[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 162 (Monday, August 22, 2016)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 56490-56492]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-19992]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY

Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau

27 CFR Part 9

[Docket No. TTB-2015-0010: T.D. TTB-142; Ref: Notice No. 154]
RIN 1513-AC19


Establishment of the Champlain Valley of New York 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 500-square mile ``Champlain Valley of New York'' 
viticultural area in Clinton and Essex Counties, New York. The 
Champlain Valley of New York viticultural area is not located within 
any other established 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 September 21, 2016.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kate M. Bresnahan, 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. 151.

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, dated December 
10, 2013 (superseding Treasury Order 120-01, dated January 24, 2003), 
to the TTB Administrator to perform the functions and duties in the 
administration and enforcement of these laws.
    Part 4 of the TTB regulations (27 CFR part 4) authorizes TTB to 
establish definitive viticultural areas and regulate 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 (27 CFR 4.25(e)(2)) 
outlines the procedure for proposing 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 
standards for petitions for the establishment or modification of AVAs. 
Petitions to establish an AVA must include the following:
     Evidence that the area within the proposed AVA 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 AVA;
     A narrative description of the features of the proposed 
AVA affecting 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 boundary;
     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.

Champlain Valley of New York Petition

    TTB received a petition from Colin Read, owner of North Star 
Vineyard, on behalf of the Lake Champlain Grape Growers Association, 
proposing the establishment of the ``Champlain Valley of New York'' AVA 
in Clinton and Essex Counties, New York. The proposed Champlain Valley 
of New York AVA covers approximately 500 square miles and is not 
located within any other AVA. There are 11 commercial vineyards 
covering a total of approximately 15.47 acres within the proposed AVA, 
as well as 6 wineries.
    According to the petition, the distinguishing feature of the 
proposed Champlain Valley of New York AVA is its short growing season, 
which is conducive to growing cold-hardy North American hybrid grape 
varieties (such as Frontenac, La Crescent, and Marquette) but not the 
Vitis vinifera grapes that are grown in the surrounding areas. The 
petition provides information comparing the length of the growing 
season within the AVA to those of the surrounding areas. In South Hero, 
Vermont, to the east of the proposed AVA, the growing season is four 
weeks longer than that in the proposed AVA. In Whitehall, New York,

[[Page 56491]]

to the south of the proposed AVA, the growing season is two weeks 
longer than that in the proposed AVA. The growing season in the 
Adirondack Mountains, to the west of the proposed AVA, is too short for 
commercial grape growth. The proposed AVA also has a later last-frost 
date and an earlier first-frost date than the areas to its east and 
south. TTB notes that the area directly north of the proposed AVA is in 
Canada and, therefore, is not eligible to be part of an AVA.

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Comments Received

    TTB published Notice No. 154 in the Federal Register on July 2, 
2015 (80 FR 38147), proposing to establish the Champlain Valley of New 
York AVA. In the notice, TTB summarized the evidence from the petition 
regarding the name, boundary, and distinguishing features for the 
proposed AVA. For a detailed description of such evidence, see Notice 
No. 154. In Notice No. 154, TTB solicited comments on the accuracy of 
the name, boundary, and other required information submitted in support 
of the petition. The comment period closed on August 31, 2015. TTB 
received no comments in response to Notice No. 154.

TTB Determination

    After careful review of the petition, TTB finds that the evidence 
provided by the petitioner supports the establishment of the Champlain 
Valley of New York AVA. Accordingly, under the authority of the FAA 
Act, section 1111(d) of the Homeland Security Act of 2002, and parts 4 
and 9 of the TTB regulations, TTB establishes the ``Champlain Valley of 
New York'' AVA in Clinton and Essex Counties, New York, effective 30 
days from the publication date of this document.

Boundary Description

    See the narrative description of the boundary of the Champlain 
Valley of New York AVA 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. 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 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 27 CFR 4.39(i)(2) for details.
    With the establishment of this AVA, its name, ``Champlain Valley of 
New York,'' 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 regulation clarifies this point. Consequently, wine 
bottlers using the name ``Champlain Valley of New York'' 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 AVA name as an appellation of origin. TTB is not designating 
``Champlain Valley,'' standing alone, as a term of viticultural 
significance because the term ``Champlain Valley'' also applies to the 
parts of the valley located in Vermont and Canada. The petitioner 
proposed the name ``Champlain Valley of New York'' to more accurately 
describe the location of the AVA. The establishment of the Champlain 
Valley of New York AVA will not affect any existing AVA. The 
establishment of the Champlain Valley of New York AVA will allow 
vintners to use ``Champlain Valley of New York'' as an appellation of 
origin for wines made primarily from grapes grown within the Champlain 
Valley of New York AVA if the wines meet the eligibility requirements 
for the appellation.

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 an AVA 
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 final 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

    Kate M. Bresnahan 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.  9.258 to read as follows:


Sec.  9.258  Champlain Valley of New York.

    (a) Name. The name of the viticultural area described in this 
section is ``Champlain Valley of New York''. For purposes of part 4 of 
this chapter, ``Champlain Valley of New York'' is a term of 
viticultural significance.
    (b) Approved maps. The two United States Geological Survey (USGS) 
1:100,000 scale topographic maps used to determine the boundary of the 
Champlain Valley of New York viticultural area are titled:
    (1) Lake Champlain, N.Y.; VT.; N.H.; U.S.; CAN., 1962; revised 
(U.S. area) 1972; and
    (2) Glens Falls, N.Y.; VT.; N.H., 1956; revised 1972.
    (c) Boundary. The Champlain Valley of New York viticultural area is 
located in Clinton and Essex Counties, New York. The boundary of the 
Champlain Valley of New York viticultural area is as described below:
    (1) The beginning point is found on the Lake Champlain map at the 
intersection of the western shore of Lake Champlain and the U.S.-Canada 
border, just north of the town of Rouses Point.
    (2) From the beginning point, proceed south along the western shore 
of Lake Champlain approximately 109.4 miles, crossing onto the Glens 
Falls map, to a road marked on the map as State Route 73 (now known as 
State Route 74) and

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known locally as Fort Ti Road, at the Fort Ticonderoga-Larrabees Point 
Ferry landing; then
    (3) Proceed west along State Route 73 (State Route 74/Fort Ti Road) 
approximately 1.6 miles to State Route 22; then
    (4) Proceed north along State Route 22 approximately 21 miles, 
crossing onto the Lake Champlain map and passing through the town of 
Port Henry, to an unnamed light-duty road known locally as County Road 
44 (Stevenson Road); then
    (5) Proceed north along County Road 44 (Stevenson Road) 
approximately 5.8 miles to a railroad track; then
    (6) Proceed northerly along the railroad track approximately 1.6 
miles to State Route 9N, west of the town of Westport; then
    (7) Proceed westerly along State Route 9N approximately 4.1 miles 
to Interstate 87; then
    (8) Proceed north along Interstate 87 approximately 21 miles to the 
Ausable River, southwest of the town of Keeseville; then
    (9) Proceed west (upstream) along the Ausable River approximately 6 
miles to a bridge connecting two unnamed light-duty roads known locally 
as Burke Road and Lower Road in the town of Clintonville, and proceed 
north along the bridge to Lower Road; then
    (10) Proceed west along Lower Road approximately 0.6 mile to State 
Route 9N; then
    (11) Proceed west along State Route 9N approximately 0.8 mile to an 
unnamed light-duty road known locally as County Route 39 (Clintonville 
Road); then
    (12) Proceed north along County Route 39 (Clintonville Road) 
approximately 1.5 miles to the second crossing of the Little Ausable 
River, west of Cook Mountain; then
    (13) Proceed northeast along the Little Ausable River approximately 
3.5 miles to the confluence of the river with Furnace Brook, near the 
town of Harkness; then
    (14) Proceed west along Furnace Brook approximately 0.17 mile to an 
unnamed light-duty road known locally as County Route 40 (Calkins 
Road); then
    (15) Proceed north along County Route 40 (Calkins Road) 
approximately 5.8 miles to an unnamed light-duty road known locally as 
County Route 35 (Peasleeville Road), south of an unnamed creek known 
locally as Arnold Brook; then
    (16) Proceed west along County Route 35 (Peasleeville Road) 
approximately 0.1 mile to an unnamed light-duty road known locally as 
Connors Road; then
    (17) Proceed north along Connors Road approximately 2.1 miles, 
crossing the Salmon River, to an unnamed light-duty road known locally 
as County Route 33 (Norrisville Road); then
    (18) Proceed west along County Route 33 (Norrisville Road) 
approximately 1.2 miles to an unnamed light-duty road known locally as 
Shingle Street; then
    (19) Proceed north along Shingle Street approximately 4 miles to an 
unnamed light-duty road known locally as County Route 31 (Rabideau 
Street); then
    (20) Proceed west along County Route 31 (Rabideau Street) 
approximately 0.4 mile to an unnamed light-duty road known locally as 
Goddeau Street; then
    (21) Proceed north along Goddeau Street approximately 0.9 mile, 
crossing the Saranac River, to State Route 3 just east of the town of 
Cadyville; then
    (22) Proceed east along State Route 3 approximately 0.5 mile to an 
unnamed light-duty road known locally as Akey Road; then
    (23) Proceed north on Akey Road approximately 0.2 mile to State 
Route 374; then
    (24) Proceed east along State Route 374 approximately 3.6 miles to 
State Route 190, also known locally as Military Turnpike; then
    (25) Proceed northwest along State Route 190 (Military Turnpike) 
approximately 15.2 miles to an unnamed light-duty road just east of 
Park Brook known locally as County Route 12 (Alder Bend Road), 
northwest of Miner Lake State Park; then
    (26) Proceed north along County Route 12 (Alder Bend Road) 
approximately 3 miles to U.S. Highway 11; then
    (27) Proceed west along U.S. Highway 11 approximately 1.7 miles to 
an unnamed light-duty road known locally as County Route 10 (Cannon 
Corners Road); then
    (28) Proceed north along County Route 10 (Cannon Corners Road) 
approximately 6 miles to the U.S.-Canada border; then
    (29) Proceed east along the U.S.-Canada border approximately 19.8 
miles, returning to the beginning point.

    Signed: June 27, 2016.
John J. Manfreda,
Administrator.
    Approved: August 8, 2016.
Timothy E. Skud,
Deputy Assistant Secretary (Tax, Trade, and Tariff Policy).
[FR Doc. 2016-19992 Filed 8-19-16; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4810-31-P