How did half a year fly by already? And how it is possible that in a similarly short period we’ll be at the end of 2022 with the elections over (thank goodness) and most likely a new power dynamic in DC for the next two years?
As usual, Congress is in recess, but some things have still been keeping WineAmerica staff busy. Besides the new standards of fill proposal which we oppose as unnecessary and potentially burdensome, the Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) is proposing something we support: revisiting the possibility of allowing the word “fortified” on labels.
The current prohibition is based on the premises that wines with that word could be perceived by consumers as healthier, like foods fortified with vitamins; or that “fortified” would be a temptation for people looking to abuse alcohol.
If the TTB proposal is approved, it does not mean wines may be labeled “Fortified”, or that semi-generic terms like “Port” and “Sherry” will be revived for general use rather than by specific wineries which have been “grandfathered” due to their approved use prior to the international agreement of 2006 between the United State and European Union.
So what would this allow? In TTB’s words:
“A wine that contains added distilled spirits may be labeled with an accurate statement of composition which references the type of distilled spirits that have been added, for example, ‘grape wine fortified with apple brandy,’ or ‘apple wine with apple neutral spirits,’ and not be considered misleading.”
WineAmerica supports this initiative, and encourages others to do the same. The full information is posted within Docket No. TTB-2022-0005 at http://www.regulations.gov.
Back on Capitol Hill, Congress is slowly approving funding for various agencies and programs important to our industry, including $150,862,000 for TTB (in line with our request) as well as $200 million for the Market Access Program (MAP) within USDA, which supports export promotion for American wine and other products.