Establishment of the Coombsville Viticultural Area, 77677-77684 [2011-32018]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 240 / Wednesday, December 14, 2011 / Rules and Regulations deemed to have timely deposited the employment taxes due for that quarter if the employer fully deposits the employment taxes accumulated during the quarter by the last day of the month following the close of that quarter. Employment taxes accumulated during the fourth quarter can be either deposited by January 31 or remitted with a timely filed return for the return period. (5) * * * mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with RULES Example 3. De minimis deposit rule for employers who file Form 944 satisfied. K (a monthly depositor) was notified to file Form 944 to report its employment tax liabilities for the 2006 calendar year. In the first quarter of 2006, K accumulates employment taxes in the amount of $1,000. On April 28, 2006, K deposits the $1,000 of employment taxes accumulated in the first quarter. K accumulates another $1,000 of employment taxes during the second quarter of 2006. On July 31, 2006, K deposits the $1,000 of employment taxes accumulated in the second quarter. K’s business grows and accumulates $1,500 in employment taxes during the third quarter of 2006. On October 31, 2006, K deposits the $1,500 of employment taxes accumulated in the third quarter. K accumulates another $2,000 in employment taxes during the fourth quarter. K files Form 944 on January 31, 2007, reporting a total employment tax liability for 2006 of $5,500 and submits a check for the remaining $2,000 of employment taxes with the return. K will be deemed to have timely deposited the employment taxes due for all of 2006 because K complied with the de minimis deposit rule provided in paragraph (f)(4)(iii) of this section. Therefore, the IRS will not impose a failure-to-deposit penalty under section 6656 for any month of the year. Under this de minimis deposit rule, because K was required to file Form 944 for calendar year 2006, if K’s employment tax liability for a quarter is de minimis, then K may deposit that quarter’s liability by the last day of the month following the close of the quarter. This de minimis rule allows K to have the benefit of the same quarterly de minimis amount K would have received if K filed Form 941 each quarter instead of Form 944 annually. Thus, because K’s employment tax liability for each quarter was de minimis, K could deposit quarterly. (g) Agricultural employers—special rules—(1) In general. An agricultural employer reports wages paid to farm workers annually on Form 943 (Employer’s Annual Tax Return for Agricultural Employees) and reports wages paid to nonfarm workers quarterly on Form 941 or annually on Form 944. Accordingly, an agricultural employer must treat employment taxes reportable on Form 943 (‘‘Form 943 taxes’’) separately from employment taxes reportable on Form 941 or Form 944 (‘‘Form 941 or Form 944 taxes’’). Form 943 taxes and Form 941 or Form 944 taxes are not combined for purposes VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:15 Dec 13, 2011 Jkt 226001 of determining whether a deposit of either is due, whether the One-Day rule of paragraph (c)(3) of this section applies, or whether any safe harbor is applicable. In addition, Form 943 taxes and Form 941 or Form 944 taxes must be deposited separately. (See paragraph (b) of this section for rules for determining an agricultural employer’s deposit status for Form 941 taxes). Whether an agricultural employer is a monthly or semi-weekly depositor of Form 943 taxes is determined according to the rules of this paragraph (g). * * * * * (n) Effective/applicability dates. Except for the deposit of employment taxes attributable to payments made by government entities under section 3402(t), §§ 31.6302–1 through 31.6302– 3 apply with respect to the deposit of employment taxes attributable to payments made after December 31, 1992. Paragraph (e)(1)(iii)(E) of this section applies with respect to the deposit of employment taxes attributable to payments made by government entities under section 3402(t) after December 31, 2012. To the extent that the provisions of §§ 31.6302– 1 through 31.6302–3 are inconsistent with the provisions of §§ 31.6302(c)–1 and 31.6302(c)–2, a taxpayer will be considered to be in compliance with §§ 31.6302–1 through 31.6302–3 if the taxpayer makes timely deposits during 1993 in accordance with §§ 31.6302(c)– 1 and 31.6302(c)–2. Paragraphs (b)(4), (c)(5), (c)(6), (d) Example 6, (e)(2), (f)(4)(i), (f)(4)(iii), (f)(5) Example 3, and (g)(1) of this section apply to taxable years beginning on or after December 30, 2008. Paragraph (f)(4)(ii) of this section applies to taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2010. The rules of paragraphs (e)(2) and (g)(1) of this section that apply to taxable years beginning before December 30, 2008, are contained in § 31.6302–1 as in effect prior to December 30, 2008. The rules of paragraphs (b)(4), (c)(5), (c)(6), (d) Example 6, (f)(4)(i), (f)(4)(iii), and (f)(5) Example 3 of this section that apply to taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2006, and before December 30, 2008, are contained in § 31.6302–1T as in effect prior to December 30, 2008. The rules of paragraphs (b)(4) and (f)(4) of this section that apply to taxable years beginning before January 1, 2006, are contained in § 31.6302–1 as in effect prior to January 1, 2006. The rules of paragraph (g) of this section eliminating use of Federal tax deposit coupons apply to deposits and payments made after December 31, 2010. * * * * * PO 00000 Frm 00009 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 § 31.6302–1T 77677 [Removed]. Par. 10. Section 31.6302–1T is removed. Steven T. Miller, Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement. Approved: December 6, 2011. Emily S. McMahon, Acting Assistant Secretary of the Treasury (Tax Policy). [FR Doc. 2011–32069 Filed 12–9–11; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 4830–01–P DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau 27 CFR Part 9 [Docket No. TTB–2011–0006; T.D. TTB–100; Ref: Notice No. 119] RIN 1513–AB81 Establishment of the Coombsville Viticultural Area Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, Treasury. ACTION: Final rule; Treasury Decision. AGENCY: This final rule establishes the 11,075-acre ‘‘Coombsville’’ viticultural area in Napa County, California. The viticultural area lies within the Napa Valley viticultural area and the multicounty North Coast viticultural area. TTB designates viticultural areas to allow vintners to better describe the origin of their wines and to allow consumers to better identify wines they may purchase. DATES: Effective Date: January 13, 2012. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Karen A. Thornton, Regulations and Rulings Division, Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, 1310 G St. NW., Room 200E, Washington, DC 20220; phone (202) 453–1039, ext. 175. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: SUMMARY: Background on Viticultural Areas 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, 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 and quality of the product. The Alcohol E:\FR\FM\14DER1.SGM 14DER1 77678 Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 240 / Wednesday, December 14, 2011 / Rules and Regulations and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) administers the regulations promulgated under the FAA Act. Part 4 of the TTB regulations (27 CFR part 4) allows the establishment of definitive viticultural areas and the use of their names as appellations of origin on wine labels and in wine advertisements. Part 9 of the TTB regulations (27 CFR part 9) sets forth standards for the preparation and submission of petitions for the establishment or modification of American viticultural areas and lists the approved American viticultural areas. Definition Section 4.25(e)(1)(i) of the TTB regulations (27 CFR 4.25(e)(1)(i)) defines a viticultural area for American wine as a delimited grape-growing region having distinguishing features as described in part 9 of the regulations and a name and a delineated boundary as established in part 9 of the regulations. These designations allow vintners and consumers to attribute a given quality, reputation, or other characteristic of a wine made from grapes grown in an area to its geographic origin. The establishment of viticultural areas allows vintners to describe more accurately the origin of their wines to consumers and helps consumers to identify wines they may purchase. Establishment of a viticultural area is neither an approval nor an endorsement by TTB of the wine produced in that area. mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with RULES Requirements Section 4.25(e)(2) of the TTB regulations outlines the procedure for proposing an American viticultural area and provides that any interested party may petition TTB to establish a grapegrowing region as a viticultural area. Section 9.12 of the TTB regulations (27 CFR 9.12) prescribes standards for petitions for the establishment or modification of viticultural areas. Such petitions must include the following: • Evidence that the area within the proposed viticultural area boundary is nationally or locally known by the viticultural area name specified in the petition; • An explanation of the basis for defining the boundary of the proposed viticultural area; • A narrative description of the features of the proposed viticultural area that affect viticulture, such as climate, geology, soils, physical features, and elevation, that make it distinctive and distinguish it from adjacent areas outside the proposed viticultural area boundary; VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:15 Dec 13, 2011 Jkt 226001 • A copy of the appropriate United States Geological Survey (USGS) map(s) showing the location of the proposed viticultural area, with the boundary of the proposed viticultural area clearly drawn thereon; and • A detailed narrative description of the proposed viticultural area boundary based on USGS map markings. Petition for the Coombsville Viticultural Area TTB received a petition from Thomas Farella of Farella-Park Vineyards and Bradford Kitson, on behalf of the vintners and grape growers in the Coombsville region of Napa Valley, California, proposing the establishment of the Coombsville viticultural area. The proposed viticultural area contains 11,075 acres, 1,360 acres of which are in 26 commercial vineyards, according to the petition. The proposed viticultural area lies within the Napa Valley viticultural area (27 CFR 9.23) and the larger, multicounty North Coast viticultural area (27 CFR 9.30). The distinguishing features of the proposed Coombsville viticultural area include geology, geography, climate, and soils. TTB notes that the proposed Coombsville viticultural area adjoins or is located near four established viticultural areas: the Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley viticultural area (27 CFR 9.161), the Los Carneros viticultural area (27 CFR 9.32), the Wild Horse Valley viticultural area (27 CFR 9.124), and the Solano County Green Valley viticultural area (27 CFR 9.44). The Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley viticultural area to the northwest and the Los Carneros viticultural area to the southwest share portions of their boundary lines with those of the proposed viticultural area. The Wild Horse Valley viticultural area to the east and the Solano County Green Valley viticultural area to the southeast are close to, but do not touch, the eastern boundary line of the proposed Coombsville viticultural area. The petition states that four bonded wineries use the ‘‘Coombsville’’ name on one or more of their wine labels: Bighorn Cellars, Laird Family Estate, Farella-Park Vineyards, and Monticello Cellars. All four wineries have advised TTB in writing that if the Coombsville viticultural area is established, they will be able to comply with the rule that at least 85 percent of the wine must be produced from grapes grown within the boundary of the Coombsville viticultural area in order to use the ‘‘Coombsville’’ name on the label as an appellation of origin. PO 00000 Frm 00010 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 Previous Proposed Rulemaking Previously, a group of Napa Valley grape growers proposed the establishment of the 11,200-acre ‘‘Tulocay’’ American viticultural area in approximately the same area as the proposed Coombsville viticultural area. Consequently, TTB published Notice No. 68 in the Federal Register (71 FR 65432) on November 8, 2006, to propose the establishment of the Tulocay viticultural area. However, comments received in response to Notice No. 68 raised a substantial question as to whether there was a sufficient basis to conclude that the geographical area described in the petition was locally or nationally known as ‘‘Tulocay.’’ Additionally, the evidence provided by the commenters and other information available suggested the likelihood of confusion if the term ‘‘Tulocay’’ would suddenly be attributed only to grapes grown from a geographical area, as the term ‘‘Tulocay’’ has been identified with a particular winery for more than 30 years. Based on the comments received in response to Notice No. 68, TTB published Notice No. 84 in the Federal Register (73 FR 34902) on June 19, 2008, withdrawing Notice No. 68. However, TTB did not preclude consideration of the current petition in Notice No. 84. In fact, TTB stated: ‘‘* * * currently there is no petition requesting the establishment of a viticultural area in the subject area using a variation of Tulocay, such as Tulocay District, or any other name, such as Coombsville or Coombsville District. It is noted that these findings do not preclude future consideration of a petition, supported by sufficient name evidence, proposing the establishment of a viticultural area in the subject area using a name other than ‘Tulocay.’ ’’ Notice No. 84 further noted that some comments in response to Notice No. 68 expressed a preference for the name ‘‘Coombsville’’ for the proposed viticultural area rather than the petitioned-for ‘‘Tulocay’’ name. TTB further notes that the eastern portion of the boundary line for the proposed Coombsville viticultural area differs from that of the proposed Tulocay viticultural area boundary line in order to keep the proposed Coombsville viticultural area within Napa County and the Napa Valley viticultural area. This boundary change results in a 125-acre reduction of the total area, from 11,200 acres for the previously proposed Tulocay viticultural area to 11,075 acres for the currently proposed Coombsville viticultural area. E:\FR\FM\14DER1.SGM 14DER1 mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with RULES Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 240 / Wednesday, December 14, 2011 / Rules and Regulations Name Evidence for the Proposed Coombsville Viticultural Area The petition states that ‘‘Coombsville’’ is the commonly used name for an area that lies east of the City of Napa, California. In addition, the area east of the City of Napa is designated as ‘‘Coombsville’’ on the Napa County Land Use Plan 2008–2030 map. The petition also states that the Coombsville region has always had a separate identity from the City of Napa. Early on, the City of Napa grew in increments, eventually ‘‘swallowing up the easterly suburb of Coombsville’’ (‘‘Napa Valley Heyday,’’ Richard H. Dillon, The Book Club of California, 2004, page 119). The petition states that, as early as 1914, an unincorporated area of Napa County became commonly known as the ‘‘Coombsville’’ region, named for Nathan Coombs, a prominent community leader and founder of the City of Napa. Mr. Coombs owned 2,525 acres of land on 3 parcels to the east of the Napa River, in the area now called ‘‘Coombsville’’ (‘‘Official Map of the County of Napa,’’ California, 1876). According to the petition, the original Coombsville Road, little more than an unnamed path, existed more than 120 years ago (‘‘Map of Coombsville,’’ survey map, W. A. Pierce, ‘‘County Road from Napa to Green Valley,’’ 1883). Currently, Napa city and county road signs identify Coombsville Road where the road intersects with Third Street and the Silverado Trail. Coombsville Road is entirely within the boundary line of the proposed Coombsville viticultural area (‘‘Napa Valley,’’ map, California State Automobile Association, May 2004). The petition cited several Napa County newspaper reports to demonstrate that the Coombsville name is commonly used to refer to the region within the proposed viticultural area. For example, a newspaper report stated: ‘‘A week ago, Patrick Sexton’s backyard in Coombsville was a riotous place, with a gobble-gobble here, a gobble-gobble there, a gobble-gobble everywhere’’ (‘‘Napa High senior raises great gobblers,’’ The Napa Valley Register, Nov. 27, 2008). Another report describes a downed power line that cut off electricity to 2,200 Coombsville residential customers overnight (‘‘Lights out again in Coombsville area,’’ op. cit., Sept. 3, 2008). A third report describes a political district including Coombsville, American Canyon, and part of [the City of] Napa (‘‘Local ballot for June takes shape,’’ op. cit., March 12, 2008). The petition also states that the Napa County real estate industry recognizes the Coombsville region in its sale VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:15 Dec 13, 2011 Jkt 226001 listings. One realtor listing on July 7, 2009, described a property as ‘‘situated in the prestigious and desirable Coombsville area.’’ Another realtor listing from 2008 described a property as ‘‘Coombsville Area at Its Best!’’ The petition includes the following description of a proposed new housing development in the region: ‘‘The project is off of Wyatt Road, on the frontier where the residences of east Napa meet the open space and rural feel of Coombsville’’ (‘‘No middle ground in Napa County,’’ op. cit., Oct. 23, 2005). Fifty-five acres in the region purchased for real estate development is described in the petition as, ‘‘* * * in the Coombsville area of Napa County, scrub-covered slopes at the south end of the valley * * *’’ (‘‘The Far Side of Eden—New Money, Old Land and the Battle for Napa Valley,’’ James Conaway, Houghton Mifflin Company, 2002, page 50). The petition notes that the Coombsville name has long been associated with viticulture. The petition states that the history of grape-growing in the Coombsville region dates to 1870, when the Carbone family purchased a large land parcel on Coombsville Road (‘‘Napa Valley Heyday,’’ Richard H. Dillon, The Book Club of California, 2004, page 100). Around 1880, Antonio Carbone opened a winery (ibid.). The historic winery still exists and is now used as a private residence, the petition explains. The petition further states that modern vineyard plantings include: Farella-Park Vineyards; Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars’ Arcadia Vineyards; Far Niente Winery’s Barrow Lane, Carpenter, and John’s Creek Vineyards; Berlenbach Vineyards; and Richard Perry Vineyards. The petition explains that ‘‘Coombsville’’ has national name recognition because of its renown as a wine region in Napa Valley. The following reports were published by Wine Spectator: ‘‘Putting Coombsville on the map for Napa Cabernet’’ (July 31, 2001), regarding a vintner who believes he can make one of the top cabernets in the Napa Valley region; ‘‘Caldwell Vineyards’’ (Nov. 15, 2002), regarding the first time that John Caldwell produced wine from a 60-acre Coombsville vineyard; ‘‘Franciscan Buys Large Parcel of Napa Land’’ (March 15, 1999), describing a 160-acre property in the Coombsville region; and ‘‘James Laube Unfined—An Armchair Winery ‘Tour’ with Philippe Melka’’ (Aug. 10, 2007), detailing the acquisition of Coombsville-grown cabernet grapes to produce wine. The petition also states that the following reports on the Coombsville PO 00000 Frm 00011 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 77679 region appeared on AppellationAmerica.com: the Coombsville region is described as ‘‘the hottest spot for grapes these days in the Napa Valley’’ and it is circled on a map of the Napa Valley in ‘‘Why Cool Coombsville is HOT’’ (Oct. 8, 2008); and a 1995 acquisition of 20 acres of vineyards in the Coombsville region is detailed in ‘‘The Wonders of Mountain Terroir: Let Robert Craig Explain’’ (Feb. 7, 2007). Boundary Evidence According to USGS maps submitted with the petition, the proposed Coombsville viticultural area is nestled in the southeastern region of the Napa Valley viticultural area, between the eastern shores of both the Napa River and Milliken Creek and the western ridgeline of the Vaca Range at the Solano County line. The west-facing, horseshoe-shaped southern tip of the Vaca Range encircles much of the proposed Coombsville viticultural area and defines parts of the northern, eastern, and southern portions of the boundary line, according to the petition, boundary description, and USGS maps. According to the boundary description in the petition, the eastern portion of the boundary line of the proposed Coombsville viticultural area incorporates straight lines between western peaks of the Vaca Range. The eastern portion of the boundary line corresponds in part to, but does not overlap, the western portions of the boundary lines of the Wild Horse Valley and Solano County Green Valley viticultural areas and stays within Napa County. As detailed in the boundary description in the petition, the southern portion of the boundary line of the proposed Coombsville viticultural area follows a straight southeast-to-northwest line from a map point in Kreuse Canyon to Imola Avenue, and then continues west on Imola Avenue to the Napa River. According to the petition, and as visible on the USGS maps, an east-west transverse ridge that climatically protects the Coombsville region from the full impact of the marine influence of the San Pablo Bay lies beyond the proposed southern portion of the boundary line. Commonly known as ‘‘Suscol,’’ ‘‘Soscol,’’ or ‘‘Soscol Ridge,’’ the ridge separates the Coombsville region from large portions of the Napa Valley flood plain’s differing soils and broad slough topography. The petition states that the complex terrain of the ridge was difficult to use as a precise and reasonable southern portion of the boundary line for the proposed E:\FR\FM\14DER1.SGM 14DER1 77680 Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 240 / Wednesday, December 14, 2011 / Rules and Regulations Coombsville viticultural area petition. Hence, a straight line between two map points and a portion of Imola Avenue was used to define the southern limits of the proposed Coombsville viticultural area. TTB believes that the straight line and Imola Avenue are a reasonable alternative for the proposed southern portion of the boundary line. According to the boundary description and the USGS Napa Quadrangle map, the western portion of the boundary line of the proposed Coombsville viticultural area relies on portions of the Napa River and Milliken Creek to connect Imola Avenue to the south with Monticello Road to the north. TTB notes that the southwest corner of the proposed viticultural area, at the intersection of Imola Avenue and the Napa River, touches but does not overlap the eastern portion of the boundary line of the Los Carneros viticultural area. According to the boundary description, the northern portion of the boundary line of the proposed Coombsville viticultural area uses Monticello Road and a straight line from the road’s intersection with the 400-foot contour line eastward to the peak of Mt. George. Much of the length of the proposed northern portion of the boundary line follows a ridge line from the Vaca Range along Milliken Creek, according to the USGS maps submitted with the petition. TTB notes that the northwest corner of the proposed viticultural area, at the intersection of Milliken Creek and Monticello Road, touches but does not overlap the southeast corner of the Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley viticultural area. mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with RULES Distinguishing Features Geology The petition describes the ancient volcanic and crustal uplift events in the geologic history of the Coombsville region (‘‘The Geologic Origin of the Coombsville Area,’’ EarthVision, Inc., May 2009). According to the petition and the above report, the initial geological event was the eruption and collapse of a volcano that was part of the Napa Valley-Sonoma volcanic series. The collapse of the volcano created a bowl-shaped structure known as a caldera, which formed the basis for the ‘‘cup and saucer’’ topography within the Coombsville region. The petition states that the next important geologic process began when crustal forces started to uplift and wrinkle the earth crust in the Vaca Range. The uplift progressed from east to west through the Vaca Range. When the uplift passed through the VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:15 Dec 13, 2011 Jkt 226001 Coombsville region, the western front of the caldera collapsed and slid westward as a large landslide into the valley below (ibid.). The ancient Napa River removed most of the landslide debris from the Napa Valley (ibid.). The remaining debris formed a raised structure in the valley, and the remaining portion of the caldera formed a horseshoe-shaped ridge to the east. This area is referred to on USGS maps of the Coombsville area as the ‘‘cup and saucer,’’ since the raised area resembles a teacup sitting within the curved ‘‘saucer’’ formed by the remaining ridge of the caldera. The petition states that the earth surface materials that cover the proposed Coombsville viticultural area originated in a variety of ways. A thin coat of residual debris on volcanic bedrock covers the hills. Within the remains of the caldera, alluvial gravels of the Huichica Formation occur in the northern part and diatomaceous lake deposits occur along the northeast edge. The remainder of the surface material is a variety of alluvial deposits laid down since the ancient volcanic collapse (ibid.). The petition did not include data on the geology of the surrounding areas. Geography As shown in the aerial photograph submitted with the petition, the most notable geographical characteristic of the proposed Coombsville viticultural area is a horseshoe-shaped, elevated landform, part of the Vaca Range (‘‘The Winemaker’s Dance—Exploring Terroir in the Napa Valley’’). The west-facing horseshoe comprises a ring of volcanic mountains, according to the petition. The elevated cup-and-saucer landform lies partially within the curvature of the horseshoe on the western side of the proposed viticultural area. A small flood plain lies along the proposed western portion of the boundary line near the Napa River and Milliken Creek, the petition explains. The petition states that gentle slopes and rolling terrain extend westward from the Vaca Range and the opening of the horseshoe to the Napa River and Milliken Creek, and that most viticultural activity occurs within this area. The petition states that the Milliken-Sarco-Tulocay watershed, named after the three main creeks in the region, lies within the proposed Coombsville viticultural area. The cupand-saucer landform presents a drainage obstacle, making Sarco Creek detour to the north and Tulocay Creek flow to the south. Eventually, all drainage flows to the southwest and joins with the southflowing Napa River, the petition explains. PO 00000 Frm 00012 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 According to USGS maps, elevations within the proposed Coombsville viticultural area vary from about 10 feet along Milliken Creek and the Napa River shoreline to 1,877 feet at the peak of Mt. George, at the northeast corner of the proposed Coombsville viticultural area along the western ridge of the Vaca Range. The landforms along the remaining caldera wall that forms the edge of the ‘‘saucer’’ vary from approximately 500 to 1,200 feet in elevation, some having steep terrain. The raised ‘‘cup’’ portion of the cupand-saucer formation exceeds 400 feet in elevation in some areas. The surrounding gentle slopes and rolling terrain which form the bottom of the ‘‘saucer’’ vary from approximately 100 to 200 feet in elevation. The flood plain along the western boundary line varies in elevation from 10 to 20 feet along Milliken Creek and the Napa River. According to the petition, the combination of unique landforms and large elevation differences gives the proposed Coombsville viticultural area a fog-protected partial basin with high surrounding ridges. The aerial photograph submitted with the petition shows Coombsville as an isolated niche within the larger, more open terrain of the Napa Valley viticultural area. Also, the USGS maps indicate that the Vaca Range to the east provides a natural geographical boundary for the proposed viticultural area. According to the USGS maps and the petition, the regions surrounding the proposed Coombsville viticultural area have different geographies. To the northwest of the proposed viticultural area lies the Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley viticultural area, which can be distinguished from the proposed Coombsville viticultural area by its low valley floor elevations and the dry creek alluvial fan. To the west lies the City of Napa. To the southwest lies the Los Carneros viticultural area, which can be distinguished from the proposed viticultural area by its low rolling hills, flatlands, and mountainous terrain. To the southeast lies the Solano County Green Valley viticultural area, with a more rugged terrain than the proposed Coombsville viticulture area. To the east lies the Wild Horse Valley viticultural area, which can be distinguished from the proposed viticultural area by its isolated valley and the surrounding steep, rugged terrain and high elevations. To the northeast are the Vaca Mountains, which can be distinguished from the proposed viticultural area by their rugged terrain. E:\FR\FM\14DER1.SGM 14DER1 Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 240 / Wednesday, December 14, 2011 / Rules and Regulations Climate The petition states that the proposed viticultural area has climatically unique features, including precipitation and heat summation. The petition provides statistical information on the microclimates of the adjacent Los Carneros and Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley viticultural areas, which are both within the larger Napa Valley viticultural area (‘‘The Micro-Climate of the Coombsville Viticultural Area,’’ Erik Moldstad, Sept. 28, 2009). According to Climatic averages for Coombsville region and surrounding areas Years ............................ Coombsville region Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley viticultural area (northwest) Lake Berryessa (north) Fairfield (east) Napa State Hospital (south) City of Napa (west) 2006–2008 2006–2008 2006–2008 1957–1970 1950–2009 1893–2009 1903–1965 19.14 1974–2007 mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with RULES Heat summation units— annual average ......... 17.32 1974–2007 2,550 2,435 The table shows that precipitation in the proposed Coombsville viticultural area averages 19.14 inches annually, and varies from the surrounding viticultural microclimates. The Coombsville region is warmer and wetter than the Los Carneros viticultural area to the southwest and cooler and drier than the Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley viticultural area to the northwest, according to Michael Wolf, owner of Michael Wolf Vineyard Services. To the northwest, the Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley viticultural area averages 2.5 inches more annual rainfall. To the southwest, the Los Carneros viticultural area has about 2 inches less rainfall annually. The data in the table indicates that the proposed Coombsville viticultural area averages 3.63 to 5.47 inches less precipitation annually than the four surrounding areas for which weather station data was obtained by TTB. The growing season in the proposed Coombsville viticultural area is measured in the Winkler climate classification system (‘‘General Viticulture,’’ Albert J. Winkler, University of California Press, 1974, pages 61–64). In the Winkler system, heat accumulation per year defines climatic regions. As a measurement of heat accumulation during the growing season, 1 degree day accumulates for each degree Fahrenheit that a day’s VerDate Mar<15>2010 created in partnership with the National Climatic Data Center, Regional Climate Centers, and State Climate Offices. The table below presents average annual precipitation amounts and heat summation range totals for the Coombsville region, the Los Carneros and Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley viticultural areas, and the surrounding north, east, south, and west weather station areas. The table data is based primarily on petition documentation and also TTB’s WRCC Web site data research. Los Carneros viticultural area (southwest) Precipitation in inches—annual average ............................ Years ............................ the petitioner, the isolated Wild Horse Valley and Solano County Green Valley viticultural areas, to the immediate east of the proposed Coombsville viticultural area, lack available weather station data. In considering this petition, TTB obtained historic weather station data for surrounding north, east, south, and west regions within 15 miles or less of the proposed Coombsville viticultural area (Lake Berryessa, Fairfield, Napa State Hospital, and the City of Napa, respectively) from the Western Region Climate Center (WRCC) Web site, 77681 17:15 Dec 13, 2011 Jkt 226001 21.63 1974–2007 24.44 1974–2007 2,888 Frm 00013 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 1950–2009 2,611 mean temperature is above 50 degrees, which is the minimum temperature required for grapevine growth. Climatic region I has less than 2,500 growing degree days (GDD) per year; region II, 2,501 to 3,000; region III, 3,001 to 3,500; region IV, 3,501 to 4,000; and region V, 4,001 or more. According to the table, the Coombsville region is a low Winkler region II (2,550 GDD units), which is cooler by 61 to 683 degree units than the four surrounding areas from which weather station data was obtained by TTB. The coolest of the four areas is Lake Berryessa to the north at 2,611 GDD units (region II), and the warmest is the City of Napa to the west at 3,233 GDD units (region III). Also, the adjacent Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley viticultural area is significantly warmer at 2,888 GDD units, a high Winkler region II. The adjacent Los Carneros viticultural area is cooler than the proposed Coombsville region (region l) at 2,435 GDD units. The petition states that significant viticultural factors for the Coombsville region growing season include the amount of solar radiation and daytime heating. The solar radiation and heating are affected by the dissipation rate of morning fog, followed by the number of hours of sunshine, and then the onset of afternoon cooling bay breezes from San Pablo Bay. PO 00000 22.77 2,667 24.61 1893–2009 2,794 24.02 1903–1965 3,233 The petition states that the effects of the presence and disappearance of fog from the Napa Valley region in the day alters the temperature rise in the grapegrowing season. Temperature and sunlight have subtle effects on grape development that, over the growing season, affect grape ripening times and flavors. The pace of sugar accumulation and the pace of the lessening of acidity during grape ripening are two examples of how the fog affects grape development. The petition notes that grape growers in the cooler Los Carneros viticultural area, to the south and closer to the foggy bay, harvest grapes with similar sugar and acidity levels for the same varietal as in the Coombsville region, but do so later in the growing season. To the north of the Coombsville region, in the warmer and less foggy Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley viticultural area, the same varietals with similar sugar and acid levels are harvested earlier than in the Coombsville and Los Carneros areas. The petition explains that the Coombsville region has more sunlight and daytime heat during the growing season than the Los Carneros viticultural area to the southwest and less than the Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley viticultural area to the northwest. The morning fog generally dissipates about 1 to 2 hours earlier in the Coombsville region than in the Los E:\FR\FM\14DER1.SGM 14DER1 77682 Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 240 / Wednesday, December 14, 2011 / Rules and Regulations Carneros viticultural area to the southwest, and an hour later than in the Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley viticultural area to the northwest. Also, in the afternoon, the bay breezes first cool the Los Carneros viticultural area, then spread slowly northward through the Coombsville region into the Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley viticultural area, and eventually continue northward up the Napa Valley. According to the petition, as the San Pablo Bay afternoon breezes reach northward to each micro-climate in the Napa Valley region, the air temperature incrementally stops rising, or slightly decreases. These cool breezes contribute to the differences in maximum daytime temperatures during the growing season for the south-to-north locations in the Los Carneros viticultural area, the Coombsville region, Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley viticultural area, and other Napa Valley viticultural areas. Soils The petition explains that the soils of the proposed Coombsville viticultural area are generally well drained and of volcanic origin. Upland soils are Coombsville (percent) Viticultural area mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with RULES Predominant Soil Series: Hambright-Rock outcrop ......................................... Coombs ................................................................... Sobrante ................................................................. Forward ................................................................... Haire ....................................................................... Cole ......................................................................... The Hambright-Rock outcrop complex makes up 28.5 percent of the Coombsville area, as shown on the above table, and is found in lesser concentrations to the north, east, and south. The complex is found in the Vaca Range and makes up most of the cupand-saucer landform soils (ibid.). Coombs gravelly and stony loams represent 24.1 percent of the soils in the Coombsville area, and are found in lesser concentrations to the north, east, and west, as shown on the above table. In addition, those soils are the main types appropriate for grape growing in the Coombsville region. They are alluvial, well drained soils at elevations of 50 to 500 feet. The Coombs soils are ‘‘relatively unique to the area,’’ and they were likely first identified in the Coombsville area, according to the petition. Coombs soils make up only 1.7 percent of the soils in Napa County, but they account for almost a quarter of the Coombsville region soils (ibid.). As shown on the table, Sobrante soils make up 15.5 percent of the Coombsville region, 16 percent to the east in Wild Horse Valley, and a much lesser concentration to the northwest. These soils are well drained and are at elevations of 120 feet and higher. As shown on the table, soils found in lesser concentrations in the proposed Coombsville viticultural area include Haire and Cole, which have higher concentrations in three of the surrounding areas. VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:15 Dec 13, 2011 Jkt 226001 Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley (NW) (percent) 28.5 24.1 15.5 7.4 4.5 2.6 Los Carneros (SW) (percent) 0.6 5.6 1.1 0.7 23.0 23.1 The Proposed Coombsville Viticultural Area Compared to the North Coast and Napa Valley Viticultural Areas North Coast Viticultural Area The North Coast viticultural area was established by T.D. ATF–145, which was published in the Federal Register on September 21, 1983 (48 FR 42973). It includes all or portions of Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino, Solano, Lake, and Marin Counties, California. TTB notes that the North Coast viticultural area contains all or portions of approximately 40 established viticultural areas, in addition to the area covered by the proposed Coombsville viticultural area. In the conclusion of the ‘‘Geographical Features’’ section of the preamble, T.D. ATF–145 states that ‘‘[d]ue to the enormous size of the North Coast, variations exist in climatic features such as temperature, rainfall, and fog intrusion.’’ The proposed Coombsville viticultural area shares the basic viticultural feature of the North Coast viticultural area: the marine influence that moderates growing season temperatures in the area. However, the proposed viticultural area is much more uniform in its geography, geology, climate, and soils than the diverse multicounty North Coast viticultural area. In this regard, TTB notes that T.D. ATF–145 specifically states that ‘‘approval of this viticultural area does not preclude approval of additional areas, either wholly contained with the PO 00000 Frm 00014 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 weathered from their primary volcanic source, while lowland soils are alluvial in nature (‘‘A Custom Soil Resource Report for Napa County, California— Coombsville Soils,’’ Natural Resources Conservation Service, United States Department of Agriculture, http:// websoilsurvey.nrcs.usda.gov/, May 27, 2009). The petitioner provided the following table, which shows the percentages of the predominant soils in the proposed Coombsville viticultural area as compared to surrounding regions, based on information contained in this report. 0.2 0 0 7.9 43.0 10.9 Wild Horse Valley (E) (percent) 15.5 1.7 16.0 0 0 0 West Side Napa River (W) (percent) 0 5.0 0 0.4 10.8 47.3 North Coast, or partially overlapping the North Coast,’’ and that ‘‘smaller viticultural areas tend to be more uniform in their geographical and climatic characteristics, while very large areas such as the North Coast tend to exhibit generally similar characteristics, in this case the influence of maritime air off of the Pacific Ocean and San Pablo Bay.’’ Thus, the proposal to establish the Coombsville viticultural area is not inconsistent with what was envisaged when the North Coast viticultural area was established. Napa Valley Viticultural Area The Napa Valley viticultural area was established by T.D. ATF–79, which was published in the Federal Register on January 28, 1981 (46 FR 9061), includes most of Napa County, California. As noted in T.D. ATF–79, the Napa Valley viticultural area encompasses ‘‘all the areas traditionally known as ‘Napa Valley’ which possess generally similar viticulture characteristics different from those of the surrounding areas.’’ TTB notes that the Napa Valley viticultural area encompasses 14 existing smaller viticultural areas, in addition to the area covered by the proposed Coombsville viticultural area. The Coombsville petition states that a Mediterranean climate of warm, dry summers and cool, moist winters dominates the Napa Valley region. Air temperatures in the valley increase from south to north based on the dissipation of the marine fog and cooling winds E:\FR\FM\14DER1.SGM 14DER1 Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 240 / Wednesday, December 14, 2011 / Rules and Regulations mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with RULES from the San Pablo Bay to the south. Precipitation amounts are greater at the north end of the valley, at higher elevations, and in the Mayacmas Mountains on the west side of the valley. Sun exposure is greater on the east side of Napa Valley along the southwest face of the Vaca Range, including the Coombsville region, as compared to the western valley foothills of the Mayacmas Mountains. According to T.D. ATF–79, the Napa Valley viticultural area contains varieties of both Coombs and Sobrante soils, which are prominent in the Coombsville region. The Napa Valley viticultural area also includes other soil types, including Bale, Cole, Yolo, Reyes, and Clear Lake. The latter soil types are not prominent or are not present in the proposed Coombsville viticultural area, according to the petition. Thus, while the characteristics of the proposed Coombsville viticultural area are generally similar to those of the Napa Valley viticultural area, there are some distinguishing characteristics that warrant its separate designation as a viticultural area. Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Comments Received TTB published Notice No. 119 regarding the proposed Coombsville viticultural area in the Federal Register on May 24, 2011 (76 FR 30052). In that notice, TTB requested comments from all interested persons by July 25, 2011. TTB solicited comments on the accuracy of the name, boundary, climactic, and other required information submitted in support of the petition. TTB expressed particular interest in whether the distinguishing features of the proposed viticultural area are sufficiently different from the established Napa Valley and North Coast viticultural areas, within which the proposed area lies. Additionally, TTB asked if the geographic features of the proposed viticultural area are so distinguishable from the surrounding Napa Valley and North Coast viticultural areas that the proposed Coombsville viticultural area should no longer be part of those viticultural areas. TTB received 50 comments in response to Notice No. 119. The commenters included 26 self-identified wine industry members and one selfidentified representative of a trade association, the Napa Valley Vintners. Forty-nine of the comments express support for the proposed Coombsville viticultural area, and many note the unique climate and distinctive geography of the proposed viticultural area as described in Notice No. 119. The remaining comment, comment 17, notes VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:15 Dec 13, 2011 Jkt 226001 a typographical error in the boundary description in paragraph (c)(12) of the proposed regulatory text, which is described in more detail below. There were no comments submitted in opposition to Notice No. 119. TTB Finding After careful review of the petition and the comments received during the comment period, TTB finds that the evidence provided by the petitioner supports the establishment of the proposed Coombsville viticultural area within the Napa Valley and North Coast viticultural areas, as proposed in Notice No. 119, with the alteration to the boundary description as discussed below. Accordingly, under the authority of the Federal Alcohol Administration Act and part 4 of the TTB regulations, TTB establishes the ‘‘Coombsville’’ viticultural area in Napa County, California, effective 30 days from the publication date of this document. Boundary Description See the narrative boundary description of the viticultural area in the regulatory text published at the end of this document. In this final rule, TTB altered some of the language in the written boundary description published as part of Notice No. 119, to conform the written boundary description to the boundary of the proposed viticultural area as marked on the USGS maps and the written description submitted with the petition. As noted in comment 17, in paragraph (c)(12) of the proposed regulatory text, the word ‘‘northwest’’ should have read ‘‘northeast.’’ Paragraph (c)(12) of the final regulatory text contains the correct term ‘‘northeast.’’ Maps The petitioner provided the required maps, and TTB lists them below in the regulatory text. Impact on Current Wine Labels Part 4 of the TTB regulations prohibits any label reference on a wine that indicates or implies an origin other than the wine’s true place of origin. With the establishment of this viticultural area, its name, ‘‘Coombsville,’’ is recognized as a name of viticultural significance under 27 CFR 4.39(i)(3). The text of the new regulation clarifies this point. Once this final rule becomes effective, wine bottlers using ‘‘Coombsville’’ in a brand name, including a trademark, or in another label reference as to the origin of the wine, will have to ensure that the product is eligible to use the viticultural area’s name as an appellation of origin. The establishment of the Coombsville PO 00000 Frm 00015 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 77683 viticultural area will not affect any existing viticultural area, and any bottlers using Napa Valley or North Coast as an appellation of origin or in a brand name for wines made from grapes grown within the Coombsville viticultural area will not be affected by the establishment of this new viticultural area. The establishment of the Coombsville viticultural area will allow vintners to use ‘‘Coombsville,’’ ‘‘Napa Valley,’’ and ‘‘North Coast’’ as appellations of origin for wines made from grapes grown within the Coombsville viticultural area. For a wine to be labeled with a viticultural area name or with a brand name that includes a viticultural area name or other term identified as being viticulturally significant in part 9 of the TTB regulations, at least 85 percent of the wine must be derived from grapes grown within the area represented by that name or other term, and the wine must meet the other conditions listed in 27 CFR 4.25(e)(3). If the wine is not eligible for labeling with the viticultural area name or other viticulturally significant term and that name or term appears in the brand name, then the label is not in compliance and the bottler must change the brand name and obtain approval of a new label. Similarly, if the viticultural area name or other term of viticultural significance appears in another reference on the label in a misleading manner, the bottler would have to obtain approval of a new label. Different rules apply if a wine has a brand name containing a viticultural area name or other viticulturally significant term that was used as a brand name on a label approved before July 7, 1986. See 27 CFR 4.39(i)(2) for details. Regulatory Flexibility Act TTB certifies that this regulation will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The regulation imposes no new reporting, recordkeeping, or other administrative requirement. Any benefit derived from the use of a viticultural area name would be the result of a proprietor’s efforts and consumer acceptance of wines from that area. Therefore, no regulatory flexibility analysis is required. Executive Order 12866 This rule is not a significant regulatory action as defined by Executive Order 12866. Therefore, it requires no regulatory assessment. E:\FR\FM\14DER1.SGM 14DER1 77684 Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 240 / Wednesday, December 14, 2011 / Rules and Regulations Drafting Information Karen A. Thornton of the Regulations and Rulings Division drafted this notice. List of Subjects in 27 CFR Part 9 Wine. The Regulatory Amendment For the reasons discussed in the preamble, TTB amends title 27, chapter I, part 9, Code of Federal Regulations, as follows: PART 9—AMERICAN VITICULTURAL AREAS 1. The authority citation for part 9 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 27 U.S.C. 205. Subpart C—Approved American Viticultural Areas 2. Subpart C is amended by adding § 9.223 to read as follows: ■ mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with RULES § 9.223 Coombsville. (a) Name. The name of the viticultural area described in this section is ‘‘Coombsville’’. For purposes of part 4 of this chapter, ‘‘Coombsville’’ is a term of viticultural significance. (b) Approved maps. The two United States Geological Survey 1:24,000 scale topographic maps used to determine the boundary of the Coombsville viticultural area are titled: (1) Mt. George Quadrangle, California, 1951, Photoinspected 1973; and (2) Napa Quadrangle, California-Napa Co., 1951, Photorevised 1980. (c) Boundary. The Coombsville viticultural area is located in Napa County, California. The boundary of the Coombsville viticultural area is as described below: (1) The beginning point is on the Mt. George map at the 1,877-foot peak of Mt. George, section 29, T6N/R3W. From the beginning point, proceed southeast in a straight line for 0.4 mile to the intersection of the 1,400-foot elevation line and an unnamed intermittent creek that feeds northeast into Leonia Lakes, section 29, T6N/R3W; then (2) Proceed east-southeast in a straight line for 0.45 mile to the intersection of the 1,380-foot elevation line and an unnamed, unimproved dirt road, and then continue in the same straight line to the section 29 east boundary line, T6N/R3W; then (3) Proceed south-southeast in a straight line for 0.6 mile to the unnamed 1,804-foot elevation point in the northwest quadrant of section 33, T6N/ R3W; then (4) Proceed south-southwest in a straight line for 1 mile, passing over the VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:15 Dec 13, 2011 Jkt 226001 marked 1,775-foot elevation point, to the intersection of the T6N and T5N common line and the 1,600-foot elevation line; then (5) Proceed south-southeast in a straight line for 1.1 miles to the 1,480foot elevation point along the section 9 north boundary line, T5N/R3W; then (6) Proceed south-southwest in a straight line for 1.3 miles to the 1,351foot elevation point, section 16, T5N/ R3W; then (7) Proceed south-southwest in a straight line for 1.5 miles to the intersection with two unimproved dirt roads and the 1,360-foot elevation line in Kreuse Canyon at the headwaters of the intermittent Kreuse Creek, northeast of Sugarloaf, section 20, T5N/R3W; then (8) Proceed northwest in a straight line for 1.95 miles to the 90-degree turn of Imola Avenue at the 136-foot elevation point, section 13, T5N/R4W; then (9) Proceed west along Imola Avenue for 2.1 miles, crossing from the Mt. George map onto the Napa map, to the intersection of Imola Avenue with the Napa River at the Maxwell Bridge, T5N/ R4W; then (10) Proceed north (upstream) along the Napa River for 3.2 miles, crossing over the T6N/T5N common line, to the intersection of the Napa River with Milliken Creek, T6N/R4W; then (11) Proceed north (upstream) along Milliken Creek for 0.75 mile to the intersection of Milliken Creek with Monticello Road, T6N/R4W; then (12) Proceed northeast along Monticello Road for 2.4 miles, crossing from the Napa map onto the Mt. George map, to the intersection of Monticello Road with the section 19 west boundary line, T6N/R3W; and then (13) Proceed east-southeast in a straight line for 1.4 miles to the beginning point, section 29, T6N/R3W. Signed: September 28, 2011. John J. Manfreda, Administrator. Approved: October 19, 2011. Timothy E. Skud, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Tax, Trade, and Tariff Policy. [FR Doc. 2011–32018 Filed 12–13–11; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4810–31–P PO 00000 Frm 00016 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau 27 CFR Part 9 [Docket No. TTB–2011–0004; T.D. TTB–98; Re: Notice Nos. 34, 42, and 117] RIN 1513–AA64 Establishment of the Fort RossSeaview Viticultural Area Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, Treasury. ACTION: Final rule; Treasury decision. AGENCY: This Treasury decision establishes the 27,500-acre ‘‘Fort RossSeaview’’ viticultural area in the western part of Sonoma County, California. TTB designates viticultural areas to allow vintners to better describe the origin of their wines and to allow consumers to better identify wines they may purchase. DATES: Effective Date: January 13, 2012. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Elisabeth C. Kann, Regulations and Rulings Division, Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, 1310 G St. NW., Room 200E, Washington, DC 20220; phone (202) 453–1039, ext. 002. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: SUMMARY: Background on Viticultural Areas 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, 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 and quality of the product. The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) administers the regulations promulgated under the FAA Act. Part 4 of the TTB regulations (27 CFR part 4) provides for the establishment of definitive viticultural areas and the use of their names as appellations of origin on wine labels and in wine advertisements. Part 9 of the TTB regulations (27 CFR part 9) sets forth standards for the preparation, submission, and approval of petitions for the establishment or modification of American viticultural areas and lists the approved American viticultural areas. E:\FR\FM\14DER1.SGM 14DER1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 240 (Wednesday, December 14, 2011)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 77677-77684]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-32018]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY

Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau

27 CFR Part 9

[Docket No. TTB-2011-0006; T.D. TTB-100; Ref: Notice No. 119]
RIN 1513-AB81


Establishment of the Coombsville Viticultural Area

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

ACTION: Final rule; Treasury Decision.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: This final rule establishes the 11,075-acre ``Coombsville'' 
viticultural area in Napa County, California. The viticultural area 
lies within the Napa Valley viticultural area and the multicounty North 
Coast viticultural area. TTB designates viticultural areas to allow 
vintners to better describe the origin of their wines and to allow 
consumers to better identify wines they may purchase.

DATES: Effective Date: January 13, 2012.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Karen A. Thornton, Regulations and 
Rulings Division, Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, 1310 G St. 
NW., Room 200E, Washington, DC 20220; phone (202) 453-1039, ext. 175.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background on Viticultural Areas

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, 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 and quality of the product. The 
Alcohol

[[Page 77678]]

and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) administers the regulations 
promulgated under the FAA Act.
    Part 4 of the TTB regulations (27 CFR part 4) allows the 
establishment of definitive viticultural areas and the use of their 
names as appellations of origin on wine labels and in wine 
advertisements. Part 9 of the TTB regulations (27 CFR part 9) sets 
forth standards for the preparation and submission of petitions for the 
establishment or modification of American viticultural areas and lists 
the approved American viticultural areas.

Definition

    Section 4.25(e)(1)(i) of the TTB regulations (27 CFR 4.25(e)(1)(i)) 
defines a viticultural area for American wine as a delimited grape-
growing region having distinguishing features as described in part 9 of 
the regulations and a name and a delineated boundary as established in 
part 9 of the regulations. These designations allow vintners and 
consumers to attribute a given quality, reputation, or other 
characteristic of a wine made from grapes grown in an area to its 
geographic origin. The establishment of viticultural areas allows 
vintners to describe more accurately the origin of their wines to 
consumers and helps consumers to identify wines they may purchase. 
Establishment of a viticultural area is neither an approval nor an 
endorsement by TTB of the wine produced in that area.

Requirements

    Section 4.25(e)(2) of the TTB regulations outlines the procedure 
for proposing an American viticultural area and provides that any 
interested party may petition TTB to establish a grape-growing region 
as a viticultural area. Section 9.12 of the TTB regulations (27 CFR 
9.12) prescribes standards for petitions for the establishment or 
modification of viticultural areas. Such petitions must include the 
following:
     Evidence that the area within the proposed viticultural 
area boundary is nationally or locally known by the viticultural area 
name specified in the petition;
     An explanation of the basis for defining the boundary of 
the proposed viticultural area;
     A narrative description of the features of the proposed 
viticultural area that affect viticulture, such as climate, geology, 
soils, physical features, and elevation, that make it distinctive and 
distinguish it from adjacent areas outside the proposed viticultural 
area boundary;
     A copy of the appropriate United States Geological Survey 
(USGS) map(s) showing the location of the proposed viticultural area, 
with the boundary of the proposed viticultural area clearly drawn 
thereon; and
     A detailed narrative description of the proposed 
viticultural area boundary based on USGS map markings.

Petition for the Coombsville Viticultural Area

    TTB received a petition from Thomas Farella of Farella-Park 
Vineyards and Bradford Kitson, on behalf of the vintners and grape 
growers in the Coombsville region of Napa Valley, California, proposing 
the establishment of the Coombsville viticultural area. The proposed 
viticultural area contains 11,075 acres, 1,360 acres of which are in 26 
commercial vineyards, according to the petition. The proposed 
viticultural area lies within the Napa Valley viticultural area (27 CFR 
9.23) and the larger, multicounty North Coast viticultural area (27 CFR 
9.30). The distinguishing features of the proposed Coombsville 
viticultural area include geology, geography, climate, and soils.
    TTB notes that the proposed Coombsville viticultural area adjoins 
or is located near four established viticultural areas: the Oak Knoll 
District of Napa Valley viticultural area (27 CFR 9.161), the Los 
Carneros viticultural area (27 CFR 9.32), the Wild Horse Valley 
viticultural area (27 CFR 9.124), and the Solano County Green Valley 
viticultural area (27 CFR 9.44). The Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley 
viticultural area to the northwest and the Los Carneros viticultural 
area to the southwest share portions of their boundary lines with those 
of the proposed viticultural area. The Wild Horse Valley viticultural 
area to the east and the Solano County Green Valley viticultural area 
to the southeast are close to, but do not touch, the eastern boundary 
line of the proposed Coombsville viticultural area.
    The petition states that four bonded wineries use the 
``Coombsville'' name on one or more of their wine labels: Bighorn 
Cellars, Laird Family Estate, Farella-Park Vineyards, and Monticello 
Cellars. All four wineries have advised TTB in writing that if the 
Coombsville viticultural area is established, they will be able to 
comply with the rule that at least 85 percent of the wine must be 
produced from grapes grown within the boundary of the Coombsville 
viticultural area in order to use the ``Coombsville'' name on the label 
as an appellation of origin.

Previous Proposed Rulemaking

    Previously, a group of Napa Valley grape growers proposed the 
establishment of the 11,200-acre ``Tulocay'' American viticultural area 
in approximately the same area as the proposed Coombsville viticultural 
area. Consequently, TTB published Notice No. 68 in the Federal Register 
(71 FR 65432) on November 8, 2006, to propose the establishment of the 
Tulocay viticultural area. However, comments received in response to 
Notice No. 68 raised a substantial question as to whether there was a 
sufficient basis to conclude that the geographical area described in 
the petition was locally or nationally known as ``Tulocay.'' 
Additionally, the evidence provided by the commenters and other 
information available suggested the likelihood of confusion if the term 
``Tulocay'' would suddenly be attributed only to grapes grown from a 
geographical area, as the term ``Tulocay'' has been identified with a 
particular winery for more than 30 years. Based on the comments 
received in response to Notice No. 68, TTB published Notice No. 84 in 
the Federal Register (73 FR 34902) on June 19, 2008, withdrawing Notice 
No. 68.
    However, TTB did not preclude consideration of the current petition 
in Notice No. 84. In fact, TTB stated: ``* * * currently there is no 
petition requesting the establishment of a viticultural area in the 
subject area using a variation of Tulocay, such as Tulocay District, or 
any other name, such as Coombsville or Coombsville District. It is 
noted that these findings do not preclude future consideration of a 
petition, supported by sufficient name evidence, proposing the 
establishment of a viticultural area in the subject area using a name 
other than `Tulocay.' '' Notice No. 84 further noted that some comments 
in response to Notice No. 68 expressed a preference for the name 
``Coombsville'' for the proposed viticultural area rather than the 
petitioned-for ``Tulocay'' name.
    TTB further notes that the eastern portion of the boundary line for 
the proposed Coombsville viticultural area differs from that of the 
proposed Tulocay viticultural area boundary line in order to keep the 
proposed Coombsville viticultural area within Napa County and the Napa 
Valley viticultural area. This boundary change results in a 125-acre 
reduction of the total area, from 11,200 acres for the previously 
proposed Tulocay viticultural area to 11,075 acres for the currently 
proposed Coombsville viticultural area.

[[Page 77679]]

Name Evidence for the Proposed Coombsville Viticultural Area

    The petition states that ``Coombsville'' is the commonly used name 
for an area that lies east of the City of Napa, California. In 
addition, the area east of the City of Napa is designated as 
``Coombsville'' on the Napa County Land Use Plan 2008-2030 map. The 
petition also states that the Coombsville region has always had a 
separate identity from the City of Napa. Early on, the City of Napa 
grew in increments, eventually ``swallowing up the easterly suburb of 
Coombsville'' (``Napa Valley Heyday,'' Richard H. Dillon, The Book Club 
of California, 2004, page 119).
    The petition states that, as early as 1914, an unincorporated area 
of Napa County became commonly known as the ``Coombsville'' region, 
named for Nathan Coombs, a prominent community leader and founder of 
the City of Napa. Mr. Coombs owned 2,525 acres of land on 3 parcels to 
the east of the Napa River, in the area now called ``Coombsville'' 
(``Official Map of the County of Napa,'' California, 1876). According 
to the petition, the original Coombsville Road, little more than an 
unnamed path, existed more than 120 years ago (``Map of Coombsville,'' 
survey map, W. A. Pierce, ``County Road from Napa to Green Valley,'' 
1883). Currently, Napa city and county road signs identify Coombsville 
Road where the road intersects with Third Street and the Silverado 
Trail. Coombsville Road is entirely within the boundary line of the 
proposed Coombsville viticultural area (``Napa Valley,'' map, 
California State Automobile Association, May 2004).
    The petition cited several Napa County newspaper reports to 
demonstrate that the Coombsville name is commonly used to refer to the 
region within the proposed viticultural area. For example, a newspaper 
report stated: ``A week ago, Patrick Sexton's backyard in Coombsville 
was a riotous place, with a gobble-gobble here, a gobble-gobble there, 
a gobble-gobble everywhere'' (``Napa High senior raises great 
gobblers,'' The Napa Valley Register, Nov. 27, 2008). Another report 
describes a downed power line that cut off electricity to 2,200 
Coombsville residential customers overnight (``Lights out again in 
Coombsville area,'' op. cit., Sept. 3, 2008). A third report describes 
a political district including Coombsville, American Canyon, and part 
of [the City of] Napa (``Local ballot for June takes shape,'' op. cit., 
March 12, 2008).
    The petition also states that the Napa County real estate industry 
recognizes the Coombsville region in its sale listings. One realtor 
listing on July 7, 2009, described a property as ``situated in the 
prestigious and desirable Coombsville area.'' Another realtor listing 
from 2008 described a property as ``Coombsville Area at Its Best!'' The 
petition includes the following description of a proposed new housing 
development in the region: ``The project is off of Wyatt Road, on the 
frontier where the residences of east Napa meet the open space and 
rural feel of Coombsville'' (``No middle ground in Napa County,'' op. 
cit., Oct. 23, 2005). Fifty-five acres in the region purchased for real 
estate development is described in the petition as, ``* * * in the 
Coombsville area of Napa County, scrub-covered slopes at the south end 
of the valley * * *'' (``The Far Side of Eden--New Money, Old Land and 
the Battle for Napa Valley,'' James Conaway, Houghton Mifflin Company, 
2002, page 50).
    The petition notes that the Coombsville name has long been 
associated with viticulture. The petition states that the history of 
grape-growing in the Coombsville region dates to 1870, when the Carbone 
family purchased a large land parcel on Coombsville Road (``Napa Valley 
Heyday,'' Richard H. Dillon, The Book Club of California, 2004, page 
100). Around 1880, Antonio Carbone opened a winery (ibid.). The 
historic winery still exists and is now used as a private residence, 
the petition explains. The petition further states that modern vineyard 
plantings include: Farella-Park Vineyards; Stag's Leap Wine Cellars' 
Arcadia Vineyards; Far Niente Winery's Barrow Lane, Carpenter, and 
John's Creek Vineyards; Berlenbach Vineyards; and Richard Perry 
Vineyards.
    The petition explains that ``Coombsville'' has national name 
recognition because of its renown as a wine region in Napa Valley. The 
following reports were published by Wine Spectator: ``Putting 
Coombsville on the map for Napa Cabernet'' (July 31, 2001), regarding a 
vintner who believes he can make one of the top cabernets in the Napa 
Valley region; ``Caldwell Vineyards'' (Nov. 15, 2002), regarding the 
first time that John Caldwell produced wine from a 60-acre Coombsville 
vineyard; ``Franciscan Buys Large Parcel of Napa Land'' (March 15, 
1999), describing a 160-acre property in the Coombsville region; and 
``James Laube Unfined--An Armchair Winery `Tour' with Philippe Melka'' 
(Aug. 10, 2007), detailing the acquisition of Coombsville-grown 
cabernet grapes to produce wine.
    The petition also states that the following reports on the 
Coombsville region appeared on AppellationAmerica.com: the Coombsville 
region is described as ``the hottest spot for grapes these days in the 
Napa Valley'' and it is circled on a map of the Napa Valley in ``Why 
Cool Coombsville is HOT'' (Oct. 8, 2008); and a 1995 acquisition of 20 
acres of vineyards in the Coombsville region is detailed in ``The 
Wonders of Mountain Terroir: Let Robert Craig Explain'' (Feb. 7, 2007).

Boundary Evidence

    According to USGS maps submitted with the petition, the proposed 
Coombsville viticultural area is nestled in the southeastern region of 
the Napa Valley viticultural area, between the eastern shores of both 
the Napa River and Milliken Creek and the western ridgeline of the Vaca 
Range at the Solano County line. The west-facing, horseshoe-shaped 
southern tip of the Vaca Range encircles much of the proposed 
Coombsville viticultural area and defines parts of the northern, 
eastern, and southern portions of the boundary line, according to the 
petition, boundary description, and USGS maps.
    According to the boundary description in the petition, the eastern 
portion of the boundary line of the proposed Coombsville viticultural 
area incorporates straight lines between western peaks of the Vaca 
Range. The eastern portion of the boundary line corresponds in part to, 
but does not overlap, the western portions of the boundary lines of the 
Wild Horse Valley and Solano County Green Valley viticultural areas and 
stays within Napa County.
    As detailed in the boundary description in the petition, the 
southern portion of the boundary line of the proposed Coombsville 
viticultural area follows a straight southeast-to-northwest line from a 
map point in Kreuse Canyon to Imola Avenue, and then continues west on 
Imola Avenue to the Napa River.
    According to the petition, and as visible on the USGS maps, an 
east-west transverse ridge that climatically protects the Coombsville 
region from the full impact of the marine influence of the San Pablo 
Bay lies beyond the proposed southern portion of the boundary line. 
Commonly known as ``Suscol,'' ``Soscol,'' or ``Soscol Ridge,'' the 
ridge separates the Coombsville region from large portions of the Napa 
Valley flood plain's differing soils and broad slough topography. The 
petition states that the complex terrain of the ridge was difficult to 
use as a precise and reasonable southern portion of the boundary line 
for the proposed

[[Page 77680]]

Coombsville viticultural area petition. Hence, a straight line between 
two map points and a portion of Imola Avenue was used to define the 
southern limits of the proposed Coombsville viticultural area. TTB 
believes that the straight line and Imola Avenue are a reasonable 
alternative for the proposed southern portion of the boundary line.
    According to the boundary description and the USGS Napa Quadrangle 
map, the western portion of the boundary line of the proposed 
Coombsville viticultural area relies on portions of the Napa River and 
Milliken Creek to connect Imola Avenue to the south with Monticello 
Road to the north. TTB notes that the southwest corner of the proposed 
viticultural area, at the intersection of Imola Avenue and the Napa 
River, touches but does not overlap the eastern portion of the boundary 
line of the Los Carneros viticultural area.
    According to the boundary description, the northern portion of the 
boundary line of the proposed Coombsville viticultural area uses 
Monticello Road and a straight line from the road's intersection with 
the 400-foot contour line eastward to the peak of Mt. George. Much of 
the length of the proposed northern portion of the boundary line 
follows a ridge line from the Vaca Range along Milliken Creek, 
according to the USGS maps submitted with the petition. TTB notes that 
the northwest corner of the proposed viticultural area, at the 
intersection of Milliken Creek and Monticello Road, touches but does 
not overlap the southeast corner of the Oak Knoll District of Napa 
Valley viticultural area.

Distinguishing Features

Geology
    The petition describes the ancient volcanic and crustal uplift 
events in the geologic history of the Coombsville region (``The 
Geologic Origin of the Coombsville Area,'' EarthVision, Inc., May 
2009). According to the petition and the above report, the initial 
geological event was the eruption and collapse of a volcano that was 
part of the Napa Valley-Sonoma volcanic series. The collapse of the 
volcano created a bowl-shaped structure known as a caldera, which 
formed the basis for the ``cup and saucer'' topography within the 
Coombsville region.
    The petition states that the next important geologic process began 
when crustal forces started to uplift and wrinkle the earth crust in 
the Vaca Range. The uplift progressed from east to west through the 
Vaca Range. When the uplift passed through the Coombsville region, the 
western front of the caldera collapsed and slid westward as a large 
landslide into the valley below (ibid.). The ancient Napa River removed 
most of the landslide debris from the Napa Valley (ibid.). The 
remaining debris formed a raised structure in the valley, and the 
remaining portion of the caldera formed a horseshoe-shaped ridge to the 
east. This area is referred to on USGS maps of the Coombsville area as 
the ``cup and saucer,'' since the raised area resembles a teacup 
sitting within the curved ``saucer'' formed by the remaining ridge of 
the caldera.
    The petition states that the earth surface materials that cover the 
proposed Coombsville viticultural area originated in a variety of ways. 
A thin coat of residual debris on volcanic bedrock covers the hills. 
Within the remains of the caldera, alluvial gravels of the Huichica 
Formation occur in the northern part and diatomaceous lake deposits 
occur along the northeast edge. The remainder of the surface material 
is a variety of alluvial deposits laid down since the ancient volcanic 
collapse (ibid.).
    The petition did not include data on the geology of the surrounding 
areas.
Geography
    As shown in the aerial photograph submitted with the petition, the 
most notable geographical characteristic of the proposed Coombsville 
viticultural area is a horseshoe-shaped, elevated landform, part of the 
Vaca Range (``The Winemaker's Dance--Exploring Terroir in the Napa 
Valley''). The west-facing horseshoe comprises a ring of volcanic 
mountains, according to the petition. The elevated cup-and-saucer 
landform lies partially within the curvature of the horseshoe on the 
western side of the proposed viticultural area. A small flood plain 
lies along the proposed western portion of the boundary line near the 
Napa River and Milliken Creek, the petition explains. The petition 
states that gentle slopes and rolling terrain extend westward from the 
Vaca Range and the opening of the horseshoe to the Napa River and 
Milliken Creek, and that most viticultural activity occurs within this 
area. The petition states that the Milliken-Sarco-Tulocay watershed, 
named after the three main creeks in the region, lies within the 
proposed Coombsville viticultural area. The cup-and-saucer landform 
presents a drainage obstacle, making Sarco Creek detour to the north 
and Tulocay Creek flow to the south. Eventually, all drainage flows to 
the southwest and joins with the south-flowing Napa River, the petition 
explains.
    According to USGS maps, elevations within the proposed Coombsville 
viticultural area vary from about 10 feet along Milliken Creek and the 
Napa River shoreline to 1,877 feet at the peak of Mt. George, at the 
northeast corner of the proposed Coombsville viticultural area along 
the western ridge of the Vaca Range. The landforms along the remaining 
caldera wall that forms the edge of the ``saucer'' vary from 
approximately 500 to 1,200 feet in elevation, some having steep 
terrain. The raised ``cup'' portion of the cup-and-saucer formation 
exceeds 400 feet in elevation in some areas. The surrounding gentle 
slopes and rolling terrain which form the bottom of the ``saucer'' vary 
from approximately 100 to 200 feet in elevation. The flood plain along 
the western boundary line varies in elevation from 10 to 20 feet along 
Milliken Creek and the Napa River.
    According to the petition, the combination of unique landforms and 
large elevation differences gives the proposed Coombsville viticultural 
area a fog-protected partial basin with high surrounding ridges. The 
aerial photograph submitted with the petition shows Coombsville as an 
isolated niche within the larger, more open terrain of the Napa Valley 
viticultural area. Also, the USGS maps indicate that the Vaca Range to 
the east provides a natural geographical boundary for the proposed 
viticultural area.
    According to the USGS maps and the petition, the regions 
surrounding the proposed Coombsville viticultural area have different 
geographies. To the northwest of the proposed viticultural area lies 
the Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley viticultural area, which can be 
distinguished from the proposed Coombsville viticultural area by its 
low valley floor elevations and the dry creek alluvial fan. To the west 
lies the City of Napa. To the southwest lies the Los Carneros 
viticultural area, which can be distinguished from the proposed 
viticultural area by its low rolling hills, flatlands, and mountainous 
terrain. To the southeast lies the Solano County Green Valley 
viticultural area, with a more rugged terrain than the proposed 
Coombsville viticulture area. To the east lies the Wild Horse Valley 
viticultural area, which can be distinguished from the proposed 
viticultural area by its isolated valley and the surrounding steep, 
rugged terrain and high elevations. To the northeast are the Vaca 
Mountains, which can be distinguished from the proposed viticultural 
area by their rugged terrain.

[[Page 77681]]

Climate
    The petition states that the proposed viticultural area has 
climatically unique features, including precipitation and heat 
summation. The petition provides statistical information on the 
microclimates of the adjacent Los Carneros and Oak Knoll District of 
Napa Valley viticultural areas, which are both within the larger Napa 
Valley viticultural area (``The Micro-Climate of the Coombsville 
Viticultural Area,'' Erik Moldstad, Sept. 28, 2009). According to the 
petitioner, the isolated Wild Horse Valley and Solano County Green 
Valley viticultural areas, to the immediate east of the proposed 
Coombsville viticultural area, lack available weather station data. In 
considering this petition, TTB obtained historic weather station data 
for surrounding north, east, south, and west regions within 15 miles or 
less of the proposed Coombsville viticultural area (Lake Berryessa, 
Fairfield, Napa State Hospital, and the City of Napa, respectively) 
from the Western Region Climate Center (WRCC) Web site, created in 
partnership with the National Climatic Data Center, Regional Climate 
Centers, and State Climate Offices.
    The table below presents average annual precipitation amounts and 
heat summation range totals for the Coombsville region, the Los 
Carneros and Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley viticultural areas, and 
the surrounding north, east, south, and west weather station areas. The 
table data is based primarily on petition documentation and also TTB's 
WRCC Web site data research.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                             Oak Knoll
                                                           Los Carneros     District of
Climatic averages for Coombsville region    Coombsville    viticultural     Napa Valley   Lake Berryessa     Fairfield      Napa State     City of Napa
          and surrounding areas               region           area        viticultural       (north)         (east)         Hospital         (west)
                                                            (southwest)        area                                           (south)
                                                                            (northwest)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Years...................................     2006-2008       2006-2008       2006-2008       1957-1970       1950-2009       1893-2009       1903-1965
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Precipitation in inches--annual average.           19.14           17.32           21.63           24.44           22.77           24.61           24.02
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Years...................................     1974-2007       1974-2007       1974-2007       1974-2007       1950-2009       1893-2009       1903-1965
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Heat summation units--annual average....           2,550           2,435           2,888           2,611           2,667           2,794           3,233
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The table shows that precipitation in the proposed Coombsville 
viticultural area averages 19.14 inches annually, and varies from the 
surrounding viticultural microclimates. The Coombsville region is 
warmer and wetter than the Los Carneros viticultural area to the 
southwest and cooler and drier than the Oak Knoll District of Napa 
Valley viticultural area to the northwest, according to Michael Wolf, 
owner of Michael Wolf Vineyard Services. To the northwest, the Oak 
Knoll District of Napa Valley viticultural area averages 2.5 inches 
more annual rainfall. To the southwest, the Los Carneros viticultural 
area has about 2 inches less rainfall annually. The data in the table 
indicates that the proposed Coombsville viticultural area averages 3.63 
to 5.47 inches less precipitation annually than the four surrounding 
areas for which weather station data was obtained by TTB.
    The growing season in the proposed Coombsville viticultural area is 
measured in the Winkler climate classification system (``General 
Viticulture,'' Albert J. Winkler, University of California Press, 1974, 
pages 61-64). In the Winkler system, heat accumulation per year defines 
climatic regions. As a measurement of heat accumulation during the 
growing season, 1 degree day accumulates for each degree Fahrenheit 
that a day's mean temperature is above 50 degrees, which is the minimum 
temperature required for grapevine growth. Climatic region I has less 
than 2,500 growing degree days (GDD) per year; region II, 2,501 to 
3,000; region III, 3,001 to 3,500; region IV, 3,501 to 4,000; and 
region V, 4,001 or more.
    According to the table, the Coombsville region is a low Winkler 
region II (2,550 GDD units), which is cooler by 61 to 683 degree units 
than the four surrounding areas from which weather station data was 
obtained by TTB. The coolest of the four areas is Lake Berryessa to the 
north at 2,611 GDD units (region II), and the warmest is the City of 
Napa to the west at 3,233 GDD units (region III). Also, the adjacent 
Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley viticultural area is significantly 
warmer at 2,888 GDD units, a high Winkler region II. The adjacent Los 
Carneros viticultural area is cooler than the proposed Coombsville 
region (region l) at 2,435 GDD units.
    The petition states that significant viticultural factors for the 
Coombsville region growing season include the amount of solar radiation 
and daytime heating. The solar radiation and heating are affected by 
the dissipation rate of morning fog, followed by the number of hours of 
sunshine, and then the onset of afternoon cooling bay breezes from San 
Pablo Bay.
    The petition states that the effects of the presence and 
disappearance of fog from the Napa Valley region in the day alters the 
temperature rise in the grape-growing season. Temperature and sunlight 
have subtle effects on grape development that, over the growing season, 
affect grape ripening times and flavors. The pace of sugar accumulation 
and the pace of the lessening of acidity during grape ripening are two 
examples of how the fog affects grape development. The petition notes 
that grape growers in the cooler Los Carneros viticultural area, to the 
south and closer to the foggy bay, harvest grapes with similar sugar 
and acidity levels for the same varietal as in the Coombsville region, 
but do so later in the growing season. To the north of the Coombsville 
region, in the warmer and less foggy Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley 
viticultural area, the same varietals with similar sugar and acid 
levels are harvested earlier than in the Coombsville and Los Carneros 
areas.
    The petition explains that the Coombsville region has more sunlight 
and daytime heat during the growing season than the Los Carneros 
viticultural area to the southwest and less than the Oak Knoll District 
of Napa Valley viticultural area to the northwest. The morning fog 
generally dissipates about 1 to 2 hours earlier in the Coombsville 
region than in the Los

[[Page 77682]]

Carneros viticultural area to the southwest, and an hour later than in 
the Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley viticultural area to the 
northwest. Also, in the afternoon, the bay breezes first cool the Los 
Carneros viticultural area, then spread slowly northward through the 
Coombsville region into the Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley 
viticultural area, and eventually continue northward up the Napa 
Valley.
    According to the petition, as the San Pablo Bay afternoon breezes 
reach northward to each micro-climate in the Napa Valley region, the 
air temperature incrementally stops rising, or slightly decreases. 
These cool breezes contribute to the differences in maximum daytime 
temperatures during the growing season for the south-to-north locations 
in the Los Carneros viticultural area, the Coombsville region, Oak 
Knoll District of Napa Valley viticultural area, and other Napa Valley 
viticultural areas.
Soils
    The petition explains that the soils of the proposed Coombsville 
viticultural area are generally well drained and of volcanic origin. 
Upland soils are weathered from their primary volcanic source, while 
lowland soils are alluvial in nature (``A Custom Soil Resource Report 
for Napa County, California--Coombsville Soils,'' Natural Resources 
Conservation Service, United States Department of Agriculture, http://websoilsurvey.nrcs.usda.gov/, May 27, 2009). The petitioner provided 
the following table, which shows the percentages of the predominant 
soils in the proposed Coombsville viticultural area as compared to 
surrounding regions, based on information contained in this report.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                  Oak Knoll
                                                 District of                       Wild Horse    West Side  Napa
      Viticultural area          Coombsville     Napa Valley     Los Carneros     Valley  (E)       River  (W)
                                  (percent)         (NW)       (SW)  (percent)     (percent)        (percent)
                                                  (percent)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Predominant Soil Series:
    Hambright-Rock outcrop...            28.5             0.6              0.2             15.5              0
    Coombs...................            24.1             5.6              0                1.7              5.0
    Sobrante.................            15.5             1.1              0               16.0              0
    Forward..................             7.4             0.7              7.9              0                0.4
    Haire....................             4.5            23.0             43.0              0               10.8
    Cole.....................             2.6            23.1             10.9              0               47.3
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The Hambright-Rock outcrop complex makes up 28.5 percent of the 
Coombsville area, as shown on the above table, and is found in lesser 
concentrations to the north, east, and south. The complex is found in 
the Vaca Range and makes up most of the cup-and-saucer landform soils 
(ibid.).
    Coombs gravelly and stony loams represent 24.1 percent of the soils 
in the Coombsville area, and are found in lesser concentrations to the 
north, east, and west, as shown on the above table. In addition, those 
soils are the main types appropriate for grape growing in the 
Coombsville region. They are alluvial, well drained soils at elevations 
of 50 to 500 feet. The Coombs soils are ``relatively unique to the 
area,'' and they were likely first identified in the Coombsville area, 
according to the petition. Coombs soils make up only 1.7 percent of the 
soils in Napa County, but they account for almost a quarter of the 
Coombsville region soils (ibid.).
    As shown on the table, Sobrante soils make up 15.5 percent of the 
Coombsville region, 16 percent to the east in Wild Horse Valley, and a 
much lesser concentration to the northwest. These soils are well 
drained and are at elevations of 120 feet and higher.
    As shown on the table, soils found in lesser concentrations in the 
proposed Coombsville viticultural area include Haire and Cole, which 
have higher concentrations in three of the surrounding areas.

The Proposed Coombsville Viticultural Area Compared to the North Coast 
and Napa Valley Viticultural Areas

North Coast Viticultural Area
    The North Coast viticultural area was established by T.D. ATF-145, 
which was published in the Federal Register on September 21, 1983 (48 
FR 42973). It includes all or portions of Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino, 
Solano, Lake, and Marin Counties, California. TTB notes that the North 
Coast viticultural area contains all or portions of approximately 40 
established viticultural areas, in addition to the area covered by the 
proposed Coombsville viticultural area. In the conclusion of the 
``Geographical Features'' section of the preamble, T.D. ATF-145 states 
that ``[d]ue to the enormous size of the North Coast, variations exist 
in climatic features such as temperature, rainfall, and fog 
intrusion.''
    The proposed Coombsville viticultural area shares the basic 
viticultural feature of the North Coast viticultural area: the marine 
influence that moderates growing season temperatures in the area. 
However, the proposed viticultural area is much more uniform in its 
geography, geology, climate, and soils than the diverse multicounty 
North Coast viticultural area. In this regard, TTB notes that T.D. ATF-
145 specifically states that ``approval of this viticultural area does 
not preclude approval of additional areas, either wholly contained with 
the North Coast, or partially overlapping the North Coast,'' and that 
``smaller viticultural areas tend to be more uniform in their 
geographical and climatic characteristics, while very large areas such 
as the North Coast tend to exhibit generally similar characteristics, 
in this case the influence of maritime air off of the Pacific Ocean and 
San Pablo Bay.'' Thus, the proposal to establish the Coombsville 
viticultural area is not inconsistent with what was envisaged when the 
North Coast viticultural area was established.
Napa Valley Viticultural Area
    The Napa Valley viticultural area was established by T.D. ATF-79, 
which was published in the Federal Register on January 28, 1981 (46 FR 
9061), includes most of Napa County, California. As noted in T.D. ATF-
79, the Napa Valley viticultural area encompasses ``all the areas 
traditionally known as `Napa Valley' which possess generally similar 
viticulture characteristics different from those of the surrounding 
areas.'' TTB notes that the Napa Valley viticultural area encompasses 
14 existing smaller viticultural areas, in addition to the area covered 
by the proposed Coombsville viticultural area.
    The Coombsville petition states that a Mediterranean climate of 
warm, dry summers and cool, moist winters dominates the Napa Valley 
region. Air temperatures in the valley increase from south to north 
based on the dissipation of the marine fog and cooling winds

[[Page 77683]]

from the San Pablo Bay to the south. Precipitation amounts are greater 
at the north end of the valley, at higher elevations, and in the 
Mayacmas Mountains on the west side of the valley. Sun exposure is 
greater on the east side of Napa Valley along the southwest face of the 
Vaca Range, including the Coombsville region, as compared to the 
western valley foothills of the Mayacmas Mountains.
    According to T.D. ATF-79, the Napa Valley viticultural area 
contains varieties of both Coombs and Sobrante soils, which are 
prominent in the Coombsville region. The Napa Valley viticultural area 
also includes other soil types, including Bale, Cole, Yolo, Reyes, and 
Clear Lake. The latter soil types are not prominent or are not present 
in the proposed Coombsville viticultural area, according to the 
petition. Thus, while the characteristics of the proposed Coombsville 
viticultural area are generally similar to those of the Napa Valley 
viticultural area, there are some distinguishing characteristics that 
warrant its separate designation as a viticultural area.

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Comments Received

    TTB published Notice No. 119 regarding the proposed Coombsville 
viticultural area in the Federal Register on May 24, 2011 (76 FR 
30052). In that notice, TTB requested comments from all interested 
persons by July 25, 2011. TTB solicited comments on the accuracy of the 
name, boundary, climactic, and other required information submitted in 
support of the petition. TTB expressed particular interest in whether 
the distinguishing features of the proposed viticultural area are 
sufficiently different from the established Napa Valley and North Coast 
viticultural areas, within which the proposed area lies. Additionally, 
TTB asked if the geographic features of the proposed viticultural area 
are so distinguishable from the surrounding Napa Valley and North Coast 
viticultural areas that the proposed Coombsville viticultural area 
should no longer be part of those viticultural areas.
    TTB received 50 comments in response to Notice No. 119. The 
commenters included 26 self-identified wine industry members and one 
self-identified representative of a trade association, the Napa Valley 
Vintners. Forty-nine of the comments express support for the proposed 
Coombsville viticultural area, and many note the unique climate and 
distinctive geography of the proposed viticultural area as described in 
Notice No. 119. The remaining comment, comment 17, notes a 
typographical error in the boundary description in paragraph (c)(12) of 
the proposed regulatory text, which is described in more detail below. 
There were no comments submitted in opposition to Notice No. 119.

TTB Finding

    After careful review of the petition and the comments received 
during the comment period, TTB finds that the evidence provided by the 
petitioner supports the establishment of the proposed Coombsville 
viticultural area within the Napa Valley and North Coast viticultural 
areas, as proposed in Notice No. 119, with the alteration to the 
boundary description as discussed below. Accordingly, under the 
authority of the Federal Alcohol Administration Act and part 4 of the 
TTB regulations, TTB establishes the ``Coombsville'' viticultural area 
in Napa County, California, effective 30 days from the publication date 
of this document.

Boundary Description

    See the narrative boundary description of the viticultural area in 
the regulatory text published at the end of this document. In this 
final rule, TTB altered some of the language in the written boundary 
description published as part of Notice No. 119, to conform the written 
boundary description to the boundary of the proposed viticultural area 
as marked on the USGS maps and the written description submitted with 
the petition. As noted in comment 17, in paragraph (c)(12) of the 
proposed regulatory text, the word ``northwest'' should have read 
``northeast.'' Paragraph (c)(12) of the final regulatory text contains 
the correct term ``northeast.''

Maps

    The petitioner provided the required maps, and TTB lists them below 
in the regulatory text.

Impact on Current Wine Labels

    Part 4 of the TTB regulations prohibits any label reference on a 
wine that indicates or implies an origin other than the wine's true 
place of origin. With the establishment of this viticultural area, its 
name, ``Coombsville,'' is recognized as a name of viticultural 
significance under 27 CFR 4.39(i)(3). The text of the new regulation 
clarifies this point. Once this final rule becomes effective, wine 
bottlers using ``Coombsville'' in a brand name, including a trademark, 
or in another label reference as to the origin of the wine, will have 
to ensure that the product is eligible to use the viticultural area's 
name as an appellation of origin. The establishment of the Coombsville 
viticultural area will not affect any existing viticultural area, and 
any bottlers using Napa Valley or North Coast as an appellation of 
origin or in a brand name for wines made from grapes grown within the 
Coombsville viticultural area will not be affected by the establishment 
of this new viticultural area. The establishment of the Coombsville 
viticultural area will allow vintners to use ``Coombsville,'' ``Napa 
Valley,'' and ``North Coast'' as appellations of origin for wines made 
from grapes grown within the Coombsville viticultural area.
    For a wine to be labeled with a viticultural area name or with a 
brand name that includes a viticultural area name or other term 
identified as being viticulturally significant in part 9 of the TTB 
regulations, at least 85 percent of the wine must be derived from 
grapes grown within the area represented by that name or other term, 
and the wine must meet the other conditions listed in 27 CFR 
4.25(e)(3). If the wine is not eligible for labeling with the 
viticultural area name or other viticulturally significant term and 
that name or term appears in the brand name, then the label is not in 
compliance and the bottler must change the brand name and obtain 
approval of a new label. Similarly, if the viticultural area name or 
other term of viticultural significance appears in another reference on 
the label in a misleading manner, the bottler would have to obtain 
approval of a new label.
    Different rules apply if a wine has a brand name containing a 
viticultural area name or other viticulturally significant term that 
was used as a brand name on a label approved before July 7, 1986. See 
27 CFR 4.39(i)(2) for details.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    TTB certifies that this regulation will not have a significant 
economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The 
regulation imposes no new reporting, recordkeeping, or other 
administrative requirement. Any benefit derived from the use of a 
viticultural area name would be the result of a proprietor's efforts 
and consumer acceptance of wines from that area. Therefore, no 
regulatory flexibility analysis is required.

Executive Order 12866

    This rule is not a significant regulatory action as defined by 
Executive Order 12866. Therefore, it requires no regulatory assessment.

[[Page 77684]]

Drafting Information

    Karen A. Thornton of the Regulations and Rulings Division drafted 
this notice.

List of Subjects in 27 CFR Part 9

    Wine.

The Regulatory Amendment

    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, TTB amends title 27, 
chapter I, part 9, Code of Federal Regulations, as follows:

PART 9--AMERICAN VITICULTURAL AREAS

0
1. The authority citation for part 9 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 27 U.S.C. 205.

Subpart C--Approved American Viticultural Areas

0
2. Subpart C is amended by adding Sec.  9.223 to read as follows:


Sec.  9.223  Coombsville.

    (a) Name. The name of the viticultural area described in this 
section is ``Coombsville''. For purposes of part 4 of this chapter, 
``Coombsville'' is a term of viticultural significance.
    (b) Approved maps. The two United States Geological Survey 1:24,000 
scale topographic maps used to determine the boundary of the 
Coombsville viticultural area are titled:
    (1) Mt. George Quadrangle, California, 1951, Photoinspected 1973; 
and
    (2) Napa Quadrangle, California-Napa Co., 1951, Photorevised 1980.
    (c) Boundary. The Coombsville viticultural area is located in Napa 
County, California. The boundary of the Coombsville viticultural area 
is as described below:
    (1) The beginning point is on the Mt. George map at the 1,877-foot 
peak of Mt. George, section 29, T6N/R3W. From the beginning point, 
proceed southeast in a straight line for 0.4 mile to the intersection 
of the 1,400-foot elevation line and an unnamed intermittent creek that 
feeds northeast into Leonia Lakes, section 29, T6N/R3W; then
    (2) Proceed east-southeast in a straight line for 0.45 mile to the 
intersection of the 1,380-foot elevation line and an unnamed, 
unimproved dirt road, and then continue in the same straight line to 
the section 29 east boundary line, T6N/R3W; then
    (3) Proceed south-southeast in a straight line for 0.6 mile to the 
unnamed 1,804-foot elevation point in the northwest quadrant of section 
33, T6N/R3W; then
    (4) Proceed south-southwest in a straight line for 1 mile, passing 
over the marked 1,775-foot elevation point, to the intersection of the 
T6N and T5N common line and the 1,600-foot elevation line; then
    (5) Proceed south-southeast in a straight line for 1.1 miles to the 
1,480-foot elevation point along the section 9 north boundary line, 
T5N/R3W; then
    (6) Proceed south-southwest in a straight line for 1.3 miles to the 
1,351-foot elevation point, section 16, T5N/R3W; then
    (7) Proceed south-southwest in a straight line for 1.5 miles to the 
intersection with two unimproved dirt roads and the 1,360-foot 
elevation line in Kreuse Canyon at the headwaters of the intermittent 
Kreuse Creek, northeast of Sugarloaf, section 20, T5N/R3W; then
    (8) Proceed northwest in a straight line for 1.95 miles to the 90-
degree turn of Imola Avenue at the 136-foot elevation point, section 
13, T5N/R4W; then
    (9) Proceed west along Imola Avenue for 2.1 miles, crossing from 
the Mt. George map onto the Napa map, to the intersection of Imola 
Avenue with the Napa River at the Maxwell Bridge, T5N/R4W; then
    (10) Proceed north (upstream) along the Napa River for 3.2 miles, 
crossing over the T6N/T5N common line, to the intersection of the Napa 
River with Milliken Creek, T6N/R4W; then
    (11) Proceed north (upstream) along Milliken Creek for 0.75 mile to 
the intersection of Milliken Creek with Monticello Road, T6N/R4W; then
    (12) Proceed northeast along Monticello Road for 2.4 miles, 
crossing from the Napa map onto the Mt. George map, to the intersection 
of Monticello Road with the section 19 west boundary line, T6N/R3W; and 
then
    (13) Proceed east-southeast in a straight line for 1.4 miles to the 
beginning point, section 29, T6N/R3W.

    Signed: September 28, 2011.
John J. Manfreda,
Administrator.
    Approved: October 19, 2011.
Timothy E. Skud,
Deputy Assistant Secretary, Tax, Trade, and Tariff Policy.
[FR Doc. 2011-32018 Filed 12-13-11; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4810-31-P