[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 234 (Thursday, December 7, 2017)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 57657-57659]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-26414]



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Rules and Regulations
                                                Federal Register
________________________________________________________________________

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains regulatory documents 
having general applicability and legal effect, most of which are keyed 
to and codified in the Code of Federal Regulations, which is published 
under 50 titles pursuant to 44 U.S.C. 1510.

The Code of Federal Regulations is sold by the Superintendent of Documents. 

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Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 234 / Thursday, December 7, 2017 / 
Rules and Regulations

[[Page 57657]]



DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY

Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau

27 CFR Part 9

[Docket No. TTB-2016-0008; T.D. TTB-148; Re: Notice No. 162]
RIN 1513-AC32


Expansion of the Outer Coast Plain Viticultural Area

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

ACTION: Final rule; Treasury decision.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) is 
expanding the approximately 2.25 million-acre ``Outer Coastal Plain'' 
viticultural area of southeastern New Jersey by approximately 32,932 
acres. The Outer Coastal Plain AVA includes all or portions of 
Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, 
Monmouth, Ocean, and Salem counties. The established viticultural area 
and the expansion area are 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 January 8, 2018.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dana Register, 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. 022.

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 this law.
    Part 4 of the TTB regulations (27 CFR part 4) authorizes the 
establishment of 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 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. Petitioners may use the same process to request changes 
involving established AVAs. Section 9.12 of the TTB regulations (27 CFR 
9.12) prescribes standards for petitions for modifying established 
AVAs. Petitions to expand an established AVA must include the 
following:
     Evidence that the area within the proposed expansion area 
boundary is nationally or locally known by the name of the established 
AVA;
     An explanation of the basis for defining the boundary of 
the proposed expansion area;
     A narrative description of the features of the proposed 
expansion area that affect viticulture, such as climate, geology, 
soils, physical features, and elevation, that make the proposed 
expansion area similar to the established AVA and distinguish it from 
adjacent areas outside the established AVA boundary;
     The appropriate United States Geological Survey (USGS) 
map(s) showing the location of the proposed expansion area, with the 
boundary of the proposed expansion area clearly drawn thereon; and
     A detailed narrative description of the proposed expansion 
area boundary based on USGS map markings.

Petition To Expand the Outer Coast Plain AVA

    TTB received a petition from John and Jane Giunco, owners of 4JG's 
Orchards and Vineyards in Colts Neck, New Jersey, proposing to expand 
the established ``Outer Coastal Plain'' AVA. The Outer Coastal Plain 
AVA (27 CFR 9.207) was established by T.D. TTB-58, which was published 
in the Federal Register on February 9, 2007 (72 FR 6165). The Outer 
Coastal Plain AVA covers approximately 2.25 million acres in all or 
portions of Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, 
Gloucester, Monmouth, Ocean, and Salem Counties. The Outer Coastal 
Plain AVA and the proposed expansion area do not overlap, nor are they 
within, any other established or proposed AVAs.
    The proposed expansion area is located in Monmouth County, adjacent 
to the western edge of the existing Outer Coastal Plain AVA boundary, 
and covers approximately 32,932 acres.

[[Page 57658]]

According to the petition, one commercial vineyard covering a total of 
30 acres is located within the proposed expansion area. The vineyard 
also has its own winery. The vineyard and the winery both existed at 
the time the Outer Coastal Plain AVA was established in 2007 and are 
owned by the petitioner. The petitioners for the expansion of the AVA 
assert in their petition that when the AVA was established, the region 
of the proposed expansion was intended to be included in the AVA but 
was inadvertently omitted. The petitioners state that they only 
recently learned that they are not within the AVA's boundaries.
    The petition included a letter from the current president of the 
Outer Coastal Plain Vineyard Association stating that the Association 
supports the proposed expansion, and noting that the petitioners for 
the expansion have been members of that Association since 2006. TTB 
notes that the Association's Web site lists as a member Bellview 
Winery, the original petitioner for the Outer Coastal Plain AVA.
    According to the petition, the proposed expansion area is similar 
to the established Outer Coastal Plain AVA with regard to its primary 
distinguishing features: The soils, elevations, and climate. The most 
common soils of the proposed expansion area are well-drained soils that 
contain large amounts of sand and/or gravel, similar to the soils 
within the Outer Coastal Plain AVA, as described in T.D. TTB-58, which 
established that AVA. The proposed expansion area and the established 
Outer Coastal Plain AVA are also both regions of agricultural land with 
low elevations. Within the Outer Coastal Plain AVA, the elevations are 
below 280 feet, and within the proposed expansion area, the elevations 
primarily range from 6 to 150 feet above sea level with a small region 
along the western edge of the proposed expansion area reaching 250 
feet. Finally, although much of the established AVA has a growing 
season ranging from 190 to 217 days, the proposed expansion area's 
growing season of 188 to 192 days is similar to that of the adjacent 
portion of the Outer Coastal Plain AVA.
    The regions to the west and northwest of the proposed expansion 
area are outside the Outer Coastal Plain AVA. These regions are marked 
by a belt of hills called the cuestas. Elevations within the cuestas 
can reach as high as 1,680 feet, which is significantly higher than the 
elevations in both the proposed expansion area and the Outer Coastal 
Plain AVA. The growing season length within most of the cuestas is also 
shorter than the growing seasons for the proposed expansion area and 
the Outer Coastal Plain AVA. The portion of the cuestas immediately 
adjacent to the proposed expansion area has a growing season length of 
between 185 and 188 days, but moving farther west and north within the 
cuestas, the growing season shortens to between 163 and 179 days. 
Finally, the soils of the cuesta region differ from soils within the 
proposed expansion area and the Outer Coastal Plain AVA in that they 
have higher clay content and less sand and gravel.

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Comments Received

    TTB published Notice No. 162 in the Federal Register on September 
20, 2016 (81 FR 64368), proposing to expand the Outer Coastal Plain 
AVA. In the notice, TTB summarized the evidence from the petition 
regarding the name, boundary, and distinguishing features for the 
proposed expansion area. For a detailed description of the evidence 
relating to the name, boundary, and distinguishing features of the 
proposed expansion area, and for a comparison of the distinguishing 
features of the proposed expansion area to the surrounding areas and to 
the established Outer Coastal Plain AVA, see Notice No. 162.

Comments Received

    In Notice No. 162, TTB solicited comments on the accuracy of the 
name, boundary, climatic, and other required information submitted in 
support of the petition. The comment period closed on November 21, 
2016.
    In response to Notice No. 162, TTB received one comment. The 
commenter, who describes himself as a past President of the Outer 
Coastal Plain Vineyard Association who was involved with the 
determination of the distinguishing features of the established Outer 
Coastal Plain AVA, supported the expansion of the Outer Coastal Plain 
AVA. The commenter stated his belief that the expansion petition 
contained ``valid name evidence, boundary evidence and distinctive 
features that are recognizable features of the Outer Coastal Plain,'' 
and he specifically cited as shared features the sandy loam and loamy 
sand soils, soil drainage, and the length of growing degree days. The 
commenter also stated his belief that the proposed expansion area 
should be added to the existing AVA. The comment did not raise any new 
issues concerning the proposed AVA expansion. TTB received no comments 
opposing the expansion of the Outer Coastal Plain AVA.

TTB Determination

    After careful review of the petition and the comment received, TTB 
finds that the evidence provided by the petitioner sufficiently 
demonstrates that the proposed expansion area shares the 
characteristics of the established Outer Coastal Plain AVA and should 
also be recognized as part of that 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 expands the 2.25 
million-acre Outer Coastal Plain AVA to include the approximately 
32,932-acre expansion area as described in Notice No. 162, effective 30 
days from the publication date of this document.

Boundary Description

    See the narrative description of the boundary of the AVA expansion 
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 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.
    The expansion of the Outer Coastal Plain AVA will not affect any 
other existing AVA, and bottlers using ``Outer Coastal Plain'' as an 
appellation of origin or in a brand name for wines made from grapes 
within the Outer Coastal Plain AVA will not be affected by this 
expansion. The expansion of the Outer Coastal Plain AVA will allow

[[Page 57659]]

vintners to use ``Outer Coastal Plain'' as an appellation of origin for 
wines made primarily from grapes grown within the expansion area 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

    Dana Register 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. Section 9.207 is amended by:
0
a. Revising paragraphs (b) introductory text and (b)(6) and (7);
0
b. Adding paragraphs (b)(8) through (10);
0
c. Revising paragraphs (c)(16) and (17);
0
d. Redesignating paragraphs (c)(18) through (22) as paragraphs (c)(21) 
through (25); and
0
e. Adding new paragraphs (c)(18) through (20).
    The revisions and additions read as follows:


Sec.  9.207  Outer Coastal Plain.

* * * * *
    (b) Approved maps. The appropriate maps for determining the 
boundary of the Outer Coastal Plain viticultural area are 10 United 
States Geological Survey topographic maps. They are titled:
* * * * *
    (6) Cape May, New Jersey, 1981, 1:100,000 scale;
    (7) Dover, Delaware-New Jersey-Maryland, 1984, 1:100,000 scale;
    (8) Freehold, New Jersey, 2014, 1:24,000 scale;
    (9) Marlboro, New Jersey, 2014, 1:24,000 scale; and
    (10) Keyport, New Jersey-New York, 2014, 1:24,000 scale.
    (c) * * *
    (16) Continue northeasterly on CR 537, crossing onto the Freehold, 
New Jersey, map, to the intersection of CR 537 (known locally as W. 
Main Street) and State Route 79 (known locally as S. Main Street) in 
Freehold; then
    (17) Proceed northeasterly, then northerly, along State Route 79, 
crossing onto the Marlboro, New Jersey, map to the intersection of 
State Route 79 and Pleasant Valley Road in Wickatunk; then
    (18) Proceed northeasterly, then southeasterly along Pleasant 
Valley Road to the road's intersection with Schank Road, south of 
Pleasant Valley; then
    (19) Proceed easterly along Schank Road to the road's intersection 
with Holmdel Road; then
    (20) Proceed northerly along Holmdel Road, crossing onto the 
Keyport, New Jersey-New York map, to the road's intersection with the 
Garden State Parkway, north of Crawford Corners; then
* * * * *

    Signed: May 2, 2017.
John J. Manfreda,
Administrator.

    Approved: October 19, 2017.
Timothy E. Skud,
Deputy Assistant Secretary (Tax, Trade, and Tariff Policy).
[FR Doc. 2017-26414 Filed 12-6-17; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4810-31-P