[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 195 (Wednesday, October 11, 2017)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 47165-47167]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-21817]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY

Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau

27 CFR Parts 4 and 24

[Docket No. TTB-2016-0005; Notice No. 160B; Re: Notice Nos. 160 and 
160A]
RIN 1513-AC27


Proposed Revisions to Wine Labeling and Recordkeeping 
Requirements; Comment Period Reopening

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

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking; reopening of comment period.

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SUMMARY: The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) is 
reopening for an additional 90 days the comment period for Notice No. 
160, Proposed Revisions to Wine Labeling and Recordkeeping 
Requirements, a notice of proposed rulemaking published in the Federal 
Register on June 22, 2016. In Notice No. 160, TTB proposed to amend its 
labeling and recordkeeping regulations in 27 CFR part 24 to provide 
that any standard grape wine containing 7 percent or more alcohol by 
volume that is covered by a certificate of exemption from label 
approval may be labeled with a varietal (grape type) designation, a 
type designation of varietal significance, a vintage date, or an 
appellation of origin only if the wine is labeled in compliance with 
the standards set forth in the appropriate sections of 27 CFR part 4 
for that label information. TTB also proposed to amend its part 4 wine 
labeling regulations to include a reference to the new part 24 
requirement. TTB is reopening the comment period a second time in 
response to requests from a number of commenters. In addition,

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TTB is also soliciting comments on alternative proposals put forth by 
commenters during the previous public comment periods for Notice No. 
160.

DATES: The comment period for the proposed rule published on June 22, 
2016 (81 FR 40584) is reopened for 90 days. Written comments on Notice 
No. 160 are now due on or before January 9, 2018.

ADDRESSES: Please send your comments on Notice No. 160 to one of the 
following addresses:
     Internet: https://www.regulations.gov (via the online 
comment form for this document, Notice No. 160B, as posted within 
Docket No. TTB-2016-0005 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 400, Washington, DC 
20005.
    See the Public Participation section of Notice No. 160 for specific 
instructions and requirements for submitting comments, and for 
information on how to request a public hearing.
    You may view copies of this document, Notice Nos. 160 and 160A, and 
any comments made to TTB about the described proposals at https://www.regulations.gov within Docket No. TTB-2016-0005. A link to that 
docket is posted on the TTB Web site at https://www.ttb.gov/wine/wine-rulemaking.shtml under Notice No. 160. You also may view copies of this 
document, Notice Nos. 160 and 160A, and any comments made to TTB about 
the described proposals 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: Jennifer Berry, Alcohol and Tobacco 
Tax and Trade Bureau, Regulations and Rulings Division; telephone (202) 
453-1039, ext. 275.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: In Notice No. 160, the Alcohol and Tobacco 
Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) proposed to amend its labeling and 
recordkeeping regulations in 27 CFR part 24 to provide that any 
standard grape wine containing 7 percent or more alcohol by volume that 
is covered by a certificate of exemption from label approval may be 
labeled with a varietal (grape type) designation, a type designation of 
varietal significance, a vintage date, or an appellation of origin only 
if the wine is labeled in compliance with the standards set forth in 
the appropriate sections of 27 CFR part 4 for that label information. 
TTB also proposed to amend its part 4 wine labeling regulations to 
include a reference to the new part 24 requirement. The 60-day comment 
period for Notice No. 160 originally closed on August 22, 2016.
    On September 8, 2016, TTB published Notice No. 160A to reopen the 
comment period for an additional 90 days. This action was taken in 
response to requests received from two wine industry trade 
associations, Wine Institute and the California Association of 
Winegrape Growers, who stated that their membership was preoccupied 
with the grape harvest and thus needed additional time to assess the 
proposal contained in Notice No. 160 (see comments 7 and 41). Based on 
comments received up to that point, TTB also requested comments 
regarding whether any geographic reference to the source of the grapes 
used in the wine could be included on a wine label in a way that would 
not be misleading with regard to the source of the wine. The reopened 
comment period closed December 7, 2016.
    A number of commenters responded to TTB's request in Notice No. 
160A for comments on whether any geographic references to the source of 
the grapes used in a wine could be included on the label in a way that 
would not be misleading. Some of the proposals received suggest that 
geographic references could be included in such a way. Suggestions 
included proposals that TTB allow the following type of statements on 
wine labels:
     __% of grapes grown in ____ [location], Produced and 
Bottled in ____ [location].
     ``Grapes sourced in California.''
     The use of American viticultural area (AVA) names modified 
by ``grapes'' (i.e., ``Napa Valley Grapes).''
    The most detailed proposal was submitted in a joint comment by Napa 
Valley Vintners and Wine Institute, posted as Comment 108 within Docket 
No. TTB-2016-0005 at www.regulations.gov. The two trade associations 
supported the adoption of the proposals made in Notice No. 160, but 
stated that ``to the extent TTB is inclined to adopt regulations that 
would allow a COLA-exempt wine to also include grape source 
information,'' they believe their proposal ``protects the integrity of 
the appellation labeling system while also providing consumers with 
meaningful, truthful, and non-misleading information to identify grape 
source.'' The comment also noted that California law would prohibit 
certain wines labeled with grape source information from being sold in 
that State, but that Napa Valley Vintners and Sonoma County Vintners 
would sponsor and advocate for an amendment to California law in the 
event that TTB amended its regulations as proposed in the comment.
    Their proposal has four main components:
     TTB should adopt Notice No. 160 in its entirety so that 
all wines identified with an AVA name or appellation of origin are 
subject to the same Federal standards.
     Grape source information (which they state is distinct 
from appellations) could be allowed on the label as optional 
information if it includes all of the following: (1) The name of the 
county or counties and State or States, or just the State(s), where all 
of the grapes are grown. County names must be identified with the word 
``county'' in the same type size and in letters as conspicuous as the 
name of the county; (2) The percentage of wine derived from grapes 
grown in each county or State shown on the label, with a tolerance of 
+\- 2 percent; and (3) The city and State, or just the State, where the 
wine was fully finished.
     Grape source information should not contain any reference 
to an AVA name or a name of viticultural significance or a confusingly 
similar name, other than a county or a State. In their example, a label 
could disclose the grape source as ``Napa County, California,'' but it 
could not include a claim that the grapes are from ``Napa Valley,'' 
which is an AVA name.
     Wines labeled with grape source information must be 
labeled with the ``United States'' country appellation of origin 
pursuant to 27 CFR 4.25(a)(1)(i). Use of this country appellation gives 
wineries the ability to include a vintage date and variety designation 
on their labels while at the same time signaling to consumers that the 
wine does not meet the Federal requirements for State, county, or AVA 
appellation of origin designations.
    While the comment specifically addressed wines covered by 
certificates of exemption from label approval, it is unclear to TTB if 
this alternative proposal would also apply to wines subject to the 
labeling requirements of the Federal Alcohol Administration Act and 
labeled under a certificate of label approval.
    In addition to the proposals discussed above, TTB received seven 
comments requesting an additional extension of the comment period for 
Notice No. 160. Six of these request an additional 90 days to comment, 
while the seventh

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requests an extension of an unspecified amount of time. Some of these 
comments state that additional time is needed given the complexity of 
the issues, while others state that an extension of the comment period 
will allow time for wine industry members to reach a consensus on the 
proposal.

Determination To Reopen the Public Comment Period

    In response to the requests to extend the comment period, TTB is 
reopening the comment period for Notice No. 160 for an additional 90 
days. We believe that 90 days will provide industry members and the 
public with the additional time necessary to fully consider both the 
original proposal put forth in Notice No. 160 and the alternative 
proposals discussed above. Therefore, comments on Notice No. 160 are 
now due to TTB on or before January 9, 2018.
    In addition to comments on the alternative proposals discussed 
above, TTB is interested in comments that address whether the 
alternative proposals should apply only to wines labeled under 
certificates of exemption for label approval, or if they should also 
apply to wines labeled under certificates of label approval, in which 
case corresponding amendments to the labeling regulations in part 4 
would be necessary. TTB is also interested in comments regarding 
whether these proposals should apply to non-grape wines. Please provide 
specific information in support of your comments.

Submission of New Comments

    Comments on the original proposal put forth in Notice No. 160 and 
the alternative proposals discussed above may be submitted 
electronically via the online comment form for this document, Notice 
No. 160B, as posted within Docket No. TTB-2016-0005 at 
``Regulations.gov,'' the Federal e-rulemaking portal. Comments may also 
be submitted via U.S. mail or hand delivery as described above in the 
ADDRESSES section of this document.

Drafting Information

    Jennifer Berry of the Regulations and Rulings Division drafted this 
document.

    Signed: September 28, 2017.
John J. Manfreda,
Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2017-21817 Filed 10-10-17; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4810-31-P