[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 111 (Monday, June 10, 2013)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 34565-34568]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-13601]



Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau

27 CFR Part 4

[Docket No. TTB-2007-0065; T.D. TTB-114; Re: Notice No. 74]
RIN 1513-AB36

Modification of Mandatory Label Information for Wine

AGENCY: Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, Treasury.

ACTION: Final rule; Treasury decision.


SUMMARY: The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) is amending 
its regulations regarding the mandatory labeling requirements for wine. 
The regulatory change permits alcohol content to appear on other labels 
affixed to the container rather than requiring it to appear on the 
brand label. This regulatory change provides greater flexibility in 
wine labeling, and will conform the TTB wine labeling regulations to 
the agreement reached by members of the World Wine Trade Group 
regarding the presentation of certain information on wine labels.

DATES: Effective Date: August 9, 2013.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Karen Welch, Alcohol and Tobacco Tax 
and Trade Bureau, Regulations and Rulings Division, 1310 G St. NW., Box 
12, Washington, DC 20005; telephone (202) 453-1039, extension 046; or 
email WineRegs@ttb.gov.



TTB Authority

    Section 105(e) of the Federal Alcohol Administration Act (FAA Act), 
27 U.S.C. 205(e), authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury to prescribe 
regulations for the labeling of wine, distilled spirits,

[[Page 34566]]

and malt beverages. The FAA Act provides that these regulations should, 
among other things, prohibit consumer deception and the use of 
misleading statements on labels, and ensure that labels provide the 
consumer with adequate information as to the identity, quality, and 
alcohol content of the product. The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade 
Bureau (TTB) administers the FAA Act pursuant to section 1111(d) of the 
Homeland Security Act of 2002, codified at 6 U.S.C. 531(d). The 
Secretary has delegated various authorities through Treasury Department 
Order 120-01 (Revised), dated January 21, 2003, to the TTB 
Administrator to perform the functions and duties in the administration 
and enforcement of this law.

Current TTB Mandatory Labeling Requirements for Wine

    Part 4 of the TTB regulations (27 CFR part 4) sets forth the 
requirements under the FAA Act for the labeling and advertising of 
wine. Section 4.10 (27 CFR 4.10) defines a brand label as the label 
carrying, in the usual distinctive design, the brand name of the wine. 
Section 4.32 (27 CFR 4.32) prescribes mandatory label information. 
Section 4.32(a) requires a statement of the following on the brand 
     The brand name, in accordance with Sec.  4.33;
     The class, type, or other designation, in accordance with 
Sec.  4.34;
     The alcohol content, in accordance with Sec.  4.36; and
     On blends consisting of American and foreign wines, if any 
reference is made to the presence of foreign wine, the exact percentage 
by volume.
    In addition, Sec.  4.32(b) lists other mandatory label information 
that may appear on any label affixed to the container.

World Wine Trade Group Agreement on Requirements for Wine Labeling

    The World Wine Trade Group (WWTG) is composed of both government 
officials and industry representatives from, currently, Argentina, 
Australia, Canada, Chile, Georgia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the 
United States. The WWTG was formed to discuss and address issues 
relating to international wine trade, including reducing and preventing 
non-tariff barriers to that wine trade.
    The Office of the United States Trade Representative heads the 
inter-agency team from the United States that represents the U.S. 
Government during WWTG discussions. This team also includes 
representatives from TTB, the Food and Drug Administration, and the 
Departments of Commerce, State, and Agriculture.
    The WWTG concluded negotiations on a wine labeling agreement 
intended to facilitate further wine trade among members. The WWTG 
Agreement on Requirements for Wine Labelling, hereinafter referred to 
as the ``Agreement,'' was initialed on September 20, 2006, and was 
signed in Canberra, Australia, on January 23, 2007, by the United 
States and other governments. This is an executive agreement and not a 
treaty. A full copy of the Agreement can be viewed at http://www.ita.doc.gov/td/ocg/WWTGlabel.pdf. These negotiations proceeded from 
the view that common labeling requirements would provide industry 
members with the opportunity to use the same label when shipping wine 
to each of the WWTG member countries.
    In the course of the negotiations, the participants recognized that 
most members consider four particular items of information to be 
mandatory. The four items, referred to as ``Common Mandatory 
Information'' (hereinafter CMI) in the WWTG Agreement, are: (1) Country 
of origin, (2) alcohol content (percentage by volume), (3) net 
contents, and (4) product name. The negotiated Agreement also 
incorporates a ``Single Field of Vision'' concept for the placement of 
the CMI. A ``Single Field of Vision'' is any part of the surface of the 
container, excluding its base and cap, that can be seen without having 
to turn the container. Under this approach, as long as all four of the 
CMI elements are visible at the same time, they will meet the placement 
requirements (if any) of each member country. In other words, each 
country must permit the CMI for an imported wine to appear on any label 
anywhere on the wine container (except the base or cap), provided all 
four CMI items are in a Single Field of Vision.

Conforming TTB Regulations to the WWTG Agreement

    The United States cannot deposit an instrument of acceptance for 
the Agreement if the TTB regulations on wine labeling are inconsistent 
with the CMI terms of the Agreement. TTB reviewed its wine labeling 
regulations to determine if any change was necessary in order for the 
United States to meet its obligation to permit these four pieces of 
information to appear in a single field of vision on labels of imported 
wines, as outlined in the Agreement. TTB noted that:
     Although the TTB regulations do not require the inclusion 
of the country of origin on wine labels, such a requirement is 
contained in statutory and regulatory provisions administered by U.S. 
Customs and Border Protection (see 19 U.S.C. 1304 and 19 CFR 134.11). 
Consistent with these requirements, the country of origin may appear on 
any label affixed to a container of imported wine.
     The product name under the Agreement is the word ``wine'' 
and the TTB regulations contain no specific requirements for, or 
restrictions on, the use of the word ``wine'' alone on wine labels.
     TTB regulations generally allow the net contents statement 
to appear on any label affixed to the wine container. (See 27 CFR 
     TTB regulations require that alcohol content information 
appear on the brand label of a wine container. (See 27 CFR 4.32(a)(3)).
    Thus, the only inconsistency between the TTB wine labeling 
regulations and the CMI terms of the Agreement is in the regulatory 
requirement for alcohol content information to appear on the brand 
label. Accordingly, TTB issued a notice of proposed rulemaking in 2007 
to propose removing this requirement.

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Comments Received

Regulatory Changes Proposed in Notice No. 74

    On September 11, 2007, TTB published a notice of proposed 
rulemaking titled ``Modification of Mandatory Label Information for 
Wine, Distilled Spirits, and Malt Beverages'' in the Federal Register 
(72 FR 51732) as Notice No. 74. In that notice, TTB proposed to permit 
alcohol content information for wine, distilled spirits, and malt 
beverages to appear on other labels affixed to the container rather 
than on the brand label as is currently required. Specifically, TTB 
proposed to amend 27 CFR 4.32 (mandatory label information for wine), 
5.32 (mandatory label information for distilled spirits), and 7.22 
(mandatory label information for malt beverages) to move the alcohol 
content requirements from paragraph (a) of each of those sections, 
which prescribes in each case mandatory label information required to 
appear on a brand label, to paragraph (b) of each of those sections, 
which prescribes mandatory label requirements for information that need 
not appear on the brand label.
    The change in Sec.  4.32 will allow industry members to apply the 
WWTG ``Single Field of Vision'' concept concerning the placement of CMI 
on labels. TTB's proposal to make the additional changes in Sec. Sec.  
5.32, and 7.22

[[Page 34567]]

was intended to foster consistency in the labeling requirements among 
all TTB-regulated alcohol beverage products.
    The changes proposed in Notice No. 74 were limited to removing the 
placement requirement for alcohol content. All other formatting 
requirements, such as type size and legibility, remain the same.

Comments Received

    In Notice No. 74, TTB requested comments from all interested 
persons on the proposed regulatory changes by November 13, 2007. TTB 
received five comments in response to that notice. (Copies of Notice 
No. 74, the comments received, and this final rule are available online 
at the ``Regulations.gov'' Web site (http://www.regulations.gov) within 
Docket No. TTB-2007-0065.)
    Three comments expressed support for the proposal. Jackson Family 
Wines stated its support for the WWTG labeling initiative, as well as 
for giving industry members more flexibility in labeling while not 
reducing the information that is available to the consumer. The Francis 
Ford Coppola Winery and the Niebaum-Coppola Estate Winery also 
expressed their ``full support'' of the proposal. Finally, the 
Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS) expressed its 
support for the increased flexibility that the proposal would provide, 
in addition to the proposal's reduction of regulatory conflicts among 
global trading partners. DISCUS also supported TTB's proposal to make 
the change for distilled spirits and malt beverages in addition to 
wine. DISCUS also referred to other proposals outside the scope of 
Notice No. 74, which are not addressed in this document.
    The two remaining comments were mistakenly submitted in response to 
Notice No. 74, but they actually related to Notice No. 73 (72 FR 
41860), which proposed new requirements relating to alcohol content 
statements and a ``Serving Facts'' panel on alcohol beverage labels. 
Because those comments do not pertain to Notice No. 74, they are also 
not addressed in this document.
    In addition to the five comments submitted in response to Notice 
No. 74, some comments submitted in response to Notice No. 73 included 
points that were responsive to Notice No. 74. Many commenters expressed 
strong opposition to TTB's proposal to allow alcohol content 
information to appear on any label rather than to require this 
information to appear on a ``Serving Facts'' information panel. The 
Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) specifically stated 
that the TTB proposal would obscure information that is of vital 
importance to consumers of alcohol beverages. According to CSPI, 
``[c]onsumers should not have to hunt for alcohol-content information 
that might appear in different locations on different brands and 
different sizes of thousands of products in the market place.'' CSPI 
further stated:

TTB provides no rationale for not requiring alcohol-content 
information on the ``Serving Facts'' label, nor does it provide any 
research, testing, or human factors analyses to determine the 
effects on consumers of burying critical alcohol-content information 
anywhere on product containers. Rather, TTB cites the need to 
conform to an international trade agreement among wine-producing 

    Many other commenters, most notably consumers, consumer 
organizations, and public health and education officials, agreed that 
consumers should not have to hunt for alcohol content information. 
Other commenters stated that they believe that the alcohol content 
should continue to be displayed on the brand label as well as in any 
``Serving Facts'' information panel. For example, the Marin Institute 
(which has since changed its name to Alcohol Justice) supported a 
requirement to list the alcohol content for all alcohol beverages on 
the brand label, as is currently required for distilled spirits, wines 
with an alcohol content above 14 percent alcohol by volume, and certain 
flavored malt beverages.

TTB Finding

    TTB is finalizing the proposal to amend Sec.  4.32 so that the 
United States' wine labeling regulations will be consistent with the 
Agreement. The Agreement entered into force on July 1, 2010. This final 
rule will allow the United States to deposit its instrument of 
    TTB notes that the change does not require alcohol beverage 
industry members to make any changes to their current labels because 
alcohol content information may still be placed on the brand label. The 
TTB regulations (27 CFR 4.40 and 4.50) generally require that regulated 
industry members obtain a certificate of label approval (COLA) from TTB 
prior to the bottling or removal of domestic wines, or prior to the 
release of imported wines, in containers, from customs custody for 
consumption. TTB's position is that a new COLA is not required if the 
only change made to a wine label appearing on a previously issued COLA 
is the moving of the alcohol content information to a label other than 
the brand label.
    TTB revisited the changes proposed to Sec. Sec.  5.32 and 7.22 
(similar changes for distilled spirits and malt beverages) and has 
decided not to finalize these changes at this time. The proposed 
changes to Sec. Sec.  5.32 and 7.22 remain under consideration. TTB may 
amend those sections in the future. Accordingly, TTB is adopting the 
proposed regulatory amendments to Sec.  4.32, to conform the 
regulations to the Agreement, but not the proposed regulatory 
amendments to Sec. Sec.  5.32 or 7.22.
    TTB is also making a clarifying change to Sec.  4.36 with regard to 
the use of the type designation ``table wine'' or ``light wine'' in 
lieu of a numerical alcohol content statement. Section 4.34(a) provides 
that the class of the wine must be stated in conformity with the 
standards of identity if the wine is defined in subpart C of part 4, 
except that ``table wine'' or ``light wine'' and ``dessert wine'' need 
not be designated as such. (A ``table wine'' or ``light wine'' is grape 
wine having an alcohol content of at least 7 percent and no more than 
14 percent by volume. A ``dessert wine'' is grape wine having an 
alcohol content of more than 14 percent but no more than 24 percent by 
    As previously noted, Sec.  4.32 provides that alcohol content must 
be stated on the label in accordance with Sec.  4.36. However, Sec.  
4.36 allows wine with an alcohol content of at least 7 percent and no 
more than 14 percent by volume to bear the type designation ``table 
wine'' or ``light wine'' in lieu of a numerical alcohol content 
statement. On the other hand, consistent with Sec.  4.34(a), the type 
designation ``table wine'' or ``light wine'' need not appear on the 
label if the wine is labeled with an alcohol content statement, 
expressed as a percentage of alcohol by volume.
    Accordingly, while the type designation ``table wine'' or ``light 
wine'' may be used in lieu of a numerical alcohol content statement 
pursuant to Sec.  4.36, these designations are not treated as alcohol 
content statements by the Agreement, which only addresses ``actual 
alcohol content'' stated as a percentage of alcohol by volume. The 
amendment to Sec.  4.36 simply clarifies that, pursuant to existing 
regulations on the placement of class and type designations, the 
designation ``table wine'' or ``light wine'' must appear on the brand 
label where it is used as a type designation in lieu of a numerical 
alcohol content statement.

[[Page 34568]]

Regulatory Analysis and Notices

Executive Order 12866

    It has been determined that this final rule is not a significant 
regulatory action as defined in Executive Order 12866. Therefore, a 
regulatory assessment is not required.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    Pursuant to the requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 
U.S.C. chapter 6), TTB certifies that this rulemaking will not have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. 
The rule will not impose, or otherwise cause, a significant increase in 
reporting, recordkeeping, or other compliance burdens on a substantial 
number of small entities. The final rule will increase the flexibility 
afforded to bottlers and importers of wine with regard to placement of 
mandatory alcohol content statements on labels and will not require any 
changes to existing labels. Accordingly, a regulatory flexibility 
analysis is not required.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    The collection of information in this rule has been previously 
approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the title 
``Labeling and Advertising Requirements Under the Federal Alcohol 
Administration Act,'' and assigned control number 1513-0087. This 
regulation will not result in a substantive or material change in the 
previously approved collection action, since the nature of the 
mandatory information that must appear on labels affixed to the 
container remains unchanged. An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and 
a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information 
unless it displays a valid OMB control number.

Drafting Information

    Karen E. Welch of the Regulations and Rulings Division, Alcohol and 
Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, drafted this document. Other personnel 
participated in its development.

List of Subjects in 27 CFR Part 4

    Advertising, Customs duties and inspection, Imports, Labeling, 
Packaging and containers, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, 
Trade practices, Wine.

Amendment to the Regulations

    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, TTB is amending 27 CFR, 
chapter I, part 4 as follows:


1. The authority citation for part 4 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 27 U.S.C. 205, unless otherwise noted.

2. In Sec.  4.32:
a. Paragraph (a)(3) is removed and reserved; and
b. A new paragraph (b)(3) is added to read as follows:

Sec.  4.32  Mandatory label information.

* * * * *
    (b) * * *
    (3) Alcohol content, in accordance with Sec.  4.36.
* * * * *

3. In Sec.  4.36, paragraph (a) is revised to read as follows:

Sec.  4.36  Alcoholic content.

    (a) Alcoholic content shall be stated in the case of wines 
containing more than 14 percent of alcohol by volume. In the case of 
wine containing 14 percent or less of alcohol by volume, the alcohol 
content may be stated, but need not be stated if the type designation 
``table'' wine (or ``light'' wine) appears on the brand label as 
prescribed in Sec.  4.32(a)(2). Any statement of alcoholic content 
shall be made as prescribed in paragraph (b) of this section.
* * * * *

    Signed: January 10, 2013.
John J. Manfreda,
    Approved: May 23, 2013.
Timothy E. Skud,
Deputy Assistant Secretary (Tax, Trade, and Tariff Policy).
[FR Doc. 2013-13601 Filed 6-7-13; 8:45 am]