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TomHill

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WineSearcher: Labeling Controversy

by TomHill » Tue Feb 06, 2018 12:07 pm

As linked by WineTerroirist, article in WineSearcher by LisaZimmerman on a wine labeling controversy:
LabelControversy

It's not altogether clear to me what the exact problem is, but as I understand it:

1. You are a wnry in NM. You buy a bunch of NapaVlly Cabernet grapes and make a wine. If you only sell your wine in NM, you can legally label it as NapaVlly Cabernet, w/ the caveat on the label "For sale in NM only"

2. If you want to sell your NapaVllyCab outside of NM, you must label it as "American Cabernet".

3. If you request from the TTB a Note 160B waiver, you can sell your NapaVllyCab outside of NM labeled as "Napa Vlly Cabernet". Obviously, the NapaVlly Vintners Assoc regard this as unfair competition and are raising a hissy-fit (Kansas colloquialism) to have the 160B waiver repealed. But folks in the SuisunVlly and Lodi make a lot of $'s by selling their grapes out of state and are opposed to the repeal of this 160B waiver.

Gruet plays by the rules (sorta). It used to be labeled as "NM Sparkling Wine" before the sale to Precept Brands because it was made from grapes grown on their estate here in NM. Now, post-Precept, the grapes come primarily WashState grapes. So it is labeled on the back as "American Sparkling Wine". Though on the front label it states "Proudly Produced in NM", which sorta implies it's a NM Sparkling Wine. All above-board & legal.

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And One Other...

by TomHill » Tue Feb 06, 2018 1:42 pm

TomHill wrote:As linked by WineTerroirist, article in WineSearcher by LisaZimmerman on a wine labeling controversy:
LabelControversy

It's not altogether clear to me what the exact problem is, but as I understand it:

1. You are a wnry in NM. You buy a bunch of NapaVlly Cabernet grapes and make a wine. If you only sell your wine in NM, you can legally label it as NapaVlly Cabernet, w/ the caveat on the label "For sale in NM only"

2. If you want to sell your NapaVllyCab outside of NM, you must label it as "American Cabernet".

3. If you request from the TTB a Note 160B waiver, you can sell your NapaVllyCab outside of NM labeled as "Napa Vlly Cabernet". Obviously, the NapaVlly Vintners Assoc regard this as unfair competition and are raising a hissy-fit (Kansas colloquialism) to have the 160B waiver repealed. But folks in the SuisunVlly and Lodi make a lot of $'s by selling their grapes out of state and are opposed to the repeal of this 160B waiver.

Gruet plays by the rules (sorta). It used to be labeled as "NM Sparkling Wine" before the sale to Precept Brands because it was made from grapes grown on their estate here in NM. Now, post-Precept, the grapes come primarily WashState grapes. So it is labeled on the back as "American Sparkling Wine". Though on the front label it states "Proudly Produced in NM", which sorta implies it's a NM Sparkling Wine. All above-board & legal.

Tom

And then there's one other case:
4. If you're a wnry in Calif, say in Solano Cnty, and buy a bunch of NapaVlly Cabernet, you're legally allowed to label it "NapaVlly Cabernet". I'm sure the NapaVlly Vintner's Association also regards that as unfair competition. But it's perfectly legal.

Apparently, a lot of nefarious things can happen to grapes when they're trucked across the border of Calif.
Tom
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Re: WineSearcher: Labeling Controversy

by Dale Williams » Tue Feb 06, 2018 1:45 pm

TomHill wrote:3. If you request from the TTB a Note 160B waiver, you can sell your NapaVllyCab outside of NM labeled as "Napa Vlly Cabernet". Obviously, the NapaVlly Vintners Assoc regard this as unfair competition and are raising a hissy-fit (Kansas colloquialism) to have the 160B waiver repealed. But folks in the SuisunVlly and Lodi make a lot of $'s by selling their grapes out of state and are opposed to the repeal of this 160B waiver


Just to be clear, grapes from Lodi or Suisin would be labeled California, NOT Napa.
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Re: WineSearcher: Labeling Controversy

by TomHill » Tue Feb 06, 2018 1:55 pm

Dale Williams wrote:
TomHill wrote:3. If you request from the TTB a Note 160B waiver, you can sell your NapaVllyCab outside of NM labeled as "Napa Vlly Cabernet". Obviously, the NapaVlly Vintners Assoc regard this as unfair competition and are raising a hissy-fit (Kansas colloquialism) to have the 160B waiver repealed. But folks in the SuisunVlly and Lodi make a lot of $'s by selling their grapes out of state and are opposed to the repeal of this 160B waiver


Just to be clear, grapes from Lodi or Suisin would be labeled California, NOT Napa.


That's not the way I read the article, Dale. If you request the waiver, you can label it as "NapaVlly" and not have to
label it as "Calif". If you also included Cab grapes from Lodi, then you'd have to label it "Calif" Cabernet.

I gather the crux of the problem is that, with the waiver, outside-Calif wineries can use the AVA designate on their
if they're granted the waiver.
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Re: WineSearcher: Labeling Controversy

by Brian K Miller » Tue Feb 06, 2018 3:32 pm

Suisun Valley has its own AVA. Since 1982.
...(Humans) are unique in our capacity to construct realities at utter odds with reality. Dogs dream and dolphins imagine, but only humans are deluded. –Jacob Bacharach
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Re: WineSearcher: Labeling Controversy

by Dale Williams » Tue Feb 06, 2018 5:07 pm

I just meant those grapes couldn't be labeled Napa.
Frankly, for low end consumers I'd assume California had more recognition than Suisun or Lodi (except for Creedence fans)
Does Napa have any restrictions other than geography? No yield limits, correct?
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Re: WineSearcher: Labeling Controversy

by Victorwine » Wed Feb 07, 2018 12:46 am

Did anyone actually read note 160?
I don't think an out of state winery who outsources fresh grapes from California
would get away with labeling it just "Napa Valley". Maybe "Napa County" / "Napa
Valley California" / "Napa Valley Grapes".

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Re: WineSearcher: Labeling Controversy

by Dale Williams » Wed Feb 07, 2018 11:10 am

" legal loophole, called note No. 160 or 160B, was recently breached by a non-California winery and its legality is being called into question. "
Does anyone know what winery is in question and what they did?

"The non-California wineries making use of this label exemption weren't bound to the same legal restrictions as California wineries"
Again, are there yield restrictions or other factors that let non-CA wineries using 160B be less stringent?
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Re: WineSearcher: Labeling Controversy

by Victorwine » Wed Feb 07, 2018 1:55 pm

Take this scenerio. Two bordering states, Califoria and Idaho. Let's say in Idaho for a wine to be labelled an Idaho wine only 85% of the geapes have to be homegrown. In California for a wine to be labelled a California wine 100% of the grapes have to be homegrown. So technically a commercial licensed wine producer in Idaho who outsources grapes from California and produces a wine using a min 85% Idaho grown grapes and the balance California grown, could label the wine an Idaho wine (include grape variety and vintage date) or American wine (and not inlude grape variety (a generic term or unofficial name could be used) or vintage date). If that producer produces a wine using 100% California grown fruit it could be labelled California wine (include grape variety and vintage date) or American wine (see above).
Grapes and wine are not equal. A wine poduced (grown and fermented) in California, bulk shipped almost anywhere, cellared and bottled (without altering the type and style of original fermented wine) could be labeled a California wine. Sparkling wine would be different, still wine coming out of California, sparkling wines produced somewhere else.
In today's day and age why can't a commercial winery in Nrw York do the same as one in Idaho?

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Re: WineSearcher: Labeling Controversy

by Dale Williams » Wed Feb 07, 2018 2:16 pm

Victorwine wrote:Take this scenerio. Two bordering states, Califoria and Idaho.


Well, first of all I'd like to see the California-Idaho border crossing. :)

But seriously, if regs are like your example, a real loophole would be if an Idaho winery brought in 85% Napa, filled in with 15% Idaho.. According to state law could they label Napa Valley, even if it wouldn't meet Napa criteria?
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Re: WineSearcher: Labeling Controversy

by Victorwine » Wed Feb 07, 2018 7:16 pm

I should'nt of used the word border but a three state continuous. The TTB regs do mention bordering states but also a three state continous in an unbroken line with regards to using a state designated AVA on a wine label.

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Re: WineSearcher: Labeling Controversy

by wnissen » Fri Feb 09, 2018 3:23 pm

I've read this article twice now and don't understand the controversy. Is it true that Napa Valley grapes can't be crushed and fermented in New Mexico and still be labeled with their AVA? The idea that California vinification is the source of distinctive terroir is laughable. We're not talking an abbey beer that is depending on ambient yeast. The proof of this is that nobody cares if a Northern California winery makes a Paso pinot noir, and that's hundreds of miles. After all, don't we bray "wine is made in the vineyard" over and over again like a mantra? The soil, sun, weather, rainfall, everything that makes the grape what it is are already done. So what if the grapes sit in a refrigerated truck for a couple days, their origin is clear. If it's planted in Napa, ripened in Napa, and picked in Napa, it's Napa!

The dispute seems like the opposite of the Italian olive oil scandal, where olives from all over the Mediterranean were being shipped to Italy to be packed as "Italian". Now, as I recall, they have to be clearly labeled, "packed in Italy" and the actual origin has to be listed. I wouldn't mind a requirement that all grapes more than a day's drive from their origin have to be labeled with the point of crushing, but the idea that high-end Napa Valley grapes turn into "American cabernet" the second they cross a state line is absurd.
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Re: WineSearcher: Labeling Controversy

by Victorwine » Tue Feb 13, 2018 5:03 pm

Some might find the following link interesting

http://www.beveragelaw.com/booze-rules/ ... ompromised

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Re: WineSearcher: Labeling Controversy

by Hoke » Tue Feb 13, 2018 6:33 pm

Walt, you're okay with anything less than a day's drive for crushed grapes to keep their appellation?

Next Day Delivery doesn't work for you?

By the way, winos: the same thing is going on with labeling, designation, origin and such in the spirits world too.

Latest is when Senator Schumer went to meet McConnell, and presented him with a gift of "New York" whiskey. Unfortunately, he didn't realize it was the notorious Widow Jane Whiskey...which was made by MGP, the mega-distillery in Indiana, shipped to New York, diluted to proof with local water (which was claimed to be from the original Widow June mine, but wasn't), and then called New York Whiskey.

Egg on Schumer's face---but if he's not a whiskey guy, how the hell would he know?

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