TTB Is on the Move

Bureau approves third appellation for North Carolina, plans second free compliance expo

by Jane Firstenfeld
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The wineries are still few and far between along the Haw River Valley Wine Road.
Washington, D.C. -- While applications to establish a Calistoga AVA in Northern Napa Valley and enlarge Sonoma County's Russian River Valley appellation remain mired in legal wrangling, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) continues to approve new American Viticultural Appellations. This morning the bureau sent out official notification that it will establish a third AVA in North Carolina, to take effect April 29.

The new Haw River Valley AVA encompasses 868 square miles in north central North Carolina, between Greensboro and Durham. The region, which includes Alamance, Caswell, Chatham, Guilford, Orange and Rockingham counties, has historically been agricultural in nature, best known for crops such as tobacco and soybeans. About half a dozen small commercial wineries currently operate in the area, according to Max Lloyd, owner/winemaker of Grove Winery & Vineyards in Gibonsville. Grove has joined with Benjamin, Glen Marie, and Iron Gate to form the 50-mile-long Haw River Wine Trail (hawriverwinetrail.com).

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Grove Winery and its estate vineyards lie beside the wine road in North Carolina's Haw River Valley.
Grove produces about 3,100 cases per year from its 8 estate acres and a second vineyard in Virginia. This inland area has a longer growing season than the better known Yadkin Valley west of Winston-Salem, Lloyd said, and he's been successful growing Cabernet Sauvignon and Franc, Merlot, Tempranillo, Sangiovese and Chardonnay, in addition to some hybrids. He sells about 50% at the winery, and the rest throughout North Carolina. Lloyd expressed hope that the new designation will encourage more people to try the area's wine. "You'd be impressed," he said confidently.

TTB's free expo expands

Following a highly successful debut in June 2008, the bureau is expanding its Compliance Through Education expo this June. Online registration is now open for the expo, scheduled for June 24-26 in Covington, Ky. The location is near Cincinnati, Ohio, the TTB's National Revenue Center, and many TTB experts will again be on hand.

Washington DC Wine
Wine drinkers enjoy the hospitality at Glen Marie Winery.
More than 500 people showed up for last year's event, 140 of them representing either established or would-be wine businesses, according to TTB spokesperson Art Resnick. "It was a bigger success than we anticipated," he said.

"Good government is dependent upon a partnership between the regulators and the industries being regulated," said TTB administrator John Manfreda after the 2008 expo. Manfreda will be the keynote speaker this June. Breakout sessions are divided among regulatory areas: wine, beer, spirits, importers, tobacco, firearms and ammunition and general interest. Last year, there were about 40; this year the total has been doubled to 80, and wine-targeted sessions are scheduled almost every hour throughout the event. Exhibitors at the trade show will also increase this year.

For a full schedule and reservations, visit ttb.gov/expo09. Did we mention, attendance is free?
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