Proposed Establishment of The Burn of Columbia Valley Viticultural Area, 31718-31723 [2020-10921]

Download as PDF 31718 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 102 / Wednesday, May 27, 2020 / Proposed Rules withholding. Thus, if a withholding certificate is furnished by a payee, it will generally take effect in accordance with section 3402(f)(3) and as provided in applicable forms, instructions, publications, and other guidance prescribed by the Commissioner. If no withholding certificate is furnished, the amount withheld must be determined in the manner described in the applicable forms, instructions, publications, and other guidance prescribed by the Commissioner for withholding on periodic payments when no withholding certificate is furnished. (d)(1) Q–3: What is the applicability date of this section? (2) A–3: This section applies with respect to periodic payments made after December 31, 2020. PART 35—EMPLOYMENT TAX AND COLLECTION OF INCOME TAX AT SOURCE REGULATIONS UNDER THE TAX EQUITY AND FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY ACT OF 1982 Par. 3. The authority citation for part 35 continues to read in part as follows: ■ Authority: 26 U.S.C. 6047(e), 7805; 68A Stat. 917; 96 Stat. 625; Public Law 97–248 (96 Stat. 623) * * * § 35.3405–1T [Amended] Par. 4. Section 35.3405–1T is amended by removing and reserving Q&A a–10, Q&A b–3, and Q&A b–4. Background on Viticultural Areas ■ TTB Authority Sunita Lough, Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement. [FR Doc. 2020–10679 Filed 5–26–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4830–01–P DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau 27 CFR Part 9 [Docket No. TTB–2020–0005; Notice No. 190] RIN 1513–AC60 Proposed Establishment of The Burn of Columbia Valley Viticultural Area Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, Treasury. ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking. jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with PROPOSALS AGENCY: The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) proposes to establish the 16,870-acre ‘‘The Burn of Columbia Valley’’ viticultural area in Klickitat County, Washington. The proposed AVA is located entirely within the existing Columbia Valley AVA. TTB SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:25 May 26, 2020 Jkt 250001 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. TTB invites comments on this proposed addition to its regulations. DATES: TTB must receive your comments on or before July 27, 2020. ADDRESSES: You may electronically submit comments to TTB on this proposal, and view copies of this document, its supporting materials, and any comments TTB receives on it within Docket No. TTB–2020–0005 as posted on Regulations.gov (https:// www.regulations.gov), the Federal erulemaking portal. Please see the ‘‘Public Participation’’ section of this document below for full details on how to comment on this proposal via Regulations.gov, U.S. mail, or hand delivery, and for full details on how to view or obtain copies of this document, its supporting materials, and any comments related to this proposal. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Karen A. Thornton, Regulations and Rulings Division, Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, 1310 G Street NW, Box 12, Washington, DC 20005; phone 202–453–1039, ext. 175. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 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 FAA Act pursuant to section 1111(d) of the Homeland Security Act of 2002, codified at 6 U.S.C. 531(d). The Secretary has delegated the functions and duties in the administration and enforcement of these provisions to the TTB Administrator through Treasury Order 120–01, dated December 10, 2013 (superseding Treasury Order 120–01, dated January 24, 2003). Part 4 of the TTB regulations (27 CFR part 4) authorizes TTB to establish definitive viticultural areas and regulate 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 PO 00000 Frm 00010 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 standards for the preparation and submission of petitions for the establishment or modification of American viticultural areas (AVAs) and lists the approved AVAs. 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 the wine’s geographic origin. The establishment of AVAs allows vintners to describe more accurately the origin of their wines to consumers and helps consumers to identify wines they may purchase. Establishment of an AVA 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 (27 CFR 4.25(e)(2)) outlines the procedure for proposing an AVA and provides that any interested party may petition TTB to establish a grapegrowing region as an AVA. Section 9.12 of the TTB regulations (27 CFR 9.12) prescribes standards for petitions for the establishment or modification of AVAs. Petitions to establish an AVA must include the following: • Evidence that the area within the proposed AVA boundary is nationally or locally known by the AVA name specified in the petition; • An explanation of the basis for defining the boundary of the proposed AVA; • A narrative description of the features of the proposed AVA that affect viticulture, such as climate, geology, soils, physical features, and elevation, that make the proposed AVA distinctive and distinguish it from adjacent areas outside the proposed AVA boundary; • The appropriate United States Geological Survey (USGS) map(s) showing the location of the proposed AVA, with the boundary of the proposed AVA clearly drawn thereon; • If the proposed AVA is to be established within, or overlapping, an existing AVA, an explanation that both identifies the attributes of the proposed AVA that are consistent with the existing AVA and explains how the proposed AVA is sufficiently distinct from the existing AVA and therefore E:\FR\FM\27MYP1.SGM 27MYP1 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 102 / Wednesday, May 27, 2020 / Proposed Rules appropriate for separate recognition; and • A detailed narrative description of the proposed AVA boundary based on USGS map markings. Petition To Establish The Burn of Columbia Valley AVA TTB received a petition from Kevin Corliss, Vice President of Vineyards for Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, Joan R. Davenport, Professor of Soil Sciences at Washington State University, and John Derrick, Vice President of Operations for Mercer Ranches, Inc., proposing to establish ‘‘The Burn of Columbia Valley’’ AVA. The proposed AVA is located in Klickitat County, Washington, and is entirely within the existing Columbia Valley AVA (27 CFR 9.74). Within the 16,870-acre proposed AVA, there are three (3) commercial vineyards which cover a total of approximately 1,261 acres and are owned by two different entities. The petition was originally submitted under the name ‘‘The Burn,’’ but the petitioners later requested to change the name to the more geographically specific ‘‘The Burn of Columbia Valley.’’ The distinguishing features of the proposed The Burn of Columbia Valley AVA are its soils, climate, and topography. jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with PROPOSALS Proposed The Burn of Columbia Valley AVA Name Evidence According to an excerpt from History of Klickitat County 1 that was included in the petition, the origin of the name ‘‘The Burn’’ is uncertain. One theory is that the Native Americans in the region would burn the prairie grasses in order to discourage or frighten away settlers, while another theory is that the Native Americans regularly burned the area to insure adequate grass for their horses in the spring. A third explanation is that the dry east winds that blow through the region leave the farmers’ wheat fields burned and shriveled. Regardless of the derivation of the name, the petition states that the region of the proposed AVA has been referred to as ‘‘The Burn’’ since at least the early 1900’s, when mail destined for the area carried the designation ‘‘The Burn.’’ The petition included evidence that the name ‘‘The Burn’’ continues to be used to describe the region of the proposed AVA into modern times. For example, the 1965 Goodnoe Hills and the 1971 Sundale, NW. U.S.G.S. topographic maps both label the region 1 May, Peter. History of Klickitat County. Goldendale, WA: Klickitat Historical Society, 1982, p. 92. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:25 May 26, 2020 Jkt 250001 of the proposed AVA as ‘‘The Burn.’’ Although the current paper U.S.G.S. topographic maps do not label the region of the proposed AVA, the petition did include a screen shot of the current U.S.G.S. online National Map 2 which shows the region between Rock Creek and Chapman Creek labeled as ‘‘The Burn.’’ The National Map also shows a road named ‘‘Burn Road’’ running through the region of the proposed AVA. In an email to TTB, one of the petitioners states that, based on her knowledge of the history of the region, the road derives its name from the common name for the region. The petition also included a page from a high school biology website that shows a photo of wildflowers growing ‘‘in an area of south-central Klickitat County known as The Burn.’’ 3 Finally, another web page included in the petition provides general information about Klickitat County and lists ‘‘The Burn’’ as an area within the county.4 Boundary Evidence The proposed The Burn of Columbia Valley AVA is a roughly triangular region of gently sloping land in the southwestern portion of the established Columbia Valley AVA. The northern bank of the Columbia River forms the southern boundary of the proposed AVA (the base of the triangle) and separates the proposed AVA from the flatter terrain across the river in Oregon. The western boundary (the left edge of the triangle) follows Paterson Slough, Rock Creek, and the boundary of the trust lands held by the Yakima Nation. The petition states that the trust lands were not included in the proposed AVA due to their steeper slope angles and because tribal lands are excluded from commercial wine grape production. The eastern boundary of the proposed AVA (the right edge of the triangle) largely follows the bed of Chapman Creek and separates the proposed AVA from steeper regions with higher elevations. Distinguishing Features According to the petition, the distinguishing features of the proposed The Burn of Columbia Valley AVA are its soils, climate, and topography. Soils The petition states that there are 32 soil series found within the proposed The Burn of Columbia Valley AVA, although approximately 80 percent of 2 https://viewer.nationalmap.gov/advancedviewer. 3 http://science.halleyhosting.com/nature/ bloomtime/egorge/11/19.html. 4 http://www.us-places.com/Washington/ Klickitat-County.htm. PO 00000 Frm 00011 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 31719 the soils within the proposed AVA are derived from only 9 soil series or complexes. The following table lists the nine most commonly found soils within the proposed AVA, along with the percentage of the total soils each series or complex comprises. TABLE 1—MOST COMMON SOILS OF THE PROPOSED AVA Soil series/complex name Walla Walla silt loam (without cemented substratum) Rock outcrop–Haploxeroll complex ............................. Haploxeroll–Fluvaquent complex .................................... Fluventic HaploxerollRiverwash complex ........... Rock outcrop Rubble and complex ............................. Wato silt loam ....................... Walla Walla silt loam (with cemented substratum) ...... Endicott silt loam .................. Endicott–Moxee complex ..... Percentage of total soils 30.16 13.57 8.37 6.51 6.08 4.85 4.07 3.73 2.55 According to the petition, the silty loam soils that comprise the majority of the proposed The Burn of Columbia Valley AVA have a good plant-available water holding capacity. Such soils are capable of delivering sufficient water to the vines during the growing season. The higher water holding capacity of the soils also means that vines which have been irrigated post-harvest will have adequate access to water through the winter and thus will have a reduced risk of frost or freeze injury to the roots. Finally, the petition states that the silty loam soils of the proposed AVA are in the taxonomic order Mollisols, which means they are relatively high in organic matter and can provide adequate nutrients to the vines, particularly nitrogen. The soils of the region due west of the proposed The Burn of Columbia Valley AVA are the most similar to the soils of the proposed AVA, with Walla Walla silt loam without cemented substratum comprising 41.55 percent of the soils. However, 24.27 percent of the soils found in the region to the west are not found within the proposed AVA, including the Cheviot–Tronsen complex, the Goodnoe–Swalecreek– Horseflat complex, and Asotin silt loam. To the east and northeast of the proposed AVA, only 8.39 percent of the land contains the 9 types of soil that dominate the proposed AVA. Instead, the region contains sizeable amounts of soil that are not present within the proposed AVA, including the Renslow– Ralls–Wipple complex, Van Nostern silt E:\FR\FM\27MYP1.SGM 27MYP1 31720 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 102 / Wednesday, May 27, 2020 / Proposed Rules loam, and Van Nostern–Bakeoven complex. To the south of the proposed AVA, only 14.60 percent of the soils are from the 9 series and complexes that are most prevalent within the proposed AVA. Soils present in the region to the south which are not present within the proposed AVA include Ritzville silt loam, Willis silt loam, and Roloff–Rock outcrop complex. To the northwest of the proposed AVA, the 9 soils that dominate the proposed AVA cover only 12.54 percent of the region. Soils found in the region but not in the proposed AVA include Colockum–Cheviot complex, Swalecreek–Rockly complex, and Goldendale silt loam. Climate The proposed The Burn of Columbia Valley AVA petition included information on the climate of the proposed AVA, including growing degree day 5 (GDD) accumulations and precipitation amounts. The climate information was developed from the weather records from 1981–2010 from the Western Regional Climate Center.6 The petition included information on the minimum, maximum, and average annual GDD accumulations for the proposed AVA and the surrounding regions for the period of record. The GDD information is compiled in the following table. TABLE 2—ANNUAL GDD ACCUMULATIONS Region Average Proposed AVA ............................................................................................................................. East-northeast .............................................................................................................................. South ............................................................................................................................................ West ............................................................................................................................................. Northwest ..................................................................................................................................... The proposed AVA has higher average and minimum GDD accumulations than each of the surrounding regions except the region to the south, and a maximum GDD accumulation that is greater than two of the surrounding regions. The petition states that the higher average GDD accumulations within the proposed AVA indicate a climate that is warmer than most of the surrounding regions. The petition shows that GDD accumulations within the proposed AVA favor the production of grape varietals that have higher heat unit requirements, including Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, which are the two most commonly grown grape varietals in the proposed AVA. 2,763 2,414 2,768 2,570 2,178 Minimum 2,405 1,723 2,464 1,766 1,570 Maximum 3,249 3,298 3,305 3,191 2,995 The petition included information on the minimum, maximum, and average annual precipitation amounts for the proposed AVA and the surrounding regions for the period of record. The precipitation information is compiled in the following table. TABLE 3—ANNUAL PRECIPITATION AMOUNTS IN INCHES Region Average Proposed AVA ............................................................................................................................. East-northeast .............................................................................................................................. South ............................................................................................................................................ West ............................................................................................................................................. Northwest ..................................................................................................................................... The proposed The Burn of Columbia Valley AVA has average, minimum, and maximum annual precipitation amounts that are lower than those of each of the surrounding regions, except that the region to the south has a lower maximum annual precipitation amount. The petition states that the low rainfall amounts mean that vineyards in the proposed AVA need supplemental irrigation. However, the petition notes that because of the high water holding capacity of the soils of the proposed AVA, vines remain adequately hydrated. jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with PROPOSALS Topography The proposed AVA is located on gently sloping bench lands above the Columbia River. The average slope angle within the proposed AVA is 7.27 5 See Albert J. Winkler et al., General Viticulture (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2nd. ed. 1974), pages 61–64. In the Winkler scale, the GDD VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:25 May 26, 2020 Jkt 250001 8.76 10.23 9.39 9.81 11.58 Minimum 6.65 6.80 6.67 7.03 10.45 Maximum 10.44 11.63 10.38 12.53 12.69 percent. The proposed AVA has a large contiguous expanse of land with easterly, southeasterly, and southern aspects. The petition also provided information about the average, maximum, and minimum elevations of the proposed AVA and the surrounding regions. However, the petition did not adequately describe the specific effects of elevation on viticulture, so TTB cannot consider elevation to be a distinguishing topographic feature of the proposed AVA. When compared to the proposed AVA, each of the surrounding regions has higher average slope angles with the exception of the region to the south, which has a lower average slope angle. The regions to the west and northwest of the proposed AVA have predominately southerly aspects. The petition states that the regions to the south and east-northeast have predominately southeasterly aspects, similar to those of the proposed AVA. However, the petition states that the proposed AVA has a larger contiguous region with a southeasterly aspect. The petition states that the gentle slopes of the proposed AVA are suitable for mechanical cultivation of vineyards, yet are steep enough to avoid the pooling of cold air that could damage grapes. The southeasterly aspect of the proposed AVA allows excellent sunlight exposure for vineyards. regions are defined as follows: Region I = less than 2,500 GDDs; Region II = 2,501–3,000 GDDs; Region III = 3,001–3,500 GDDs; Region IV = 3,501–4,000 GDDs; Region V = greater than 4,000 GDDs. 6 https://wrcc.dri.edu. PO 00000 Frm 00012 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 Summary of Distinguishing Features The following table summarizes the distinguishing features of the proposed The Burn of Columbia Valley AVA and the surrounding regions. E:\FR\FM\27MYP1.SGM 27MYP1 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 102 / Wednesday, May 27, 2020 / Proposed Rules 31721 TABLE 4—SUMMARY OF DISTINGUISHING FEATURES Region Soils Proposed The Burn of Silty loam soils including Walla Columbia Valley AVA. Walla silt loam without cemented substratum, relatively high organic material, high water holding capacity. East-northeast ............. Sizeable amount of soils that are not present in proposed AVA. South ........................... Sizeable amount of soils that are not present in proposed AVA. West ............................ Silty loam soils including Walla Walla silt loam without cemented substratum, but with soils not found in proposed AVA. Sizeable amount of soils that are not present in proposed AVA. Northwest .................... jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with PROPOSALS Comparison of the Proposed The Burn of Columbia Valley AVA to the Existing Columbia Valley AVA The Columbia Valley AVA was established by T.D. ATF–190, which was published in the Federal Register on November 13, 1984 (49 FR 44895). T.D. ATF–190 describes the Columbia Valley AVA as a large, treeless basin surrounding the Yakima, Snake, and Columbia Rivers. Growing Degree Day accumulations within the Columbia Valley AVA range from 2,000 to 3,000, and annual precipitation amounts are between 6 and 22 inches. Elevations within the Columbia Valley AVA are generally below 2,000 feet. The proposed The Burn of Columbia Valley AVA shares some of the general viticultural features of the larger Columbia Valley AVA. For instance, the average annual rainfall amounts and elevation within the proposed AVA are within the range of those features for the Columbia Valley AVA. However, the proposed AVA can accumulate over 3,000 GDDs annually, indicating a climate that is slightly warmer than most of the rest of the Columbia Valley AVA. Additionally, because the proposed The Burn of Columbia Valley AVA is much smaller than the Columbia Valley AVA, the proposed AVA has a greater uniformity of characteristics within its boundaries. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:25 May 26, 2020 Jkt 250001 Climate Topography Average annual GDD accumulations of 2,763, minimum annual GDD accumulations of 2,405, maximum annual GDD accumulations of 3,249; average annual precipitation of 8.76 inches, minimum annual precipitation of 6.65 inches, and maximum annual precipitation of 10.44 inches. Lower average and minimum annual GDD accumulation; Higher maximum annual GDD accumulations; Higher average, minimum, and maximum annual precipitation amounts. Higher average, minimum, and maximum annual GDD accumulations; Higher average and minimum annual precipitation amounts; Lower maximum annual precipitation amounts. Lower average, minimum, and maximum annual GDD accumulations; Higher average, minimum, and maximum annual precipitation amounts. Gently sloping bench lands with average slope angle of 7.27 percent and large contiguous expanse of land with easterly, southeasterly, and southern aspects. Lower average, minimum, and maximum annual GDD accumulations; Higher average, minimum, and maximum annual precipitation amounts. Higher slope angles, predominately southerly slope aspects. TTB Determination TTB concludes that the petition to establish the 16,870-acre ‘‘The Burn of Columbia Valley’’ AVA merits consideration and public comment, as invited in this document. Boundary Description See the narrative boundary descriptions of the petitioned-for AVA in the proposed regulatory text published at the end of this document. Maps The petitioner provided the required maps, and they are listed below in the proposed regulatory text. You may also view the proposed The Burn of Columbia Valley AVA boundary on the AVA Map Explorer on the TTB website, at https://www.ttb.gov/wine/ava-mapexplorer. 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. For a wine to be labeled with an AVA name or with a brand name that includes an AVA name, at least 85 percent of the wine must be derived from grapes grown within the area represented by that name, and the wine must meet the other conditions listed in § 4.25(e)(3) of the TTB regulations (27 CFR 4.25(e)(3)). If the wine is not eligible for labeling with an AVA name and that name appears in the brand name, then the PO 00000 Frm 00013 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 Higher slope angles, predominately southeasterly slope aspects. Lower slope angles, predominately southeasterly slope aspects. Higher slope angles, predominately southerly slope aspects. label is not in compliance and the bottler must change the brand name and obtain approval of a new label. Similarly, if the AVA name 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 an AVA name that was used as a brand name on a label approved before July 7, 1986. See § 4.39(i)(2) of the TTB regulations (27 CFR 4.39(i)(2)) for details. If TTB establishes this proposed AVA, its name, ‘‘The Burn of Columbia Valley,’’ will be recognized as a name of viticultural significance under § 4.39(i)(3) of the TTB regulations (27 CFR 4.39(i)(3)). The text of the proposed regulation clarifies this point. Consequently, wine bottlers using ‘‘The Burn of Columbia Valley’’ in a brand name, including a trademark, or in another label reference as to the origin of the wine, would have to ensure that the product is eligible to use the viticultural area’s name ‘‘The Burn of Columbia Valley.’’ TTB is not proposing to designate ‘‘The Burn,’’ standing alone, as a term of viticultural significance because the term ‘‘The Burn’’ is used to refer to multiple areas in the United States. Therefore, wine bottlers using ‘‘The Burn,’’ standing alone, in a brand name or in another label reference on their wines would not be affected by the establishment of this proposed AVA. E:\FR\FM\27MYP1.SGM 27MYP1 31722 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 102 / Wednesday, May 27, 2020 / Proposed Rules The approval of the proposed The Burn of Columbia Valley AVA would not affect any existing AVA, and any bottlers using ‘‘Columbia Valley’’ as an appellation of origin in a brand name for wines made from grapes grown within the Columbia Valley AVA would not be affected by the establishment of this new AVA. The establishment of the proposed The Burn of Columbia Valley AVA would allow vintners to use ‘‘The Burn of Columbia Valley’’ or ‘‘Columbia Valley’’ as appellations of origin for wines made from grapes grown within the proposed AVA, if the wines meet the eligibility requirements for the appellation. jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with PROPOSALS Public Participation Comments Invited TTB invites comments from interested members of the public on whether TTB should establish the proposed The Burn of Columbia Valley AVA. TTB is interested in receiving comments on the sufficiency and accuracy of the name, boundary, topography, and other required information submitted in support of the AVA petition. In addition, because the proposed The Burn of Columbia Valley AVA would be within the existing Columbia Valley AVA, TTB is interested in comments on whether the evidence submitted in the petition regarding the distinguishing features of the proposed AVA sufficiently differentiates it from the existing AVA. TTB is also interested in comments on whether the geographic features of the proposed AVA are so distinguishable from the Columbia Valley AVA that the proposed The Burn of Columbia Valley AVA should no longer be part of the established AVA. Please provide any available specific information in support of your comments. Because of the potential impact of the establishment of the proposed The Burn of Columbia Valley AVA on wine labels that include the term ‘‘The Burn of Columbia Valley’’ as discussed above under Impact on Current Wine Labels, TTB is particularly interested in comments regarding whether there will be a conflict between the proposed area names and currently used brand names. If a commenter believes that a conflict will arise, the comment should describe the nature of that conflict, including any anticipated negative economic impact that approval of the proposed AVA will have on an existing viticultural enterprise. TTB is also interested in receiving suggestions for ways to avoid conflicts, for example, by adopting a modified or different name for the proposed AVA. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:25 May 26, 2020 Jkt 250001 Submitting Comments You may submit comments on this proposal by using one of the following three methods: • Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: You may send comments via the online comment form posted with this document within Docket No. TTB– 2020–0005 on ‘‘Regulations.gov,’’ the Federal e-rulemaking portal, at https:// www.regulations.gov. A direct link to that docket is available under Notice No. 190 on the TTB website at https:// www.ttb.gov/wine/winerulemaking.shtml. Supplemental files may be attached to comments submitted via Regulations.gov. For complete instructions on how to use Regulations.gov, visit the site and click on the ‘‘Help’’ tab at the top of the page. • U.S. Mail: You may send comments via postal mail to the Director, Regulations and Rulings Division, Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, 1310 G Street, NW, Box 12, Washington, DC 20005. • Hand Delivery/Courier: You may hand-carry your comments or have them hand-carried to the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, 1310 G Street NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20005. Please submit your comments by the closing date shown above in this document. Your comments must reference Notice No. 190 and include your name and mailing address. Your comments also must be made in English, be legible, and be written in language acceptable for public disclosure. We do not acknowledge receipt of comments, and we consider all comments as originals. Your comment must clearly state if you are commenting on your own behalf or on behalf of an organization, business, or other entity. If you are commenting on behalf of an organization, business, or other entity, your comment must include the entity’s name as well as your name and position title. If you comment via Regulations.gov, please enter the entity’s name in the ‘‘Organization’’ blank of the online comment form. If you comment via postal mail, please submit your entity’s comment on letterhead. You may also write to the Administrator before the comment closing date to ask for a public hearing. The Administrator reserves the right to determine whether to hold a public hearing. Confidentiality All submitted comments and attachments are part of the public record PO 00000 Frm 00014 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 and subject to disclosure. Do not enclose any material in your comments that you consider to be confidential or inappropriate for public disclosure. Public Disclosure TTB will post, and you may view, copies of this document, selected supporting materials, and any online or mailed comments received about this proposal within Docket No. TTB–2020– 0005 on the Federal e-rulemaking portal, Regulations.gov, at https:// www.regulations.gov. A direct link to that docket is available on the TTB website at https://www.ttb.gov/wine/ wine-rulemaking.shtml under Notice No. 190. You may also reach the relevant docket through the Regulations.gov search page at https:// www.regulations.gov. For instructions on how to use Regulations.gov, visit the site and click on the ‘‘Help’’ tab at the top of the page. All posted comments will display the commenter’s name, organization (if any), city, and State, and, in the case of mailed comments, all address information, including email addresses. TTB may omit voluminous attachments or material that it considers unsuitable for posting. You also may view copies of this document, all related petitions, maps and other supporting materials, and any electronic or mailed comments we receive about this proposal by appointment at the TTB Public Reading Room, 1310 G Street, NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20005. You may also obtain copies at 20 cents per 8.5- x 11inch page. Contact TTB’s Regulations and Rulings Division at the above address, by email using the web form at https://www.ttb.gov/contact-rrd, or by telephone at 202–453–1039, ext. 175, to schedule an appointment or to request copies of comments or other materials. Regulatory Flexibility Act TTB certifies that this proposed regulation, if adopted, would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The proposed 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 It has been determined that this proposed rule is not a significant regulatory action as defined by E:\FR\FM\27MYP1.SGM 27MYP1 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 102 / Wednesday, May 27, 2020 / Proposed Rules Executive Order 12866. Therefore, no regulatory assessment is required. Drafting Information Karen A. Thornton of the Regulations and Rulings Division drafted this document. List of Subjects in 27 CFR Part 9 Wine. Proposed Regulatory Amendment For the reasons discussed in the preamble, we propose to amend title 27, chapter I, part 9, Code of Federal Regulations, as follows: Signed: March 31, 2020. Mary G. Ryan, Acting Administrator. Approved: May 13, 2020. Timothy E. Skud, Deputy Assistant Secretary (Tax, Trade, and Tariff Policy). 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 ■ [FR Doc. 2020–10921 Filed 5–26–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4810–31–P 2. Add § 9.llto read as follows: § 9.ll jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with PROPOSALS (4) Proceed southeasterly (downstream) along Chapman Creek, crossing over the Dot map and onto the Sundale map, to the intersection of Chapman Creek with its southernmost tributary; then (5) Proceed due east in a straight line to the creek running through Old Lady Canyon; then (6) Proceed southerly along the creek to its intersection with the northern shoreline of the Columbia River; then (7) Proceed westerly along the northern shoreline of the Columbia River, returning to the beginning point. DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY The Burn of Columbia Valley. (a) Name. The name of the viticultural area described in this section is ‘‘The Burn of Columbia Valley’’. For purposes of part 4 of this chapter, ‘‘The Burn of Columbia Valley’’ is a term of viticultural significance. (b) Approved maps. The four United States Geological Survey (USGS) 1:24,000 scale topographic maps used to determine the boundary of The Burn of Columbia Valley viticultural area are titled: (1) Sundale NW, OR–WA, 2017; (2) Goodnoe Hills, WA, 2017; (3) Dot, WA, 2017; and (4) Sundale, WA–OR, 2017. (c) Boundary. The Burn of Columbia Valley viticultural area is located in Klickitat County in Washington. The boundary of The Burn of Columbia Valley viticultural area is as described below: (1) The beginning point is on the Sundale NW map, at the intersection of the Columbia River and the east shore of Paterson Slough. From the beginning point, proceed northerly along the east shore of Paterson Slough to its junction with Rock Creek, and continuing northeasterly along Rock Creek to its intersection with the boundary of the Yakima Nation Trust Land; then (2) Proceed south, then east, then generally northeasterly along the boundary of the Yakima Nation Trust Land, crossing onto the Goodnoe Hills map, to the intersection of the Trust Land boundary with Kelley Road; then (3) Proceed north in a straight line to the intersection with the main channel of Chapman Creek; then VerDate Sep<11>2014 21:02 May 26, 2020 Jkt 250001 Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau 27 CFR Part 9 [Docket No. TTB–2020–0004; Notice No. 189] RIN 1513–AC57 Proposed Establishment of the White Bluffs Viticultural Area Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, Treasury. ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking. AGENCY: The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) proposes to establish the 93,738-acre ‘‘White Bluffs’’ viticultural area in Franklin County, Washington. The proposed AVA is located entirely within the existing Columbia Valley AVA. 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. TTB invites comments on these proposals. DATES: TTB must receive your comments on or before July 27, 2020. ADDRESSES: You may electronically submit comments to TTB on this proposal, and view copies of this document, its supporting materials, and any comments TTB receives on it within Docket No. TTB–2020–0004 as posted on Regulations.gov (https:// www.regulations.gov), the Federal erulemaking portal. Please see the ‘‘Public Participation’’ section of this SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00015 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 31723 document below for full details on how to comment on this proposal via Regulations.gov, U.S. mail, or hand delivery, and for full details on how to view or obtain copies of this document, its supporting materials, and any comments related to this proposal. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Karen A. Thornton, Regulations and Rulings Division, Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, 1310 G Street NW, Box 12, Washington, DC 20005; 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 and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) administers the FAA Act pursuant to section 1111(d) of the Homeland Security Act of 2002, codified at 6 U.S.C. 531(d). The Secretary has delegated various authorities through Treasury Order 120– 01, dated December 10, 2013 (superseding Treasury Order 120–01, dated January 24, 2003), to the TTB Administrator to perform the functions and duties in the administration and enforcement of these provisions. Part 4 of the TTB regulations (27 CFR part 4) authorizes TTB to establish definitive viticultural areas and regulate 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 (AVAs) and lists the approved AVAs. 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 E:\FR\FM\27MYP1.SGM 27MYP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 102 (Wednesday, May 27, 2020)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 31718-31723]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-10921]


=======================================================================
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY

Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau

27 CFR Part 9

[Docket No. TTB-2020-0005; Notice No. 190]
RIN 1513-AC60


Proposed Establishment of The Burn of Columbia Valley 
Viticultural Area

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

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking.

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

SUMMARY: The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) proposes to 
establish the 16,870-acre ``The Burn of Columbia Valley'' viticultural 
area in Klickitat County, Washington. The proposed AVA is located 
entirely within the existing Columbia Valley AVA. 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. TTB invites comments on this proposed addition to its 
regulations.

DATES: TTB must receive your comments on or before July 27, 2020.

ADDRESSES: You may electronically submit comments to TTB on this 
proposal, and view copies of this document, its supporting materials, 
and any comments TTB receives on it within Docket No. TTB-2020-0005 as 
posted on Regulations.gov (https://www.regulations.gov), the Federal e-
rulemaking portal. Please see the ``Public Participation'' section of 
this document below for full details on how to comment on this proposal 
via Regulations.gov, U.S. mail, or hand delivery, and for full details 
on how to view or obtain copies of this document, its supporting 
materials, and any comments related to this proposal.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Karen A. Thornton, Regulations and 
Rulings Division, Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, 1310 G 
Street NW, Box 12, Washington, DC 20005; 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 and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) administers the FAA Act 
pursuant to section 1111(d) of the Homeland Security Act of 2002, 
codified at 6 U.S.C. 531(d). The Secretary has delegated the functions 
and duties in the administration and enforcement of these provisions to 
the TTB Administrator through Treasury Order 120-01, dated December 10, 
2013 (superseding Treasury Order 120-01, dated January 24, 2003).
    Part 4 of the TTB regulations (27 CFR part 4) authorizes TTB to 
establish definitive viticultural areas and regulate 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 (AVAs) and 
lists the approved AVAs.

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 the 
wine's geographic origin. The establishment of AVAs allows vintners to 
describe more accurately the origin of their wines to consumers and 
helps consumers to identify wines they may purchase. Establishment of 
an AVA 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 (27 CFR 4.25(e)(2)) 
outlines the procedure for proposing an AVA and provides that any 
interested party may petition TTB to establish a grape-growing region 
as an AVA. Section 9.12 of the TTB regulations (27 CFR 9.12) prescribes 
standards for petitions for the establishment or modification of AVAs. 
Petitions to establish an AVA must include the following:
     Evidence that the area within the proposed AVA boundary is 
nationally or locally known by the AVA name specified in the petition;
     An explanation of the basis for defining the boundary of 
the proposed AVA;
     A narrative description of the features of the proposed 
AVA that affect viticulture, such as climate, geology, soils, physical 
features, and elevation, that make the proposed AVA distinctive and 
distinguish it from adjacent areas outside the proposed AVA boundary;
     The appropriate United States Geological Survey (USGS) 
map(s) showing the location of the proposed AVA, with the boundary of 
the proposed AVA clearly drawn thereon;
     If the proposed AVA is to be established within, or 
overlapping, an existing AVA, an explanation that both identifies the 
attributes of the proposed AVA that are consistent with the existing 
AVA and explains how the proposed AVA is sufficiently distinct from the 
existing AVA and therefore

[[Page 31719]]

appropriate for separate recognition; and
     A detailed narrative description of the proposed AVA 
boundary based on USGS map markings.

Petition To Establish The Burn of Columbia Valley AVA

    TTB received a petition from Kevin Corliss, Vice President of 
Vineyards for Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, Joan R. Davenport, Professor 
of Soil Sciences at Washington State University, and John Derrick, Vice 
President of Operations for Mercer Ranches, Inc., proposing to 
establish ``The Burn of Columbia Valley'' AVA. The proposed AVA is 
located in Klickitat County, Washington, and is entirely within the 
existing Columbia Valley AVA (27 CFR 9.74). Within the 16,870-acre 
proposed AVA, there are three (3) commercial vineyards which cover a 
total of approximately 1,261 acres and are owned by two different 
entities. The petition was originally submitted under the name ``The 
Burn,'' but the petitioners later requested to change the name to the 
more geographically specific ``The Burn of Columbia Valley.'' The 
distinguishing features of the proposed The Burn of Columbia Valley AVA 
are its soils, climate, and topography.

Proposed The Burn of Columbia Valley AVA

Name Evidence

    According to an excerpt from History of Klickitat County \1\ that 
was included in the petition, the origin of the name ``The Burn'' is 
uncertain. One theory is that the Native Americans in the region would 
burn the prairie grasses in order to discourage or frighten away 
settlers, while another theory is that the Native Americans regularly 
burned the area to insure adequate grass for their horses in the 
spring. A third explanation is that the dry east winds that blow 
through the region leave the farmers' wheat fields burned and 
shriveled. Regardless of the derivation of the name, the petition 
states that the region of the proposed AVA has been referred to as 
``The Burn'' since at least the early 1900's, when mail destined for 
the area carried the designation ``The Burn.''
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ May, Peter. History of Klickitat County. Goldendale, WA: 
Klickitat Historical Society, 1982, p. 92.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The petition included evidence that the name ``The Burn'' continues 
to be used to describe the region of the proposed AVA into modern 
times. For example, the 1965 Goodnoe Hills and the 1971 Sundale, NW. 
U.S.G.S. topographic maps both label the region of the proposed AVA as 
``The Burn.'' Although the current paper U.S.G.S. topographic maps do 
not label the region of the proposed AVA, the petition did include a 
screen shot of the current U.S.G.S. online National Map \2\ which shows 
the region between Rock Creek and Chapman Creek labeled as ``The 
Burn.'' The National Map also shows a road named ``Burn Road'' running 
through the region of the proposed AVA. In an email to TTB, one of the 
petitioners states that, based on her knowledge of the history of the 
region, the road derives its name from the common name for the region. 
The petition also included a page from a high school biology website 
that shows a photo of wildflowers growing ``in an area of south-central 
Klickitat County known as The Burn.'' \3\ Finally, another web page 
included in the petition provides general information about Klickitat 
County and lists ``The Burn'' as an area within the county.\4\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \2\ https://viewer.nationalmap.gov/advanced-viewer.
    \3\ http://science.halleyhosting.com/nature/bloomtime/egorge/11/19.html.
    \4\ http://www.us-places.com/Washington/Klickitat-County.htm.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Boundary Evidence

    The proposed The Burn of Columbia Valley AVA is a roughly 
triangular region of gently sloping land in the southwestern portion of 
the established Columbia Valley AVA. The northern bank of the Columbia 
River forms the southern boundary of the proposed AVA (the base of the 
triangle) and separates the proposed AVA from the flatter terrain 
across the river in Oregon. The western boundary (the left edge of the 
triangle) follows Paterson Slough, Rock Creek, and the boundary of the 
trust lands held by the Yakima Nation. The petition states that the 
trust lands were not included in the proposed AVA due to their steeper 
slope angles and because tribal lands are excluded from commercial wine 
grape production. The eastern boundary of the proposed AVA (the right 
edge of the triangle) largely follows the bed of Chapman Creek and 
separates the proposed AVA from steeper regions with higher elevations.

Distinguishing Features

    According to the petition, the distinguishing features of the 
proposed The Burn of Columbia Valley AVA are its soils, climate, and 
topography.
Soils
    The petition states that there are 32 soil series found within the 
proposed The Burn of Columbia Valley AVA, although approximately 80 
percent of the soils within the proposed AVA are derived from only 9 
soil series or complexes. The following table lists the nine most 
commonly found soils within the proposed AVA, along with the percentage 
of the total soils each series or complex comprises.

             Table 1--Most Common Soils of the Proposed AVA
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                           Percentage of
                Soil series/complex name                    total soils
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Walla Walla silt loam (without cemented substratum).....           30.16
Rock outcrop-Haploxeroll complex........................           13.57
Haploxeroll-Fluvaquent complex..........................            8.37
Fluventic Haploxeroll-Riverwash complex.................            6.51
Rock outcrop Rubble and complex.........................            6.08
Wato silt loam..........................................            4.85
Walla Walla silt loam (with cemented substratum)........            4.07
Endicott silt loam......................................            3.73
Endicott-Moxee complex..................................            2.55
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    According to the petition, the silty loam soils that comprise the 
majority of the proposed The Burn of Columbia Valley AVA have a good 
plant-available water holding capacity. Such soils are capable of 
delivering sufficient water to the vines during the growing season. The 
higher water holding capacity of the soils also means that vines which 
have been irrigated post-harvest will have adequate access to water 
through the winter and thus will have a reduced risk of frost or freeze 
injury to the roots. Finally, the petition states that the silty loam 
soils of the proposed AVA are in the taxonomic order Mollisols, which 
means they are relatively high in organic matter and can provide 
adequate nutrients to the vines, particularly nitrogen.
    The soils of the region due west of the proposed The Burn of 
Columbia Valley AVA are the most similar to the soils of the proposed 
AVA, with Walla Walla silt loam without cemented substratum comprising 
41.55 percent of the soils. However, 24.27 percent of the soils found 
in the region to the west are not found within the proposed AVA, 
including the Cheviot-Tronsen complex, the Goodnoe-Swalecreek-Horseflat 
complex, and Asotin silt loam. To the east and northeast of the 
proposed AVA, only 8.39 percent of the land contains the 9 types of 
soil that dominate the proposed AVA. Instead, the region contains 
sizeable amounts of soil that are not present within the proposed AVA, 
including the Renslow-Ralls-Wipple complex, Van Nostern silt

[[Page 31720]]

loam, and Van Nostern-Bakeoven complex. To the south of the proposed 
AVA, only 14.60 percent of the soils are from the 9 series and 
complexes that are most prevalent within the proposed AVA. Soils 
present in the region to the south which are not present within the 
proposed AVA include Ritzville silt loam, Willis silt loam, and Roloff-
Rock outcrop complex. To the northwest of the proposed AVA, the 9 soils 
that dominate the proposed AVA cover only 12.54 percent of the region. 
Soils found in the region but not in the proposed AVA include Colockum-
Cheviot complex, Swalecreek-Rockly complex, and Goldendale silt loam.
Climate
    The proposed The Burn of Columbia Valley AVA petition included 
information on the climate of the proposed AVA, including growing 
degree day \5\ (GDD) accumulations and precipitation amounts. The 
climate information was developed from the weather records from 1981-
2010 from the Western Regional Climate Center.\6\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \5\ See Albert J. Winkler et al., General Viticulture (Berkeley: 
University of California Press, 2nd. ed. 1974), pages 61-64. In the 
Winkler scale, the GDD regions are defined as follows: Region I = 
less than 2,500 GDDs; Region II = 2,501-3,000 GDDs; Region III = 
3,001-3,500 GDDs; Region IV = 3,501-4,000 GDDs; Region V = greater 
than 4,000 GDDs.
    \6\ https://wrcc.dri.edu.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The petition included information on the minimum, maximum, and 
average annual GDD accumulations for the proposed AVA and the 
surrounding regions for the period of record. The GDD information is 
compiled in the following table.

                                        Table 2--Annual GDD Accumulations
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                             Region                                   Average         Minimum         Maximum
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Proposed AVA....................................................           2,763           2,405           3,249
East-northeast..................................................           2,414           1,723           3,298
South...........................................................           2,768           2,464           3,305
West............................................................           2,570           1,766           3,191
Northwest.......................................................           2,178           1,570           2,995
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The proposed AVA has higher average and minimum GDD accumulations 
than each of the surrounding regions except the region to the south, 
and a maximum GDD accumulation that is greater than two of the 
surrounding regions. The petition states that the higher average GDD 
accumulations within the proposed AVA indicate a climate that is warmer 
than most of the surrounding regions. The petition shows that GDD 
accumulations within the proposed AVA favor the production of grape 
varietals that have higher heat unit requirements, including Cabernet 
Sauvignon and Syrah, which are the two most commonly grown grape 
varietals in the proposed AVA.
    The petition included information on the minimum, maximum, and 
average annual precipitation amounts for the proposed AVA and the 
surrounding regions for the period of record. The precipitation 
information is compiled in the following table.

                                 Table 3--Annual Precipitation Amounts in Inches
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                             Region                                   Average         Minimum         Maximum
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Proposed AVA....................................................            8.76            6.65           10.44
East-northeast..................................................           10.23            6.80           11.63
South...........................................................            9.39            6.67           10.38
West............................................................            9.81            7.03           12.53
Northwest.......................................................           11.58           10.45           12.69
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The proposed The Burn of Columbia Valley AVA has average, minimum, 
and maximum annual precipitation amounts that are lower than those of 
each of the surrounding regions, except that the region to the south 
has a lower maximum annual precipitation amount. The petition states 
that the low rainfall amounts mean that vineyards in the proposed AVA 
need supplemental irrigation. However, the petition notes that because 
of the high water holding capacity of the soils of the proposed AVA, 
vines remain adequately hydrated.
Topography
    The proposed AVA is located on gently sloping bench lands above the 
Columbia River. The average slope angle within the proposed AVA is 7.27 
percent. The proposed AVA has a large contiguous expanse of land with 
easterly, southeasterly, and southern aspects. The petition also 
provided information about the average, maximum, and minimum elevations 
of the proposed AVA and the surrounding regions. However, the petition 
did not adequately describe the specific effects of elevation on 
viticulture, so TTB cannot consider elevation to be a distinguishing 
topographic feature of the proposed AVA.
    When compared to the proposed AVA, each of the surrounding regions 
has higher average slope angles with the exception of the region to the 
south, which has a lower average slope angle. The regions to the west 
and northwest of the proposed AVA have predominately southerly aspects. 
The petition states that the regions to the south and east-northeast 
have predominately southeasterly aspects, similar to those of the 
proposed AVA. However, the petition states that the proposed AVA has a 
larger contiguous region with a southeasterly aspect.
    The petition states that the gentle slopes of the proposed AVA are 
suitable for mechanical cultivation of vineyards, yet are steep enough 
to avoid the pooling of cold air that could damage grapes. The 
southeasterly aspect of the proposed AVA allows excellent sunlight 
exposure for vineyards.

Summary of Distinguishing Features

    The following table summarizes the distinguishing features of the 
proposed The Burn of Columbia Valley AVA and the surrounding regions.

[[Page 31721]]



                                   Table 4--Summary of Distinguishing Features
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
               Region                         Soils                    Climate                  Topography
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Proposed The Burn of Columbia        Silty loam soils        Average annual GDD           Gently sloping bench
 Valley AVA.                          including Walla Walla   accumulations of 2,763,      lands with average
                                      silt loam without       minimum annual GDD           slope angle of 7.27
                                      cemented substratum,    accumulations of 2,405,      percent and large
                                      relatively high         maximum annual GDD           contiguous expanse of
                                      organic material,       accumulations of 3,249;      land with easterly,
                                      high water holding      average annual               southeasterly, and
                                      capacity.               precipitation of 8.76        southern aspects.
                                                              inches, minimum annual
                                                              precipitation of 6.65
                                                              inches, and maximum annual
                                                              precipitation of 10.44
                                                              inches.
East-northeast.....................  Sizeable amount of      Lower average and minimum    Higher slope angles,
                                      soils that are not      annual GDD accumulation;     predominately
                                      present in proposed     Higher maximum annual GDD    southeasterly slope
                                      AVA.                    accumulations; Higher        aspects.
                                                              average, minimum, and
                                                              maximum annual
                                                              precipitation amounts.
South..............................  Sizeable amount of      Higher average, minimum,     Lower slope angles,
                                      soils that are not      and maximum annual GDD       predominately
                                      present in proposed     accumulations; Higher        southeasterly slope
                                      AVA.                    average and minimum annual   aspects.
                                                              precipitation amounts;
                                                              Lower maximum annual
                                                              precipitation amounts.
West...............................  Silty loam soils        Lower average, minimum, and  Higher slope angles,
                                      including Walla Walla   maximum annual GDD           predominately
                                      silt loam without       accumulations; Higher        southerly slope
                                      cemented substratum,    average, minimum, and        aspects.
                                      but with soils not      maximum annual
                                      found in proposed AVA.  precipitation amounts.
Northwest..........................  Sizeable amount of      Lower average, minimum, and  Higher slope angles,
                                      soils that are not      maximum annual GDD           predominately
                                      present in proposed     accumulations; Higher        southerly slope
                                      AVA.                    average, minimum, and        aspects.
                                                              maximum annual
                                                              precipitation amounts.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Comparison of the Proposed The Burn of Columbia Valley AVA to the 
Existing Columbia Valley AVA

    The Columbia Valley AVA was established by T.D. ATF-190, which was 
published in the Federal Register on November 13, 1984 (49 FR 44895). 
T.D. ATF-190 describes the Columbia Valley AVA as a large, treeless 
basin surrounding the Yakima, Snake, and Columbia Rivers. Growing 
Degree Day accumulations within the Columbia Valley AVA range from 
2,000 to 3,000, and annual precipitation amounts are between 6 and 22 
inches. Elevations within the Columbia Valley AVA are generally below 
2,000 feet.
    The proposed The Burn of Columbia Valley AVA shares some of the 
general viticultural features of the larger Columbia Valley AVA. For 
instance, the average annual rainfall amounts and elevation within the 
proposed AVA are within the range of those features for the Columbia 
Valley AVA. However, the proposed AVA can accumulate over 3,000 GDDs 
annually, indicating a climate that is slightly warmer than most of the 
rest of the Columbia Valley AVA. Additionally, because the proposed The 
Burn of Columbia Valley AVA is much smaller than the Columbia Valley 
AVA, the proposed AVA has a greater uniformity of characteristics 
within its boundaries.

TTB Determination

    TTB concludes that the petition to establish the 16,870-acre ``The 
Burn of Columbia Valley'' AVA merits consideration and public comment, 
as invited in this document.

Boundary Description

    See the narrative boundary descriptions of the petitioned-for AVA 
in the proposed regulatory text published at the end of this document.

Maps

    The petitioner provided the required maps, and they are listed 
below in the proposed regulatory text. You may also view the proposed 
The Burn of Columbia Valley AVA boundary on the AVA Map Explorer on the 
TTB website, at https://www.ttb.gov/wine/ava-map-explorer.

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. For a wine to be labeled with an AVA name or with a 
brand name that includes an AVA name, at least 85 percent of the wine 
must be derived from grapes grown within the area represented by that 
name, and the wine must meet the other conditions listed in Sec.  
4.25(e)(3) of the TTB regulations (27 CFR 4.25(e)(3)). If the wine is 
not eligible for labeling with an AVA name and that name 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 AVA name 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 an AVA name 
that was used as a brand name on a label approved before July 7, 1986. 
See Sec.  4.39(i)(2) of the TTB regulations (27 CFR 4.39(i)(2)) for 
details.
    If TTB establishes this proposed AVA, its name, ``The Burn of 
Columbia Valley,'' will be recognized as a name of viticultural 
significance under Sec.  4.39(i)(3) of the TTB regulations (27 CFR 
4.39(i)(3)). The text of the proposed regulation clarifies this point. 
Consequently, wine bottlers using ``The Burn of Columbia Valley'' in a 
brand name, including a trademark, or in another label reference as to 
the origin of the wine, would have to ensure that the product is 
eligible to use the viticultural area's name ``The Burn of Columbia 
Valley.'' TTB is not proposing to designate ``The Burn,'' standing 
alone, as a term of viticultural significance because the term ``The 
Burn'' is used to refer to multiple areas in the United States. 
Therefore, wine bottlers using ``The Burn,'' standing alone, in a brand 
name or in another label reference on their wines would not be affected 
by the establishment of this proposed AVA.

[[Page 31722]]

    The approval of the proposed The Burn of Columbia Valley AVA would 
not affect any existing AVA, and any bottlers using ``Columbia Valley'' 
as an appellation of origin in a brand name for wines made from grapes 
grown within the Columbia Valley AVA would not be affected by the 
establishment of this new AVA. The establishment of the proposed The 
Burn of Columbia Valley AVA would allow vintners to use ``The Burn of 
Columbia Valley'' or ``Columbia Valley'' as appellations of origin for 
wines made from grapes grown within the proposed AVA, if the wines meet 
the eligibility requirements for the appellation.

Public Participation

Comments Invited

    TTB invites comments from interested members of the public on 
whether TTB should establish the proposed The Burn of Columbia Valley 
AVA. TTB is interested in receiving comments on the sufficiency and 
accuracy of the name, boundary, topography, and other required 
information submitted in support of the AVA petition. In addition, 
because the proposed The Burn of Columbia Valley AVA would be within 
the existing Columbia Valley AVA, TTB is interested in comments on 
whether the evidence submitted in the petition regarding the 
distinguishing features of the proposed AVA sufficiently differentiates 
it from the existing AVA. TTB is also interested in comments on whether 
the geographic features of the proposed AVA are so distinguishable from 
the Columbia Valley AVA that the proposed The Burn of Columbia Valley 
AVA should no longer be part of the established AVA. Please provide any 
available specific information in support of your comments.
    Because of the potential impact of the establishment of the 
proposed The Burn of Columbia Valley AVA on wine labels that include 
the term ``The Burn of Columbia Valley'' as discussed above under 
Impact on Current Wine Labels, TTB is particularly interested in 
comments regarding whether there will be a conflict between the 
proposed area names and currently used brand names. If a commenter 
believes that a conflict will arise, the comment should describe the 
nature of that conflict, including any anticipated negative economic 
impact that approval of the proposed AVA will have on an existing 
viticultural enterprise. TTB is also interested in receiving 
suggestions for ways to avoid conflicts, for example, by adopting a 
modified or different name for the proposed AVA.

Submitting Comments

    You may submit comments on this proposal by using one of the 
following three methods:
     Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: You may send comments via the 
online comment form posted with this document within Docket No. TTB-
2020-0005 on ``Regulations.gov,'' the Federal e-rulemaking portal, at 
https://www.regulations.gov. A direct link to that docket is available 
under Notice No. 190 on the TTB website at https://www.ttb.gov/wine/wine-rulemaking.shtml. Supplemental files may be attached to comments 
submitted via Regulations.gov. For complete instructions on how to use 
Regulations.gov, visit the site and click on the ``Help'' tab at the 
top of the page.
     U.S. Mail: You may send comments via postal mail to the 
Director, Regulations and Rulings Division, Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and 
Trade Bureau, 1310 G Street, NW, Box 12, Washington, DC 20005.
     Hand Delivery/Courier: You may hand-carry your comments or 
have them hand-carried to the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, 
1310 G Street NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20005.
    Please submit your comments by the closing date shown above in this 
document. Your comments must reference Notice No. 190 and include your 
name and mailing address. Your comments also must be made in English, 
be legible, and be written in language acceptable for public 
disclosure. We do not acknowledge receipt of comments, and we consider 
all comments as originals.
    Your comment must clearly state if you are commenting on your own 
behalf or on behalf of an organization, business, or other entity. If 
you are commenting on behalf of an organization, business, or other 
entity, your comment must include the entity's name as well as your 
name and position title. If you comment via Regulations.gov, please 
enter the entity's name in the ``Organization'' blank of the online 
comment form. If you comment via postal mail, please submit your 
entity's comment on letterhead.
    You may also write to the Administrator before the comment closing 
date to ask for a public hearing. The Administrator reserves the right 
to determine whether to hold a public hearing.

Confidentiality

    All submitted comments and attachments are part of the public 
record and subject to disclosure. Do not enclose any material in your 
comments that you consider to be confidential or inappropriate for 
public disclosure.

Public Disclosure

    TTB will post, and you may view, copies of this document, selected 
supporting materials, and any online or mailed comments received about 
this proposal within Docket No. TTB-2020-0005 on the Federal e-
rulemaking portal, Regulations.gov, at https://www.regulations.gov. A 
direct link to that docket is available on the TTB website at https://www.ttb.gov/wine/wine-rulemaking.shtml under Notice No. 190. You may 
also reach the relevant docket through the Regulations.gov search page 
at https://www.regulations.gov. For instructions on how to use 
Regulations.gov, visit the site and click on the ``Help'' tab at the 
top of the page.
    All posted comments will display the commenter's name, organization 
(if any), city, and State, and, in the case of mailed comments, all 
address information, including email addresses. TTB may omit voluminous 
attachments or material that it considers unsuitable for posting.
    You also may view copies of this document, all related petitions, 
maps and other supporting materials, and any electronic or mailed 
comments we receive about this proposal by appointment at the TTB 
Public Reading Room, 1310 G Street, NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 
20005. You may also obtain copies at 20 cents per 8.5- x 11-inch page. 
Contact TTB's Regulations and Rulings Division at the above address, by 
email using the web form at https://www.ttb.gov/contact-rrd, or by 
telephone at 202-453-1039, ext. 175, to schedule an appointment or to 
request copies of comments or other materials.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    TTB certifies that this proposed regulation, if adopted, would not 
have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities. The proposed 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

    It has been determined that this proposed rule is not a significant 
regulatory action as defined by

[[Page 31723]]

Executive Order 12866. Therefore, no regulatory assessment is required.

Drafting Information

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

List of Subjects in 27 CFR Part 9

    Wine.

Proposed Regulatory Amendment

    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, we propose to amend 
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. Add Sec.  9.__to read as follows:


Sec.  9.__  The Burn of Columbia Valley.

    (a) Name. The name of the viticultural area described in this 
section is ``The Burn of Columbia Valley''. For purposes of part 4 of 
this chapter, ``The Burn of Columbia Valley'' is a term of viticultural 
significance.
    (b) Approved maps. The four United States Geological Survey (USGS) 
1:24,000 scale topographic maps used to determine the boundary of The 
Burn of Columbia Valley viticultural area are titled:
    (1) Sundale NW, OR-WA, 2017;
    (2) Goodnoe Hills, WA, 2017;
    (3) Dot, WA, 2017; and
    (4) Sundale, WA-OR, 2017.
    (c) Boundary. The Burn of Columbia Valley viticultural area is 
located in Klickitat County in Washington. The boundary of The Burn of 
Columbia Valley viticultural area is as described below:
    (1) The beginning point is on the Sundale NW map, at the 
intersection of the Columbia River and the east shore of Paterson 
Slough. From the beginning point, proceed northerly along the east 
shore of Paterson Slough to its junction with Rock Creek, and 
continuing northeasterly along Rock Creek to its intersection with the 
boundary of the Yakima Nation Trust Land; then
    (2) Proceed south, then east, then generally northeasterly along 
the boundary of the Yakima Nation Trust Land, crossing onto the Goodnoe 
Hills map, to the intersection of the Trust Land boundary with Kelley 
Road; then
    (3) Proceed north in a straight line to the intersection with the 
main channel of Chapman Creek; then
    (4) Proceed southeasterly (downstream) along Chapman Creek, 
crossing over the Dot map and onto the Sundale map, to the intersection 
of Chapman Creek with its southernmost tributary; then
    (5) Proceed due east in a straight line to the creek running 
through Old Lady Canyon; then
    (6) Proceed southerly along the creek to its intersection with the 
northern shoreline of the Columbia River; then
    (7) Proceed westerly along the northern shoreline of the Columbia 
River, returning to the beginning point.

    Signed: March 31, 2020.
Mary G. Ryan,
Acting Administrator.
    Approved: May 13, 2020.
Timothy E. Skud,
Deputy Assistant Secretary (Tax, Trade, and Tariff Policy).
[FR Doc. 2020-10921 Filed 5-26-20; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4810-31-P