Last time, in Part 7 of our series on the TTB’s “Notice No. 176” – the “Modernization of the Labeling and Advertising Regulations for Wine, Distilled Spirits, and Malt Beverages” we covered proposed changes to some wine labeling and advertising regulations.

In Part 8 we continue the wine-limited regulations covering changes to issues like prohibited labeling practices and wine standards of identity.

The proposed updated regulations will change wine labeling practices in the following ways:

  1. A new section 4.135 is proposed which will continue to prohibit misleading references to the origin of wine but will liberalize the TTB’s current policy by specifically authorizing the use of truthful, accurate, and specific information about the origin of the grapes, fruit, or other agricultural materials that were used to produce the wine when the wine is not labeled with an appellation of origin. For example a wine labeled “red wine” might be able to bear a statement representing that “this wine was fermented and bottled in New York from 50% grapes grown in New York and 50% grapes grown in Virginia,” if that information were true.
  2. The rules for type designations will be reorganized under new standards of identity to fall within the class designation “still grape wine.”
  3. The current requirement for statements of composition on certain class and type designations will be redrawn to allow for statements such as “apple-pear wine” instead of statements of composition about the makeup of these wines.
  4. The TTB is proposing to update the standards of identity to clarify that classes of wine such as sparkling grape wine, carbonated grape wine, citrus wine, and fruit wine must comply with the standards for natural wine set forth in Section 5382 of the IRC. For imported wines this means that a wine designated as a still grape wine, sparkling grape wine, or carbonated grape wine must be made in accordance with the standards set forth in 26 USC 5382 and 5383 for natural wine and a wine designated as fruit wine must be made in accordance with the standards set forth in 26 USC 5382 and 5384 for natural wine.
  5. Current methods of amelioration are modified so that there are no longer three different methods and the proposed rule will clarify that grape wines and fruit wines must all conform to the standards for natural wine set forth in the IRC.
  6. The term natural will no longer be used to designate wine that has no brandy added to it, but instead theTTB is seeking comment as to consumer interpretation of the term natural and how changing its definition as something more than designating the lack of brandy may impact existing labels.
  7. The class “citrus wine” will be eliminated in such wines will now be called fruit wines.
  8. The proposed regulations would clarify what is meant by, and give examples of, labeling terms that are generic, semi-generic, and non-generic designations of geographic significance.

In our next installment, we will begin discussing those changes specific to distilled spirits.