or North Coast viticultural areas would 
not be affected by the establishment of this new viticultural area. The 
establishment of the Moon Mountain District Sonoma County viticultural 
area would allow vintners to use ``Moon Mountain District Sonoma 
County,'' ``Sonoma Valley,'' and ``North Coast'' as appellations of 
origin for wines made from grapes grown within the Moon Mountain 
District Sonoma County viticultural area if the wines meet the 
eligibility requirements for the appellation.
    On the other hand, TTB does not believe that any single part of the 
proposed viticultural area name standing alone, that is, ``Moon 
Mountain,'' ``Moon Mountain District,'' or ``Sonoma County,'' would 
have viticultural significance in relation to this proposed 
viticultural area because: (1) according to the USGNIS, the ``Moon 
Mountain'' area name refers to 22 locations, including 14 mountain 
peaks in 9 States, so TTB believes that a determination of ``Moon 
Mountain'' or ``Moon Mountain District'' as terms of viticultural 
significance could lead to consumer and industry confusion and should 
be avoided; and (2) ``Sonoma County,'' standing alone, is already a 
term of viticultural significance under 27 CFR 4.39(i)(3), which states 
that ``[a] name has viticultural significance * * * when it is the name 
of a state or county * * *.'' Therefore, the proposed part 9 regulatory 
text set forth in this document specifies only ``Moon Mountain District 
Sonoma County'' as a term of viticultural significance for purposes of 
part 4 of the TTB regulations.
    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

[[Page 14052]]

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 term of viticultural significance that 
was used as a brand name on a label approved before July 7, 1986. See 
27 CFR 4.39(i)(2) for details.

Public Participation

Comments Invited

    TTB invites comments from interested members of the public on 
whether it should establish the proposed viticultural area. TTB is also 
interested in receiving comments on the sufficiency and accuracy of the 
name, boundary, topography, soils, climate, and other required 
information submitted in support of the petition. In addition, given 
the proposed Moon Mountain District Sonoma County viticultural area's 
location within the existing North Coast and Sonoma Valley 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 
North Coast and Sonoma Valley viticultural areas. TTB is also 
interested in comments on whether the geographic features of the 
proposed viticultural area are so distinguishable from the surrounding 
North Coast and Sonoma Valley viticultural areas that the proposed Moon 
Mountain District Sonoma County 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 Moon Mountain District Sonoma County viticultural area on wine 
labels that include the term ``Moon Mountain District Sonoma County'' 
as discussed above under Impact on Current Wine Labels, TTB is 
particularly interested in comments regarding whether there will be a 
conflict between the proposed area name and currently used brand names. 
If a commenter believes that a conflict will arise, the comment should 
describe the nature of that conflict, including any anticipated 
negative economic impact that approval of the proposed viticultural 
area will have on an existing viticultural enterprise. TTB is also 
interested in receiving suggestions for ways to avoid conflicts, for 
example, by adopting a modified or different name for the viticultural 
area.

Submitting Comments

    You may submit comments on this notice by using one of the 
following three methods:
     Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: You may send comments via the 
online comment form posted with this notice within Docket No. TTB-2013-
0002 on ``Regulations.gov,'' the Federal e-rulemaking portal, at http://www.regulations.gov. A direct link to that docket is available under 
Notice No. 133 on the TTB Web site at http://www.ttb.gov/wine/wine-rulemaking.shtml. Supplemental files may be attached to comments 
submitted via Regulations.gov. For complete instructions on how to use 
Regulations.gov, visit the site and click on the ``Help'' tab at the 
top of the page.
     U.S. Mail: You may send comments via postal mail to the 
Director, Regulations and Rulings Division, Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and 
Trade Bureau, 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 200E, Washington, DC 20005.
    Please submit your comments by the closing date shown above in this 
notice. Your comments must reference Notice No. 133 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.
    Your comment must clearly state if you are commenting on your own 
behalf or on behalf of an organization, business, or other entity. If 
you are commenting on behalf of an organization, business, or other 
entity, your comment must include the entity's name as well as your 
name and position title. If you comment via Regulations.gov, please 
enter the entity's name in the ``Organization'' blank of the online 
comment form. If you comment via postal mail or hand delivery/courier, 
please submit your entity's comment on letterhead.
    You may also write to the Administrator before the comment closing 
date to ask for a public hearing. The Administrator reserves the right 
to determine whether to hold a public hearing.

Confidentiality

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

Public Disclosure

    On the Federal e-rulemaking portal, Regulations.gov, TTB will post, 
and you may view, copies of this notice, selected supporting materials, 
and any electronic or mailed comments TTB receives about this proposal. 
A direct link to that docket is available on the TTB Web site at http://www.ttb.gov/wine/wine-rulemaking.shtml under Notice No. 133. You may 
also reach the docket containing this notice and the posted comments 
received on it through the Regulations.gov search page at http://www.regulations.gov.
    All posted comments will display the commenter's name, organization 
(if any), city, and State, and, in the case of mailed comments, all 
address information, including email addresses. TTB may omit voluminous 
attachments or material that the Bureau considers unsuitable for 
posting.
    You may also view copies of this notice, all related petitions, 
maps and other supporting materials, and any electronic or mailed 
comments that TTB receives about this proposal by appointment at the 
TTB Information Resource Center, 1310 G Street, NW., Washington, DC 
20005. You may also obtain copies at 20 cents per 8.5- x 11-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

[[Page 14053]]

Executive Order 12866. Therefore, no regulatory assessment is required.

Drafting Information

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

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.

Subpart C--Approved American Viticultural Areas

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


Sec.  9.----  Moon Mountain District Sonoma County.

    (a) Name. The name of the viticultural area described in this 
section is ``Moon Mountain District Sonoma County''. For purposes of 
part 4 of this chapter, ``Moon Mountain District Sonoma County'' is a 
term of viticultural significance.
    (b) Approved maps. The four United States Geological Survey (USGS) 
1:24,000 scale topographic maps used to determine the boundary of the 
Moon Mountain District Sonoma County viticultural area are titled:
    (1) Rutherford, Calif., 1951, photorevised 1968;
    (2) Sonoma, Calif., 1951, photorevised 1980;
    (3) Glen Ellen, Calif., 1954, photorevised 1980;
    (4) Kenwood, Calif., 1954, photorevised 1980; and
    (c) Boundary. The Moon Mountain District Sonoma County viticultural 
area is located in Sonoma County, California. The boundary of the Moon 
Mountain District Sonoma County viticultural area is as follows:
    (1) The beginning point is on the Rutherford map at the 2,188-foot 
elevation point located on the Sonoma-Napa County boundary line in 
section 26, T7N/R6W. From the beginning point, proceed southerly along 
the meandering Sonoma-Napa County boundary line, crossing onto the 
Sonoma map, to intersection of the county line and Lovall Valley Road, 
Huichica Land Grant; then
    (2) Continue along the Sonoma-Napa County boundary line 
approximately 0.2 mile to the intersection of the county line and the 
end of an unnamed light-duty road; then
    (3) Proceed southwesterly in a straight line approximately 1.2 
miles, passing through the marked 692-foot peak, to the intersection of 
the line with an unnamed light-duty road known locally as Thornsberry 
Road; then
    (4) Proceed north-northwesterly in a straight line approximately 1 
mile to the intersection of two unnamed light-duty roads known locally 
as Castle Road and Bartholomew Road (marked by the 218-foot elevation 
point); then
    (5) Proceed west in a straight line approximately 1.4 miles, 
passing through the southern-most quarry marked on Schocken Hill, to 
the intersection of the line with the 400-foot elevation line, Pueblo 
Lands of Sonoma; then
    (6) Proceed northwesterly along the meandering 400-foot elevation 
line for approximately 7.4 miles, crossing onto the Glen Ellen map and 
then the Kenwood map, to the intersection of the contour line with 
Nelligan Road, near the mouth of Nunns Canyon, T6N/R6W; then
    (7) Proceed northerly on Nelligan Road approximately 0.6 miles to 
the intersection of the road with the 600-foot elevation line; then
    (8) Proceed northwest along the 600-foot elevation line 
approximately 1.8 miles to its second intersection with a marked trail 
(near a marked quarry and approximately 0.2 mile southeasterly of a 
marked 973-foot peak), Los Guilicos Land Grant; then
    (9) Proceed east-northeasterly in a straight line approximately 0.8 
miles to the marked 1,483-foot peak; then
    (10) Proceed east-southeasterly in a straight line approximately 
1.5 miles, crossing onto the Rutherford map, returning to the beginning 
point.

    Signed: February 26, 2013.
Mary G. Ryan,
Acting Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2013-04905 Filed 3-1-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4810-31-P