Friday, November 23, 2007

Proposed Revision of American Viticultural Area Regulations

Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau has new regulations on viticultural areas for comment. The proposed regulations can be found by clicking here. The notice states the following for why these areas are now under review:

For a number of reasons, TTB and Treasury believe that a
comprehensive review of the AVA program is warranted in order to
maintain the integrity of the program. First, we are concerned that
because the establishment of an AVA can limit the use of existing brand
names, approval of an AVA can have a deleterious effect on established
businesses, can limit competition, and can be used by petitioners to
adversely affect a competitor's business. We note in this regard that
where a conflict exists between a proposed AVA name and an established
brand name used on a wine label approved by TTB, a choice must be made
between competing commercial interests; we do not believe that, in the
context of the labeling provisions of the FAA Act, it is an appropriate
governmental role to make choices that undermine the commercial
interests of particular entities, if such choices can be avoided.
In addition, we note that over the years there has been an increase
in the number of petitions for the establishment of new AVAs within
already existing AVAs. Because the idea behind the recognition of an
AVA is that it is a unique area for viticultural purposes with
reference to what is outside it, we believe that preserving the
integrity of the AVA program mandates clarifying the standards for AVAs
to foster greater scrutiny on the establishment of new AVAs within
existing AVAs.
Finally, there is a need to explain and clarify the AVA petition
submission and review process and to clearly state the existing
authority to deny, and the grounds for denying, an AVA rulemaking
Remember that these regulations apply to Indiana as well as California.