Notice of Proposed Rulemaking re: Labeling of Imported Wine with Multistate Appellations


On November 3, 2010, TTB issued a notice of proposed rulemaking regarding a possible change in the wine labeling regulations which would allow for the listing of multistate appellations of origin on imported wines. TTB currently recognizes that other countries have political subdivisions equivalent to States that qualify as appellations of origin. In addition the wine labeling regulations presently allow for the inclusion of multistate appellations on labels for domestic wines, provided all fruit or other agricultural products were grown in the States or counties listed on the label, the percentage of fruit from each is included on the label and the wine conforms to the laws and regulations governing composition and method of manufacture for those appellations.

In order for an imported wine to be labeled with multistate appellations of origin, TTB would require that the names included in the appellation are states, provinces, territories or political subdivisions of the country equivalent to a State and that the places are contiguous. The COLA applicants would be required to provide documentation supporting the facts, e.g. maps which delineate the named places and are highlighted to show their contiguity to one another or statements from the officials within the country which support the claims.

TTB is proposing that the wine be produced only from fruit and agricultural products from the named subdivisions, the percentage from each be included on the label, and conform with the laws and regulations governing the composition and method of production within the country of origin; comparable to the current Federal regulations for labeling domestic multistate appellations of origin. The purpose behind the proposed amendment is to better inform the consumer about the wines they are purchasing.

TTB is accepting comments from the public through January 3, 2011, specifically (1) whether the proposed amendments will result in treatment of imported wines comparable to domestic wines bearing multistate appellations of origin; (2) regarding subdivisions of foreign countries that might be considered equivalents to U.S. States; and (3) the requirements for the use of multistate appellations for imported wines.

As of December 29, 2010 TTB extended the comment period. The new deadline is March 4, 2011.

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