By Michael Kaiser
Twice a year the Federal Government publishes what is known as the "Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions" or simply the "Unified Agenda". This document contains the the regulatory agendas for all Federal agencies. This obviously includes TTB.
The TTB plans on doing quite a bit of regulatory activity in FY 2011. Back in 2007 the TTB put out a notice of proposed rulemaking that would require a serving facts statement be placed on alcohol beverage labels. WineAmerica submitted comments (authored by former WineAmerica President Bill Nelson and myself) against this proposal. It is our understanding that this rulemaking has been finished for quite some time, but has not had the final approval from the Department of Treasury. Clearly over the past few years the Department of Treasury has had more pressing issues to deal with, however the TTB anticipates a final ruling on "serving facts" sometime in FY 2011. TTB also anticipates having a final rule adopted on mandatory allergen labeling. If completed this year this rule will take effect on the same date as the serving facts regulatory changes.
According to the Unified Agenda, TTB will also do the following in FY 2011:
In FY 2011, TTB will continue to act on petitions for the establishment of new American viticultural areas (AVAs) and for the modification of the boundaries of existing AVAs. TTB also will seek Departmental publication approval of a number of other wine labeling rulemaking documents for public comment in FY 2011, including a notice of proposed rulemaking to adopt new label designation standards for wines now generally described as "wine with natural flavors," and an advance notice of proposed rulemaking seeking comments on a petition requesting that the regulations be amended to limit the use of American appellations to wines produced entirely from U.S. grapes.
All of this is in the planning stages currently, we do not know if any of this will be completed as anticipated. Obviously this could mean big changes for wine labeling in this country if these rules are finalized this year. WineAmerica will work with our members to implement these proposed changes once (and if) they are finalized. If you have any questions about this, or any other TTB related matter please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.