Wines & Vines Home
   
 
Welcome Guest
LOGIN |  CREATE ACCOUNT
 
 

Editor's Letter

 

An All-American Appellation

April 2009
 
by Jim Gordon
 
 
This month's column revisits a topic I first addressed here in March 2007. Then just a discussion of truth in labeling, now it has evolved into a concrete proposal that would rectify a very poorly conceived section of the federal rules on wine labeling. An interstate coalition of winegrape grower groups has now petitioned the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax & Trade Bureau (TTB) to revise the rules. We hope that petition will be accepted and opened for industry comments later this year.

Let's get into the topic via a multiple choice quiz. As a thin barrier to cheating, we have listed the answers upside down at the bottom of the page.

1. What minimum percentage of wine grown within their borders do all the following countries -- Argentina, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain -- require in wines labeled with their country name as the appellation of origin?

A. 100%

B. 95%

C. 85%

D. 75%

2. What minimum percentage of American wine is required in a wine labeled as American?

A. 100%

B. 95%

C. 85%

D. 75%

3. Which of the following agricultural products must consist entirely of materials grown and processed in the United States to be labeled as "Product of USA," "Produce of the USA" or "Grown in the USA"?

A. Hamburger

B. Pecans

C. Grapes

D. All of the above

Should the wine labeling laws be changed so that wine packages labeled "American" contain only U.S.-grown wine components?

This is one of those "duh" questions that should hardly require any discussion. Of course a 100% requirement on American appellation wines is a good idea. It's hard to believe that a country-of-origin requirement like this is not already mandated in the U.S., as it is in most of the world's other great wine-producing countries, and as it is for all U.S.-grown perishable agricultural commodities, including fresh grapes.

That's not to say that the current 75% rule doesn't serve real needs for a few defenders. I suppose that internationally minded wine companies can increase their profit margins in some years by blending cheaper juice from Chile or the south of France into their "American" wines. Occasionally Eastern U.S. Riesling producers have bought Canadian Riesling as a more logical blender from a style viewpoint than Washington or California Riesling. The majority of wineries that use "American" on their labels, however, do so because they are blending together wines from different states. A 100% American label would suit them fine.

In the long run a consumer's need for labels that tell the whole truth, and the American grapegrower's need for respect and reasonable prices clearly outweigh the needs of a few wineries for insurance or enhanced bottom lines. Four statewide grower organizations recognized this and banded together to request changes in the TTB's labeling regulation, 27 C.F. R., part 425. Signers of the petition, which originated in California, are the California Association of Winegrape Growers, the New York State Wine Grape Growers, the Oregon Winegrowers Association and the Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers.

Their petition calls for a change from the currently lax 75% rule to 100% for wines labeled with country of origin. It also would change the little-known allowance of 15% foreign wine in wines labeled with specific American Viticultural Areas to 0% foreign wine. Wines that continue to blend American and foreign sources would be labeled with the exact percentage of wine by volume from each country.

We think the petition is good for the great majority in the wine industry. Who wants consumers to discover that the "American" Merlot they bought may contain 25% of Bulgarian wine, or that a bottle of "Paso Robles" Syrah could be 15% South African?

It's time to plug the foreign-blending loophole and make American wines all-American. As I argued in that first column two years ago, the American wine industry will benefit in the long run from making its products even better, and by making the sources of those products even more transparent.

The correct answers are: 1) 100% 2) 75% 3) All of the above.
 
SHARE »
Close
 
Currently no comments posted for this article.
 
 
SEE OTHER EDITIONS OF THIS COLUMN ï¿½ CURRENT COLUMN ARTICLES »


 
Wines & Vines Home
 
866.453.9701 | 415.453.9700 | Fax: 415.453.2517
65 Mitchell Blvd., Ste. A San Rafael, CA 94903
info@winesandvines.com
Wine Industry Metrics
 
Off-Premise Sales » Month   12 Months  
June 2014 $562 million
5%
$7,549 million
6%
June 2013 $535 million $7,094 million
     
Direct-to-Consumer Shipments » Month   12 Months  
June 2014 $87 million
17%
$1,669 million
11%
June 2013 $74 million $1,510 million
     
Winery Job Index » Month   12 Months  
June 2014 300
34%
220
21%
June 2013 224 182
     
 
MORE » Released on 07.15.2014
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Wines & Vines
Packaging Conference
 
Learn More »
 
 

Practical Winery & Vineyard Library
 
Search the PWV archive »
 
 

Direct To Consumer
Wine Shipping Report
2014
 
Download full report »
 
 

CALENDAR
  • July 24
     
    Fresno Food Expo
     
  • July 24-27
     
    Taste our Terroir
     
  • July 25-27
     
    International Pinot Noir Celebration
     
  • July 26
     
    Introduction to Wine Analysis
     
  • MORE »
 

READER COMMENTS
 
Article: Wineries May Lose Internet Domain Dispute »
 
All these arguments could be levied by any industry associated with any gTLD, new or...
Reader: Doug Barnett
 
Article: Wineries May Lose Internet Domain Dispute »
 
Do brands get hijacked now? Even though .wine does not yet exist, are there false...
Reader: Larry Chandler
 
Article: Resistant Weeds Threaten Vineyards »
 
Roundup is not benign. It does not always break down in a day or two...
Reader: Robert Rex
 
Article: Resistant Weeds Threaten Vineyards »
 
Mitigating water use in the vineyard in the first place is also an applicable tactic....
Reader: Guest
 
Article: Resistant Weeds Threaten Vineyards »
 
Having managed vineyards that have used both approaches, I would say that a diverse approach...
Reader: Guest
 
 


Directory/Buyer's Guide — Your Wine Industry Marketplace
 
 
WINERY SEARCH
 
 
Advanced Search »
SUPPLIER SEARCH
   by Product
 by Company Name or Brand
 
Browse by Category »
2014 Directory/Buyer's Guide
The Wines & Vines Directory and Buyer's Guide
 
 
EXPANDED ONLINE SEARCH INCLUDED WITH PURCHASE
 
ORDER NOW »
 
LEARN MORE »
 
 
Wines & Vines Magazine
 
 
LEARN MORE »
 
SUBSCRIBE »
 
Digital Edition Now Available!
Wines & Vines Digital Edition Now Available
 
LEARN MORE »
 
ORDER NOW »
 
 
The Wines & Vines Online Marketing System
 
The Industry Standard winery marketing application
 
FREE LIVE DEMO »
 
VIEW VIDEO »
 
 
 
 
Latest Job Listings
 Member Services Coordi...
 St. Helena, CA
Sales and Marketing
 Customer Service Speci...
 Sonoma, CA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Retail Manager
 Baroda, MI
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Facilities Director
 Rutherford, CA
General Administration and
 Harvest Help
 Napa, CA
Winemaking and Production
 Metro Ny Area Manager
 New York, NY
Sales and Marketing
 On-Premise Sales Reps
 All Territories In Ohio, OH
Sales and Marketing
 Wine Educator
 Glen Ellen, CA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Pacific Northwest Sale...
 Seattle, WA
Sales and Marketing
 Harvest Help Willamett...
 Sherwood, OR
Winemaking and Production
 
More Job Listings >>
Follow Us On:
 
 





Home  |  About Us  |  Editors  |  Subscribe  |  Print Edition  |  Digital Edition

Advertise  |  Site Map  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy
 
 
Copyright © 2001-2014 by Wine Communications Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
No material may be reproduced without written permission of the Publisher.
Wines&Vines does not assume any responsibility for any unsolicited manuscripts or materials.