[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 125 (Monday, June 30, 2014)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 36683-36689]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-15212]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY

Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau

27 CFR Part 9

[Docket No. TTB-2014-0006; Notice No. 144]
RIN 1513-AC09


Proposed Establishment of the Fountaingrove District 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 38,000-acre ``Fountaingrove District'' 
viticultural area in Sonoma County, California. The proposed 
viticultural area lies entirely within the larger, 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. TTB invites 
comments on this proposed addition to its regulations.

DATES: Comments must be received by August 29, 2014.

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-2014-0006 
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 or obtain or review 
copies of the petition and supporting materials.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Karen A. Thornton, Regulations and 
Rulings Division, Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, 1310 G 
Street NW., Box 12, Washington, DC 20005; 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 
December 10, 2013, 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) authorizes 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 to TTB of petitions 
for the establishment or modification of American viticultural areas 
(AVAs) and lists the approved AVAs.

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 the 
wine's geographic origin. The establishment of AVAs allows vintners to 
describe more accurately the origin of their wines to consumers and 
helps consumers to identify wines they may purchase. Establishment of 
an AVA 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 the establishment of an AVA and provides that any 
interested party may petition TTB to establish a grape-growing region 
as an AVA. Section 9.12 of the TTB regulations (27 CFR 9.12) prescribes 
the standards for petitions requesting the establishment or 
modification of AVAs. Petitions to establish an AVA must include the 
following:
     Evidence that the region within the proposed AVA boundary 
is nationally or locally known by the AVA name specified in the 
petition;
     An explanation of the basis for defining the boundary of 
the proposed AVA;
     A narrative description of the features of the proposed 
AVA that affect viticulture, such as climate, geology, soils, physical 
features, and elevation, that make the proposed AVA distinctive and 
distinguish it from adjacent areas outside the proposed AVA;
     The appropriate United States Geological Survey (USGS) 
map(s) showing the location of the proposed AVA, with the boundary of 
the proposed AVA clearly drawn thereon; and
     A detailed narrative description of the proposed AVA 
boundary based on USGS map markings.

Fountaingrove District Petition

    TTB received a petition from Douglas Grigg of Walnut Hill 
Vineyards, LLC, on behalf of the Fountaingrove Appellation Committee, 
proposing the establishment of the ``Fountaingrove District'' AVA in 
Sonoma County, California. The committee originally proposed the name 
``Fountaingrove'' but later requested to change the name to 
``Fountaingrove District'' in order to avoid affecting current use of 
the word ``Fountaingrove,'' standing alone, in brand names on wine 
labels. The

[[Page 36684]]

proposed AVA contains approximately 38,000 acres and has approximately 
35 commercially-producing vineyards covering a total of 500 acres. 
Cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, merlot, cabernet 
franc, zinfandel, syrah, and viognier are the primary grape varieties 
grown within the proposed AVA. According to the petition, the 
distinguishing features of the proposed Fountaingrove District AVA 
include temperature, soils, and topography. Unless otherwise noted, all 
information and data pertaining to the proposed AVA contained in this 
document are from the petition for the proposed Fountaingrove District 
AVA and its supporting exhibits.
    The proposed Fountaingrove District AVA is located in Sonoma 
County, California, northeast of the city of Santa Rosa. The proposed 
AVA lies within the larger, multicounty North Coast AVA (27 CFR 9.30). 
The proposed Fountaingrove District AVA shares its boundaries with the 
established Russian River Valley (27 CFR 9.66), Chalk Hill (27 CFR 
9.52), Knights Valley (27 CFR 9.76), Calistoga (27 CFR 9.209), Diamond 
Mountain District (27 CFR 9.166), Spring Mountain District (27 CFR 
9.143), and Sonoma Valley (27 CFR 9.29) AVAs, but does not overlap any 
of these AVAs. As it was originally submitted, the petition first 
proposed a western boundary that slightly overlapped the established 
Russian River Valley AVA, but after discussions with TTB, the 
petitioner adjusted the proposed boundary to follow the established 
Russian River Valley AVA boundary because the original proposed 
boundary would have resulted in dividing at least one existing vineyard 
between Russian River Valley AVA and the proposed Fountaingrove 
District AVA.

Name Evidence

    The proposed Fountaingrove District AVA derives its name from the 
historic community of Fountain Grove, a utopian colony founded 
northeast of the city of Santa Rosa in 1875 by Thomas Lake Harris. The 
community included 400 acres of vineyards and a winery. By 1882, the 
winery was producing 70,000 gallons of wine per year, making it one of 
the 10 largest wineries in California at that time.
    In 1880, Harris appointed his California lieutenant, Kanaye 
Nagasawa, to take charge of the vineyard and winery operations and act 
as developer and manager of the community's 2,000 acres of vineyards. 
In 1900, Harris sold his interest in the vineyards and winery to 
Nagasawa and five other members of the commune, and by 1908, Nagasawa 
was the sole surviving owner of the Fountain Grove vineyards and 
winery. During Prohibition, he kept the vineyards and winery facilities 
productive by producing grape juice and cooking sherry. After 
Prohibition was repealed in 1933, Nagasawa changed the name of the 
winery and the community to ``Fountaingrove.'' Nagasawa died in 1934, 
and the property was eventually sold and turned into a cattle ranch.
    Although the original community no longer exists and the original 
Fountaingrove Winery remains only as a few abandoned buildings, the 
name ``Fountaingrove'' is still associated with the region of the 
proposed Fountaingrove District AVA. The petition notes that several 
modern subdivisions within the proposed AVA bear the ``Fountaingrove'' 
name, including Fountaingrove Ranch, Fountaingrove Village, 
Fountaingrove II, and the Meadows at Fountaingrove, which are all built 
on portions of the original Fountaingrove community and vineyards. 
Fountaingrove Parkway is a road that runs through the southwestern 
portion of the proposed AVA. Fountaingrove Lake is a large reservoir 
within the proposed AVA. Finally, the petition listed several 
businesses within the proposed AVA that use the name ``Fountaingrove,'' 
including Fountaingrove Inn Hotel and Conference Center, Fountaingrove 
Lodge Retirement Community, Fountaingrove Golf and Athletic Club, 
Fountaingrove Realty, Fountaingrove MedSpa, Fountaingrove Dentistry, 
Fountaingrove Deli, and Fountaingrove Cleaners.

Boundary Evidence

    The proposed AVA is a region of rolling hills and steeper mountains 
with elevations that range from approximately 400 feet near the city of 
Santa Rosa, at the southwestern boundary of the proposed AVA, to 
approximately 2,200 feet in the eastern portion of the proposed AVA, 
near the Sonoma-Napa County line.
    The proposed boundary follows a series of elevation contours, 
roads, county lines, USGS map section lines, and straight lines between 
points marked on the relevant USGS maps. The northern portion of the 
proposed boundary is shared with the southern boundaries of the 
established Knights Valley and Chalk Hill AVAs. The eastern portion of 
the proposed boundary is formed by a ridgeline in the Mayacmas 
Mountains that forms the Sonoma-Napa County line. This portion of the 
proposed boundary is shared with the established Calistoga, Diamond 
Mountain District, and Spring Mountain District AVAs. Part of the 
southern portion of the proposed boundary is shared with the 
established Sonoma Valley AVA. The remainder of the proposed southern 
boundary separates the hills and mountains of the proposed AVA from the 
flat, urbanized terrain of the city of Santa Rosa. The western portion 
of the proposed boundary is shared with the established Russian River 
Valley AVA. The differences between the proposed Fountaingrove District 
AVA and the adjacent established AVAs are discussed below.

Distinguishing Features

    The distinguishing features of the proposed Fountaingrove District 
AVA include its temperature, soils, and topography, and these are 
discussed in detail below.
Temperature
    The temperature of the proposed Fountaingrove District AVA is 
moderated by cool breezes from the Pacific Ocean. The breezes enter the 
region through a gap in the Sonoma Mountains between Taylor Mountain 
(located south of the city of Santa Rosa) and Redwood Hill (located 
north of the city). Because of the marine influence, the median growing 
season temperature within the proposed AVA is 63.9 degrees Fahrenheit. 
The petition provided the growing degree day units (GDD units),\1\ 
calculated in degrees Celsius (C), for 16 vineyards distributed 
throughout the proposed AVA, and the petitioner determined the median 
number of GDD units for the entire proposed AVA was 1,663.\2\ According 
to the Winkler scale, this figure places the proposed AVA in the Warm 
Region II category.
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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 
Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius), the minimum temperature required 
for grapevine growth. For temperatures measured in degrees Celsius, 
the GDD ranges are defined as Region I, for fewer than 1,388 GDD 
units, Region II from 1,388-1,667 GDD units, Region III for 1,667-
1,944 GDD units, Region IV for 1,944-2,222 GDD units, and Region V 
for more than 2,222 GDD units (See Albert J. Winkler, General 
Viticulture (Berkley: University of California Press, 1974), 61-64).
    \2\ The GDD data was derived from 1971-2000 climate normals 
using the data mapping system of the PRISM Climate Group at Oregon 
State University. The PRISM mapping system combined climate normals 
gathered from weather stations to estimate the general climate 
patterns for the proposed AVA and the surrounding regions. Climate 
normals are only calculated every 10 years, using 30 years of data, 
and at the time the petition was submitted, the most recent climate 
normals available were from the period of 1971-2000.
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    The following table was included in the petition and compares the 
median

[[Page 36685]]

growing season temperatures and GDD units of the proposed Fountaingrove 
District AVA to those of the surrounding established AVAs.

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                                                            Average
                                      Direction from    growing season    Average GDD
             AVA name                  proposed AVA       temperature        unit           Winkler category
                                                           (Celsius)     accumulation
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Fountaingrove District...........  N/A................            17.7           1,663  Warm Region II.
Russian River Valley.............  West...............            17.1           1,520  Region II.
Bennett Valley...................  Southwest..........            17.4           1,589  Region II.
Chalk Hill.......................  North..............            17.6           1,634  Warm Region II.
Sonoma Valley....................  South..............            17.8           1,676  Cool Region III.
Knights Valley...................  North..............            18.3           1,788  Region III.
Spring Mountain District.........  East...............            18.3           1,785  Region III.
Diamond Mountain District........  East...............            18.7           1,818  Region III.
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    According to the table, the proposed Fountaingrove District AVA is 
generally warmer than the region to the west and cooler than the region 
to the east. The temperatures within the Chalk Hill AVA, which is north 
of the proposed AVA, are similar to those in the Fountaingrove 
District; however, the Knights Valley AVA, which is also north of the 
proposed AVA, has significantly more GDD units than the proposed 
Fountaingrove District AVA because the higher hillsides of the Knights 
Valley AVA shelter its broad valley floor from the marine breezes. The 
Sonoma Valley AVA, immediately adjacent to the southern boundary of the 
proposed Fountaingrove District AVA, is slightly warmer.
    The petition states that although the temperature differences 
between the proposed Fountaingrove District AVA and the surrounding 
regions appear slight, they do have a significant effect on 
viticulture. The petition includes a chart grouping grape varietals by 
maturation times based on average growing season temperatures.\3\ 
According to the chart, most varietals only ripen successfully (meaning 
they achieve desired levels of acidity, sugars, and flavors) within a 
3-to-4 degree C range of temperatures. As a result, cool-climate pinot 
noir grapes ripen successfully in the cooler temperatures of the 
neighboring Russian River Valley AVA, but do not grow reliably within 
the proposed Fountaingrove District AVA, according to the petition.
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    \3\ Gregory V. Jones et al., ``Climate and Wine: Quality Issues 
in a Warmer World,'' Climate Change, pages 319-343, December 1, 
2005.
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    The petition notes that even the same varietal of grapes grown at 
opposite ends of the small range of ``optimal'' temperatures will have 
different characteristics. For example, the petition states that 
chardonnay grown in a Warm Region II area, such as the proposed 
Fountaingrove District AVA, will have a tropical fruit flavor, whereas 
chardonnay grown in a cooler area will produce a drier, more mineral-
like flavor. Likewise, cabernet sauvignon, one of the most commonly 
grown grapes in the proposed AVA, produces a lower alcohol wine with 
subtle flavors when grown in a Warm Region II area, but often produces 
wines with higher alcohol content and riper flavors when grown in 
Region III and Region IV areas. Vintners consider these flavor and 
alcohol differences when producing and blending their wines.
Soils
    The soils within the proposed Fountaingrove District AVA are 
derived primarily from Sonoma Volcanic and Franciscan Formation 
bedrock. The volcanic soils include Goulding, Spreckels, Laniger, and 
Felta series soils, which consist of pumiceous ash-flow tuff, and 
Guenoc and Toomes series soils, which consist of basalt lava. These 
volcanic soils are described in the petition as being well-drained and 
having a balance of nutrients favorable for grape-growing. Soils 
derived from the Franciscan Complex include the Boomer and Henneke 
series. Henneke soils contain the mineral serpentine, which has high 
levels of nickel and can be toxic to grapevines unless the soil is 
ameliorated to lower the levels. Soils of the Boomer series have 
desirably high levels of iron, which is an essential element for vine 
growth and fruit development.
    The following table shows the soil types found within the proposed 
Fountaingrove District AVA and the surrounding established AVAs.

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                                                                        AVA name and direction from proposed AVA
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                                                                                                              Diamond       Spring          Proposed
                   Soil series                      Chalk Hill      Russian       Sonoma        Knights      Mountain      Mountain      Fountaingrove
                                                      (North)    River Valley     Valley        Valley       District      District         District
                                                                    (West)        (South)       (North)       (East)        (East)
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                                                                    Sonoma Volcanics
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Goulding.........................................  ............  ............            X             X             X             X                  X
Laniger..........................................  ............  ............  ............            X   ............  ............                 X
Felta............................................            X             X             X   ............  ............  ............                 X
Forward..........................................  ............  ............            X             X             X             X   .................
Spreckels........................................            X             X             X   ............  ............  ............                 X
Toomes...........................................            X             X   ............            X   ............  ............                 X
Guenoc...........................................  ............  ............  ............  ............  ............  ............                 X
Kidd.............................................  ............  ............  ............  ............            X             X   .................
Sobrante.........................................  ............  ............  ............  ............  ............            X                  X

[[Page 36686]]

 
Hambright........................................  ............  ............  ............  ............            X   ............  .................
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                                                                   Franciscan Complex
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Dibble...........................................            X             X   ............  ............  ............  ............  .................
Maymen...........................................  ............  ............  ............  ............  ............            X                  X
Laughlin.........................................  ............            X   ............            X   ............  ............  .................
Boomer...........................................  ............  ............  ............  ............            X             X                  X
Aiken............................................  ............  ............  ............  ............            X             X                  X
Red Hill.........................................  ............  ............            X             X   ............  ............  .................
Suther...........................................  ............  ............  ............            X   ............  ............                 X
Yorkville *......................................  ............            X   ............            X   ............  ............                 X
Henneke *........................................  ............  ............  ............  ............  ............            X                  X
Raynor *.........................................  ............  ............  ............  ............  ............  ............                 X
Montara *........................................            X             X   ............  ............  ............  ............                 X
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                                                               River and Terrace Deposits
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Cotati...........................................  ............            X   ............  ............  ............  ............  .................
Wright...........................................  ............            X             X   ............  ............  ............  .................
Clear Lake.......................................  ............            X             X   ............  ............  ............  .................
Arbuckle.........................................            X             X   ............            X   ............  ............  .................
Huichica.........................................            X             X             X   ............  ............  ............  .................
Yolo.............................................            X             X   ............            X   ............  ............                 X
Zamora...........................................  ............            X             X   ............  ............  ............  .................
Pleasanton.......................................  ............  ............  ............  ............  ............            X                  X
Cortina..........................................  ............  ............  ............            X   ............  ............  .................
Haire............................................            X             X             X             X   ............  ............                 X
Clough...........................................  ............  ............            X             X   ............  ............  .................
Positas..........................................            X             X   ............  ............  ............  ............  .................
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                                                                 Wilson Grove Formation
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Goldridge........................................  ............            X   ............  ............  ............  ............  .................
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* Indicates soil contains serpentine.

    As shown in the table, the proposed Fountaingrove District AVA has 
a greater diversity of soils than the surrounding AVAs. The proposed 
AVA has fewer soils derived from river and terrace deposits than most 
of the surrounding established AVAs. The petition states that soils 
comprised of river and terrace deposits are generally not as well-
drained as volcanic soils and may require artificial drainage. Compared 
to the surrounding regions, the proposed AVA also has more soils that 
contain nickel-rich serpentine, which can be toxic to grapevines in 
high levels. Therefore, soils that contain serpentine must often be 
ameliorated in order to reduce the nickel levels so that the vines can 
grow.
Topography
    The proposed Fountaingrove District AVA is located on the western 
slopes of the Mayacmas Mountains, northeast of the city of Santa Rosa. 
The topography consists of low rolling hills and higher, steeper 
mountains. Although there are some narrow floodplains along creeks, the 
proposed AVA lacks the broad valley floors and floodplains that 
characterize several of the surrounding established AVAs. The slopes 
within the proposed AVA are primarily oriented towards the southwest. 
Elevations range from approximately 400 feet to approximately 2,200 
feet, and all of the vineyards within the proposed Fountaingrove 
District AVA are planted at elevations between 450 and 2,115 feet.
    Topography affects viticulture within the proposed AVA. According 
to the petition, the hillsides form a ``thermal belt'' that traps warm 
air, resulting in nighttime temperatures that are warmer than those of 
the lower, flatter valleys of the surrounding regions. The warmer 
temperatures reduce the risk of frost in the late spring and early 
fall. The southwest aspect of most of the slopes within the proposed 
AVA allows vineyards to be planted where they can receive the maximum 
amount of sunlight and warmth.
    Immediately to the west of the proposed AVA is the Russian River 
Valley AVA. Elevations in the region begin at approximately 600 feet 
along the border shared with the proposed Fountaingrove District AVA 
and become lower and flatter southwest of the proposed AVA, within the 
city of Santa Rosa. Elevations within much of the city are between 100 
and 200 feet.
    To the north of the proposed AVA are the Chalk Hill and Knights 
Valley AVAs. The Chalk Hill AVA has a mountainous terrain with 
elevations similar to those of the proposed Fountaingrove District AVA, 
but the soils within the Chalk Hill AVA distinguish it from the 
proposed AVA, as discussed later in this document. The Knights Valley 
AVA has generally lower elevations and contains the broad, flat Knights 
Valley and Franz Valley.
    To the east of the proposed AVA are the Calistoga, Spring Mountain 
District, and Diamond Mountain District AVAs, which have elevations and 
terrain similar to the proposed AVA. However, moving east, the 
mountainous topography of the Calistoga AVA quickly lowers to 
elevations of around 300 feet within the broad, flat Napa Valley. The 
slopes of the three established AVAs primarily face

[[Page 36687]]

northeast, compared to the southwest-facing slopes of the proposed AVA. 
Because the established AVAs are located mostly on the lee side of the 
Mayacmas Mountains, they are subject to less maritime influence than 
the proposed Fountaingrove District AVA.
    To the south of the proposed AVA, the Sonoma Valley AVA is marked 
by a long, flat valley surrounded by the Mayacmas Mountains to the east 
and the Sonoma Mountains to the west. The Sonoma Valley AVA receives 
less of the cooling marine air than the proposed Fountaingrove District 
AVA because of the shielding effect of the Sonoma Mountains.
Summary of Distinguishing Features
    In summary, the temperature, soils, and topography of the proposed 
Fountaingrove District AVA distinguish it from the surrounding adjacent 
AVAs. Compared to the proposed Fountaingrove District AVA, the Chalk 
Hill and Knights Valley AVAs to the north both have more soils derived 
from river and terrace deposits. Additionally, the Knights Valley AVA 
has warmer temperatures and significantly larger valleys than the 
proposed AVA. To the east, the Calistoga, Spring Mountain District, and 
Diamond Mountain District AVAs are warmer, have less soil diversity, 
and have mountain slopes oriented to the northeast. To the south, the 
Sonoma Valley AVA is warmer, has more alluvial soils, and is dominated 
by a large, flat valley rather than rolling hills and steeper 
mountains. To the west, the Russian River Valley AVA has cooler 
temperatures, more alluvial soils, and generally lower and flatter 
elevations.

Comparison of the Proposed Fountaingrove District AVA to the Existing 
North Coast AVA

    The North Coast AVA was established by T.D. ATF-145, published in 
the Federal Register on September 21, 1983 (48 FR 42973). It includes 
all or portions of Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino, Lake, Marin, and Solano 
Counties, California. TTB notes that the North Coast AVA contains all 
or portions of approximately 40 established AVAs, in addition to the 
area covered by the proposed Fountaingrove District AVA. 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 Fountaingrove District AVA shares the basic 
viticultural feature of the North Coast AVA--the marine influence that 
moderates growing season temperatures in the area. However, the 
proposed AVA is much more uniform in its temperature, soils, and 
topography than the diverse, multicounty North Coast AVA. 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 Fountaingrove District AVA is not 
inconsistent with what was envisioned when the North Coast AVA was 
established.

TTB Determination

    TTB concludes that the petition to establish the approximately 
38,000-acre Fountaingrove District AVA merits consideration and public 
comment, as invited in this notice.

Boundary Description

    See the narrative description of boundary for the petitioned-for 
AVA in the proposed regulatory text published at the end of this 
proposed rule.

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. For a wine to be labeled with an AVA name or with a 
brand name that includes an AVA 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 Sec.  
4.25(e)(3) of the TTB regulations (27 CFR 4.25(e)(3)). If the wine is 
not eligible for labeling with an AVA 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 AVA 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 an AVA name 
that was used as a brand name on a label approved before July 7, 1986. 
See Sec.  4.39(i)(2) of the TTB regulations (27 CFR 4.39(i)(2)) for 
details.
    If TTB establishes this proposed AVA, its name, ``Fountaingrove 
District,'' will be recognized as a name of viticultural significance 
under Sec.  4.39(i)(3) of the TTB regulations (27 CFR 4.39(i)(3)). The 
text of the proposed regulation clarifies this point. Consequently, 
wine bottlers using the name ``Fountaingrove District'' 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 AVA name as an appellation of origin if this proposed rule 
is adopted as a final rule. TTB does not believe that 
``Fountaingrove,'' standing alone, should have viticultural 
significance if the proposed AVA is established, due to the current use 
of ``Fountaingrove,'' standing alone, as a brand name on wine labels. 
Accordingly, the proposed part 9 regulatory text set forth in this 
document specifies only the full name ``Fountaingrove District'' as a 
term of viticultural significance for purposes of part 4 of the TTB 
regulations. Wine labels using either ``Fountaingrove'' or ``Fountain 
Grove,'' standing alone, would not be affected if the proposed 
Fountaingrove District AVA is established.
    The approval of the proposed Fountaingrove District AVA would not 
affect any existing AVA, and any bottlers using ``North Coast'' as an 
appellation of origin or in a brand name for wines made from grapes 
grown within the North Coast AVA would not be affected by the 
establishment of this new AVA. The establishment of the proposed 
Fountaingrove District AVA would allow vintners to use ``Fountaingrove 
District'' and ``North Coast'' as appellations of origin for wines made 
from grapes grown within the proposed Fountaingrove District AVA, if 
the wines meet the eligibility requirements for the appellation.

Public Participation

Comments Invited

    TTB invites comments from interested members of the public on 
whether it should establish the proposed AVA. 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 Fountaingrove 
District AVA's location within the existing North Coast AVA, TTB is 
interested in comments on whether the evidence submitted in the

[[Page 36688]]

petition regarding the distinguishing features of the proposed AVA 
sufficiently differentiates it from the existing North Coast AVA. TTB 
is also interested in comments whether the geographic features of the 
proposed AVA are so distinguishable from the surrounding North Coast 
AVA that the proposed Fountaingrove District AVA should no longer be 
part of that AVA. Please provide any available specific information in 
support of your comments.
    Because of the potential impact of the establishment of the 
proposed Fountaingrove District AVA on wine labels that include the 
term ``Fountaingrove District'' 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 AVA 
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 AVA 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 AVA.

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-2014-
0006 on ``Regulations.gov,'' the Federal e-rulemaking portal, at http://www.regulations.gov. A direct link to that docket is available under 
Notice No. 144 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 the ``Help'' tab.
     U.S. Mail: You may send comments via postal mail to the 
Director, Regulations and Rulings Division, Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and 
Trade Bureau, 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. 144 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-2014-0006 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. 144. 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'' tab.
    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. 
Please note that TTB is unable to provide copies of the USGS quadrangle 
maps or any similarly sized documents that may be included as part of 
the AVA petition. 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

    It has been determined that this proposed 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 notice of proposed rulemaking.

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.----  Fountaingrove District.

    (a) Name. The name of the viticultural area described in this 
section is

[[Page 36689]]

``Fountaingrove District.'' For purposes of part 4 of this chapter, 
``Fountaingrove District'' 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 
Fountaingrove District viticultural area are titled:
    (1) Mark West Springs, CA; 1993;
    (2) Calistoga, CA; 1997;
    (3) Kenwood, CA; 1954; photorevised 1980; and
    (4) Santa Rosa, CA; 1994.
    (c) Boundary. The Fountaingrove District viticultural area is 
located in Sonoma County, California. The boundary of the Fountaingrove 
District viticultural area is as described below:
    (1) The beginning point is on the Mark West Springs map at the 
intersection of the shared Sonoma-Napa County line with Petrified 
Forest Road, section 3, T8N/R7W.
    (2) From the beginning point, proceed southeasterly along the 
Sonoma-Napa County line, crossing onto the Calistoga map and then the 
Kenwood map, to the marked 2,530-peak of an unnamed mountain, section 
9, T7N/R6W; then
    (3) Proceed west-southwest in a straight line to the marked 2,730-
foot summit of Mt. Hood, section 8, T7N/R6W; then
    (4) Proceed west-northwest in a straight line to the marked 1,542-
foot summit of Buzzard Peak, section 11, T7N/R7W; then
    (5) Proceed west-southwest in a straight line, crossing onto the 
Santa Rosa map, to the intersection of State Highway 12 and Los Alamos 
Road; then
    (6) Proceed due north in a straight line to the southern boundary 
of section 9, T7N/R7W; then
    (7) Proceed west-northwest along the southern boundaries of 
sections 9, 4, and 5, T7N/R7W, to the western boundary of the Los 
Guilicos Land Grant; then
    (8) Proceed west-southwest along the southern boundaries of 
sections 5, 6, and 7, T7N/R7W; then continue west-southwest along the 
southern boundaries of sections 12 and 11, T7N/R8W, to the point where 
the section 11 boundary becomes concurrent with an unnamed light-duty 
road known locally as Lewis Road; and then continue west-southwest 
along Lewis Road to the road's intersection with Mendocino Avenue in 
Santa Rosa; then
    (9) Proceed north-northwesterly along Mendocino Avenue to the 
road's intersection with an unnamed road known locally as Bicentennial 
Way; then
    (10) Proceed north in a straight line, crossing through the marked 
906-foot elevation peak in section 35, T8N/R8W, and, crossing on to the 
Mark West Springs map, continue to the line's intersection with Mark 
West Springs Road, section 26, T8N/R8W; then
    (11) Proceed northerly along Mark West Springs Road, which turns 
easterly and becomes Porter Creek Road, to the road's intersection with 
Franz Valley Road, section 12, T8N/R8W; then
    (12) Proceed northeasterly along Franz Valley Road to the western 
boundary of section 6, T8N/R7W; then
    (13) Proceed south along the western boundary of section 6, T8N/
R7W, to the southwest corner of section 6; then
    (14) Proceed east, then east-northeast along the southern 
boundaries of sections 6, 5, and 4, T8N/R7W, to the southeast corner of 
section 4; then
    (15) Proceed north along the eastern boundary of section 4, T8N/
R7W, to the Sonoma-Napa County line; then
    (16) Proceed easterly along the Sonoma-Napa County line to the 
beginning point.

    Dated: June 23, 2014.
John J. Manfreda,
Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2014-15212 Filed 6-27-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4810-31-P