Unified Wine and Grape Symposium

By Michael Kaiser

I just returned from the 2011 Unified Wine and Grape Symposium in Sacramento, California. Once again, a very impressive and important event for the American wine and grape industry. It is always a good opportunity for WineAmerica to connect with current winery and SAC members and develop some new contacts.

The WineAmerica staff is going to be traveling quite a bit more in the next few months and we hope to see a lot of our current members and make more new connections as we continue to grow our membership this year.

Here is where the WineAmerica staff will be in the coming months:

Jennifer Montgomery, Director of Political Affairs and Grassroots will be attending the Midwest Wine and Grape Conference in St. Charles, MO from February 4 -7. She will also be attending the Cold Climate Conference in Minneapolis, MN from February 17-19. Jennifer will also be at Wineries Unlimited in Richmond, VA from March 29-31.

Cary Greene, Chief Operating Officer and General Council will be attending the Oregon Wine Industry Symposium in Eugene, OR from February 21-23.

Michael Kaiser, Director of Communications and Regulatory Affairs will also be attending Wineries Unlimited. Michael will also be attending License to Steal in Geneva, OH from April 12-14 and the Pennsylvania Wineries Association Meeting in State College, PA from April 18-20.

We hope to see many of you at these various events.

TTB Updates Rules for Approval of American Viticultural Areas

By Michael Kaiser

On Thursday, January 20 the TTB released updated rules on the approval process of American Viticultural Areas. Essentially the process for approval is the same. The applicants will still need to file a petition with the TTB with significant evidence to support the establishment of a new AVA.

The TTB issues a notice of proposed rulemaking in November 2007 requesting comment on the establishment of new rules. Most notably, the TTB implemented a “grandfather” clause that would have allowed the use of geographic brand names even if the winery in question was not sourcing their grapes from the AVA in question. This has been dropped in the final rule.

TTB decided against imposing specific minimum acreage size or vineyards density for new AVAs. They did stress that the grape-growing in the proposed region be of sufficient scope.

The TTB is still stressing their ultimate authority to deny AVA applications and to require more specific information from petitioners. They did not go as far enough to constrain the approval of smaller viticultural areas embedded with larger viticultural areas.

WineAmerica will have a more in depth analysis of this final rule after the Unified Wine and Grape Symposium next week.

To read the final rule please visit this website: http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2011/pdf/2011-1138.pdf

TTB Announces Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Proposing 57 New Approved Grape Variety Names

Today the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau issued a notice of proposed rulemaking that would add 57 new grape names to the approved list of grape variety names.

TTB is seeking comments on the grape names proposed to insure accuracy. They would like to hear from wineries that may want to use the names on their wine labels. The majority of the grape names proposed are hybrid grapes.

The grape names have been proposed by growers and winemakers in each case. Some of the names are already allowed pending formal approval by the TTB. The list of approved grape names has not been updated since 2002.

Here is the link for the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. TTB is seeking comments until March 21, 2011.

TTB Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on New Grape Names

U.S. Wine Industry Consumer Direct Sales Survey

VinQuestâ„¢ 2011 – the U.S. wine industry’s annual survey of consumer direct sales trends at the country’s 3500+ bonded wineries.

Qualified representatives of any U.S. winery may participate in this survey by clicking here.
Your participation will benefit the entire wine industry.

In return for your time, all winery participants who complete this survey will receive a free copy of theVinQuest 2011 Research Summary — a $149 value.

All information provided is completely confidential and will be used only to identify industry averages and important sales trends affecting U.S. wineries.

Thank you for your participation in this project.

For more information on the VinQuest research project, please click here.

We are headed to Grand Junction, Colorado next week for VinCO 2011 : Wine Business, Enology, Viticulture, & Horticulture. Cary Greene and Michael Kaiser are featured speakers at the event and WineAmerica Insurance will have a booth at the trade show.