[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 191 (Wednesday, October 2, 2013)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 60690-60693]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-23942]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY

Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau

27 CFR Part 9

[Docket No. TTB-2013-0002; T.D. TTB-117; Ref: Notice No. 133]
RIN 1513-AC00


Establishment of the Moon Mountain District Sonoma County 
Viticultural Area

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

ACTION: Final rule; Treasury Decision.

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SUMMARY: The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) establishes 
the approximately 17,633-acre ``Moon Mountain District Sonoma County'' 
viticultural area in Sonoma County, California. The viticultural area 
lies entirely within the larger Sonoma Valley viticultural area and the 
multicounty 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.

DATES: This final rule is effective November 1, 2013.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Karen A. Thornton, Regulations and 
Rulings Division, Alcohol and Tobacco

[[Page 60691]]

Tax and Trade Bureau, 1310 G Street 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 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.

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'' American viticultural area. 
The proposed viticultural area contains approximately 17,663 acres, of 
which approximately 1,500 acres are dedicated to commercially producing 
vineyards. The petition states that there are 40 commercial vineyards 
and 11 bonded wineries located within the proposed viticultural area. 
According to the petition, the distinguishing features of the proposed 
Moon Mountain District Sonoma County viticultural area include its 
topography, geology, climate, and soils.
    TTB notes that the proposed Moon Mountain District Sonoma County 
viticultural area lies completely within the Sonoma Valley viticultural 
area (27 CFR 9.29), which, in turn, is entirely within the larger 
multicounty North Coast viticultural area (27 CFR 9.30). The proposed 
viticultural area does not overlap any other existing or proposed 
viticultural area.

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Comments Received

    TTB published Notice No. 133 in the Federal Register on March 4, 
2013 (78 FR 14046), proposing to establish the Moon Mountain District 
Sonoma County viticultural area. In the notice, TTB summarized the 
evidence from the petition regarding the name, boundary, and 
distinguishing features for the proposed viticultural area. The 
distinguishing features of the proposed viticultural area include 
topography, geology, climate, and soil. The notice also compared the 
distinguishing features of the proposed viticultural area to the 
surrounding areas. For a description of the evidence relating to the 
name, boundary, and distinguishing features of the proposed 
viticultural area and a comparison of the distinguishing features of 
the proposed viticultural area to the surrounding areas, see Notice No. 
133.
    In Notice No. 133, TTB solicited comments on the accuracy of the 
name, boundary, climatic, and other required information submitted in 
support of the petition. In addition, given the proposed viticultural 
area's location within the existing Sonoma Valley and North Coast 
viticultural areas, TTB solicited comments on whether the evidence 
submitted in the petition regarding the distinguishing features of the 
proposed viticultural area sufficiently differentiates the proposed 
viticultural area from the two existing viticultural areas. TTB also 
asked for comments on whether the geographical features of the proposed 
viticultural area are so distinguishable from the surrounding Sonoma 
Valley or North Coast viticultural areas that the proposed Moon 
Mountain District Sonoma County viticultural area should no longer be 
part of the two existing viticultural areas. The comment period closed 
on May 3, 2013.
    In response to Notice No. 133, TTB received a total of 11 comments, 
all of which supported the establishment of the Moon Mountain District 
Sonoma County viticultural area. The commenters included local vintners 
and vineyard owners, the past president of the Sonoma Valley Vintners 
Association, and the Sonoma Valley Visitors Bureau. None of the 
comments addressed the question of whether or not the proposed Moon 
Mountain District Sonoma County viticultural area is so distinguishable 
from the Sonoma

[[Page 60692]]

Valley and North Coast viticultural areas that it should no longer be 
part of either existing viticultural area. TTB received no comments in 
opposition of the Moon Mountain District Sonoma County viticultural 
area as proposed.

TTB Determination

    After careful review of the petition and the comments received in 
response to Notice No. 133, TTB finds that the evidence provided by the 
petitioner supports the establishment of the approximately 17,663-acre 
Moon Mountain District Sonoma County viticultural area. Accordingly, 
under the authority of the FAA Act, section 1111(d) of the Homeland 
Security Act of 2002, and part 4 of the TTB regulations, TTB 
establishes the ``Moon Mountain District Sonoma County'' viticultural 
area in Sonoma County, California, effective 30 days from the 
publication date of this document. TTB also determines that the land 
within the Moon Mountain District Sonoma County viticultural area will 
remain part of both the Sonoma Valley and North Coast viticultural 
areas.

Boundary Description

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

Maps

    The petitioner provided the required maps, and they are listed 
below in the regulatory text.

Impact on Current Wine Labels

    Part 4 of the TTB regulations prohibits any label reference on a 
wine that indicates or implies an origin other than the wine's true 
place of origin. With the establishment of this viticultural area, its 
name, ``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 regulation clarifies this point. Once this final rule becomes 
effective, wine bottlers using the name ``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 name as an appellation of 
origin.
    The establishment of the Moon Mountain District Sonoma County 
viticultural area will 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 will 
not be affected by the establishment of this new viticultural area. The 
establishment of the Moon Mountain District Sonoma County viticultural 
area will 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.
    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 that was used as a brand name on a label 
approved before July 7, 1986. See 27 CFR 4.39(i)(2) for details.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    TTB certifies that this regulation will not have a significant 
economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The 
regulation imposes no new reporting, recordkeeping, or other 
administrative requirement. Any benefit derived from the use of a 
viticultural area name would be the result of a proprietor's efforts 
and consumer acceptance of wines from that area. Therefore, no 
regulatory flexibility analysis is required.

Executive Order 12866

    This rule is not a significant regulatory action as defined by 
Executive Order 12866 of September 30, 1993. Therefore, no regulatory 
assessment is required.

Drafting Information

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

List of Subjects in 27 CFR Part 9

    Wine.

The Regulatory Amendment

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

PART 9--AMERICAN VITICULTURAL AREAS

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

    Authority: 27 U.S.C. 205.

Subpart C--Approved American Viticultural Areas

0
2. Subpart C is amended by adding Sec.  9.231 to read as follows:


Sec.  9.231  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, CA, 1951; photorevised 1968;
    (2) Sonoma, CA, 1951; photorevised 1980
    (3) Glen Ellen, CA, 1954; photorevised 1980; and
    (4) Kenwood, CA, 1954; photorevised 1980.
    (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 described 
below:
    (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 the 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

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    (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 mile 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: August 1, 2013.
John J. Manfreda,
Administrator.
    Approved: September 25, 2013.
Timothy E. Skud,
Deputy Assistant Secretary, (Tax, Trade, and Tariff Policy).
[FR Doc. 2013-23942 Filed 10-1-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4810-31-P