FINAL COMMENTS TO TTB NOTICE 160 DUE ON WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 7TH – WE ARE ASKING THE TTB TO EXTEND THE COMMENT PERIOD AGAIN TO ALLOW FOR INDUSTRY NEGOTIATION AND ALIGNMENT OF INTERESTS

As the TTB’s 90-day extension to submit comments on the proposed rule changes governing the use of label exemptions for wine sold intra-state comes to a close, there is only one thing that has been settled.  TTB Notice 160 is very controversial.

The original proposal responded to the concerns of wineries in various AVA regions that when grapes from those regions are being sold to wineries outside of the state the resulting wine could then be labeled under the current “in-state sale only” exemption with AVA identifying information; contrary to non-exempt federal AVA labeling requirements mandating that the wine bearing an AVA be produced almost entirely within the AVA. 

The bottom line is that under Notice 160, the exemption would be no longer available and the out of state wineries that buy the grapes from AVA areas would not be permitted to identify on their labels where the wine grapes used in their wine came from.  This would both depress the price and desirability of wine grapes sourced from growers in areas that carry an AVA designation, and result in non-California wineries using out of state grapes from AVA designated areas being unable to tell consumers where their grapes originated.

We extensively summarized the various points of view in our August 15, 2016 blog post before the last extension of the TTB comment period.  The current extension for comments period expires on December 7, 2016 and we are sending this blog to the TTB as a comment. 

What we are asking for is another extension to allow time for the industry to attempt to arrive at a negotiated consensus.  If you agree with us, please copy the blog and email it to the TTB as an endorsed comment.  Here is the Notice as published in the Federal Register with filing instructions.

The purpose in asking for another extension is to permit the different affected participants (wineries and growers) time to arrive at a compromise that both permits the sale of the fruit, and satisfies the consumers right to know where the grapes in their wine came from. Without a compromise one possible outcome is First Amendment litigation that could undermine the entire AVA system.  Another outcome could be widespread scoffing at the AVA system through moving the identifying information that should be on the label on-line.

Is a compromise possible?  The Napa Valley Vintners have been circulating a white paper laying out a possible compromise through a mechanism they called “Grape Source Information” on the back label of a wine. The grape source information could not use the AVA of the area from which the grapes emanated but could use the address of the vineyard from which the fruit came. It is yet to be seen whether or not NVV will file this proposal with the TTB, as their first comment filed in August simply calls for the proposed changes to be approved.  Regardless, this is a very promising approach. However, in its current form (with identification limited to counties) it doesn’t completely accomplish the goal because (among other address related identification issues) viticultural areas (such as Lodi) are often located in different counties or in counties that are not that well known to consumers. 

However it is a framework for compromise and, as such, we believe that the discussions should be continued.

We urge the TTB to keep the comment period open for at least another 90 days.

  1. Founder John Hinman Honored with the Raphael House Community Impact Award
  2. ROUTE TO MARKET AND MARKETING RESTRICTIONS - NAVIGATING REGULATORY SYSTEM CONSTRAINTS
  3. Alcohol and Cannabis Ventures: Top 5 Legal Considerations
  4. ATF and TTB: Is Another Divorce on the Horizon? What’s Going on with the Agency?
  5. STRIKE 3 - YOU REALLY ARE OUT! THE ABC'S STRICT APPLICATION OF PENALTIES FOR SALES TO MINORS
  6. TTB Temporarily Fixes Problem with Fulfillment Warehouse Tax Credits - an “Alternate Procedure” for Paying Taxes & Reporting
  7. CUSTOMERS WHO HAVE HAD ONE TOO MANY - THE FREE TRANSPORTATION DILEMMA
  8. The Renaissance of Federal Unfair Trade Practices - Current Issues and Strategies
  9. ‘Twas the week before New Year’s and the ABC is out in Force – Alerts for the Last Week of 2017, including the Limits on Free Rides
  10. Big Bottles, Caviar and a CA Wine Strong Silent Auction for the Holidays!
  11. The FDA and the Wine and Spirits Industry – Surprise inspections anyone?
  12. NORTHERN CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES: UPDATED REGULATORY AGENCY DISASTER RELIEF RESOURCES AT A GLANCE
  13. NORTHERN CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES: REGULATORY AGENCY DISASTER RELIEF RESOURCES AT A GLANCE
  14. Soon to come to your Local Supermarket– Instant Redeemable Coupons of the digital age!
  15. The License Piggyback Dilemma – If it Sounds Too Good to be True, it Probably is
  16. A timely message from our Florida colleagues on the tied house laws, the three-tier system and the need for reform
  17. ABC Declaratory Rulings – A Modest Proposal Whose Time has Come
  18. More on FDA Inspections - Breweries, Distilleries and Questions
  19. WHY THE FDA IS INSPECTING WINERIES
  20. Senate Bill 378—The Proposed Demise of Due Process for Alcohol Licensees
  21. ABC Enforcement - Trends and Predictions
  22. The Corruption Chronicles – Volume One: A New Hope
  23. New Alcohol Delivery Oversight on the Horizon
  24. Michigan: Canary in the DtC Coal Mine?
  25. California ABC and Federal Credit Laws – Active Enforcement and Lots of Questions!
  26. Big Bottles For The Holidays - The Highest Calling Of The Winemaker's Art
  27. FINAL COMMENTS TO TTB NOTICE 160 DUE ON WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 7TH – WE ARE ASKING THE TTB TO EXTEND THE COMMENT PERIOD AGAIN TO ALLOW FOR INDUSTRY NEGOTIATION AND ALIGNMENT OF INTERESTS
  28. SONOMA COUNTY WINERY USE PERMITS, EVENT RESTICTIONS AND DTC
  29. New TTB Labeling Requirement Regulations: Out-of-State Bottling Is Not Created Equal and Consumers Right to Know Where the Grapes in their Wine Come from is Compromised
  30. Isn't A Written Agreement With A Distributor Worthless In A Franchise State?
  31. Crowd Funding for Alcohol Producers and Retailers – Down the Rabbit Hole with the Tied House laws
  32. Everything you ever wanted to know about the BPA Warning Statement but were afraid to ask
  33. AB 2082 - A Hunting License for Police and a Lethal Weapon for Politicians that Deprives Licensees of Currently Available Due Process Rights
  34. “Better Late Than Never”-- Judge in Illinois Dismisses 201 Sales Tax Cases against Retailers
  35. The Day the Music Almost Died: The Story of the BottleRock ABC Accusations, the ABC Appeals Board and a Victory for a Common Sense Interpretation of the Tied House Laws
  36. The Arsenic in Wine Class Action Dismissal – what it means
  37. Counterfeit or Artisanal Mexican Spirits? Pick your Poison, or your lime wedge
  38. Warning - CA ABC enforcement teams are on the prowl this weekend!
  39. RELIEF AT LAST! ILLINOIS MOVES TO FIX THE SALES TAX LAWSUITS AGAINST OUT-OF-STATE SELLERS BUT PROPOSES TO PENALIZE WINERIES AND RETAILERS THAT SHIP WITHOUT PERMITS
  40. The TTB Speaks on Category Management or, be Careful What you Ask for Because you might Get it!
  41. Hinman & Carmichael LLP Announces the Addition of Jeremy Siegel to its team of top beverage law lawyers
  42. 2016 LEGISLATIVE UPDATES: Part IV
  43. 2016 LEGISLATIVE UPDATES: Part III
  44. 2016 LEGISLATIVE UPDATES: Part II
  45. 2016 LEGISLATIVE UPDATES: Part I
  46. Hinman & Carmichael LLP is Hiring!
  47. John Hinman Presents NBI Webinar on Basics of Alcohol Beverage Law
  48. ABC DISMISSES SAVE MART GRAPE ESCAPE ACCUSATION BUT REFUSES TO ADOPT JUDGE’S DECISION FINDING NO STRICT LIABILITY FOR ABC VIOLATIONS
  49. Speakeasies are still with us, and proliferating!
  50. The War for the Soul of Sonoma County – the Winery Working Group Battle
  51. Santa Claus isn’t the only one coming to town this Christmas!
  52. Arizona's Direct to Consumer Shipping Rules - An Exercise in Complexity
  53. AB 780 - Social Media and the ABC: The California Legislative “Fix” that Fails
  54. Illinois Finally Offers Certainty and Relief for Victims of Sales Tax Lawsuits, but Prompt Action is Required in Pending Cases
  55. A Modest Proposal – Adopt the federal rule on Tied-House liability in California
  56. The Grapes Escaped - Why the First Amendment Matters
  57. Appellate Court Ruling Strikes Blow Against State’s Arbitrary Beer Label Ban
  58. Illinois Attorney General's Office Announces Intention to Dismiss False Claims Act Against Liquor Retailers
  59. Commercial Speech And Alcoholic Beverages - Part III
  60. Commercial Speech And Alcoholic Beverages - Part II
  61. Craft Beverages: Social Media Marketing the Effective and Compliant Way
  62. Commercial Speech And Alcoholic Beverages - Part I
  63. A LAYPERSON LOOKS AT ARSENIC IN WINE
  64. The Biggest Retailer in the World vs. the TABC
  65. Rebecca Stamey-White presents Emerging Issues in Wine Law
  66. Top Beverage Alcohol Law Firm Adds and Elevates Partners
  67. Illinois Qui Tam Lawsuits—Private Enforcement Of a State Claim: A Bonanza For A Plaintiff’s Lawyer And A Rip-Off Of Retailers
  68. BOOZE RULES OF SOCIAL MEDIA: The Retailer Right to Pay Exception
  69. LIONS AND TIGERS AND TWEETS, OH MY!
  70. AB 2004: Brewer's Incremental Parity with Wine Makers
  71. Expanding, Proud Of It, and Wanting to Tell the World
  72. DC Weighs in Strongly on Third Party Marketer Delivery Services
  73. “Visual Links” between Beer, Wine and Spirits Labels and Retailers Ruled Unlawful in California — the tied house laws run amok
  74. Hard Cider Legislative Update
  75. New Marketing Model for New York – Lot 18 and the NYSLA
  76. Sweeping Changes in Proposed NYSLA Bill Include Expansion for Craft
  77. Minimum Resale Price Policies - How to Control Price-Cutters
  78. AB 2130 – Gloves Off?
  79. “Gluten-Free” Labels for Wine, Beer and Distilled Spirits. We’re Still Waiting.
  80. AB 1252: Sanitation Overkill?
  81. Growlers: Not Just for Beer Anymore
  82. California Legislative Roundup 2014
  83. Build It and They Will Come: Craft Products Get New Privileges in CA and TX
  84. AB 1128: Veto of the “Serve a Minor” Felony Penalty Bill, or How to Lose a Winery in One Sale
  85. California Grocers Association v. ABC, Part 2: California Appeals Court Vacates ABC’s Adoption of a Trade Advisory That Correctly Guided Licensee Conduct
  86. California Grocers Association v. ABC, Part 1: California Appeals Court Prohibits Alcohol Sales at Self-Check Out Stands
  87. AB 1128: The “Serve a Minor” Felony Penalty Bill, or How to Lose a Winery in One Sale
  88. The New York SLA and Online Wine Sales: A Work in Progress
  89. California SB 635: What the 4am Bill Really Means for California Communities
  90. Electronic Invoices in California: Welcome to the 19th Century
  91. The History of Amazon and Wine: What Has Changed?
  92. Third Party Marketing Checklist
  93. BOOZE RULES – PROMOTIONAL APPEARANCES AND AUTOGRAPHS
  94. Washington State: Down the Rabbit Hole of the Tied-House Laws