TTB Issues Final Rule on New Procedures for Recognizing AVAs

On January 20, 2011, TTB published the long awaited Final Rule on its controversial Notice No. 78, which proposed substantial changes to the AVA petitioning and formation process.  Notice No. 78 was published on November 20, 2007; the same day that the agency published Notice No. 77, proposing to establish the Calistoga AVA. 

Perhaps the two most controversial topics addressed in Notice No. 78 were proposed changes to the “grandfather” rules that address conflicts between brand names and AVA names and TTB’s stated concern over nested AVAs.  In the Final Rule, TTB backed off its proposal to create new “grandfather” rules stating that it was persuaded by opposing comments that stressed the potential for the proposed scheme to mislead consumers.  On the subject of nested AVAs, or AVAs within AVAs, TTB left the door open to the possibility that a petition to establish a new AVA entirely within or overlapping an existing AVA may result in the new AVA being excluded from the larger area.

Procedurally, the Final Rule greatly expands the petition evidence requirements and procedures for submitting and processing AVA petitions.  TTB emphasized that its new procedural rules do not impose new standards but “represent a codification of longstanding administrative authority and practice and address a need for greater transparency.” 

For information on DP&F’s services related to AVA formation and expansion contact Richard Mendelson at [email protected]
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