Proposed Establishment of the Tehachapi Mountains Viticultural Area, 38345-38350 [2020-13138]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 124 / Friday, June 26, 2020 / Proposed Rules Procedures’’ prior to any FAA final regulatory action. DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 71 Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau Airspace, Incorporation by reference, Navigation (air). 27 CFR Part 9 The Proposed Amendment [Docket No. TTB–2020–0006; Notice No. 191] In consideration of the foregoing, the Federal Aviation Administration proposes to amend 14 CFR part 71 as follows: PART 71—DESIGNATION OF CLASS A, B, C, D, AND E AIRSPACE AREAS; AIR TRAFFIC SERVICE ROUTES; AND REPORTING POINTS 1. The authority citation for part 71 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 49 U.S.C. 106(f), 106(g); 40103, 40113, 40120; E.O. 10854, 24 FR 9565, 3 CFR, 1959–1963 Comp., p. 389. § 71.1 [Amended] 2. The incorporation by reference in 14 CFR 71.1 of FAA Order 7400.11D, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, dated August 8, 2019, and effective September 15, 2019, is amended as follows: ■ Paragraph 6010(a) Airways. * * V–221 * Domestic VOR Federal * * [Amended] From Shelbyville, IN; Muncie, IN; Fort Wayne, IN; to INT Fort Wayne 016° and Goshen, IN, 092° radials. * * V–305 * * * [Amended] From El Dorado, AR; Little Rock, AR; Walnut Ridge, AR; Malden, MO; Cunningham, KY; to Pocket City, IN. From Brickyard, IN; INT Brickyard 038° and Kokomo, IN, 182° radials; to Kokomo. * * * * * Issued in Washington, DC, on June 18, 2020. Scott M. Rosenbloom, Acting Manager, Rules and Regulations Group. [FR Doc. 2020–13657 Filed 6–25–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–13–P RIN 1513–AC69 Proposed Establishment of the Tehachapi Mountains 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 approximately 58,000-acre ‘‘Tehachapi Mountains’’ viticultural area in Kern County, California. The proposed viticultural area is not located within, nor does it contain, any established 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. TTB invites comments on this proposed addition to its regulations. DATES: Comments must be received by August 25, 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–2020–0006 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: SUMMARY: Background on Viticultural Areas jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with PROPOSALS 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, VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:53 Jun 25, 2020 Jkt 250001 PO 00000 Frm 00008 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 38345 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 grapegrowing region as an AVA. Section 9.12 of the TTB regulations (27 CFR 9.12) prescribes the 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 E:\FR\FM\26JNP1.SGM 26JNP1 38346 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 124 / Friday, June 26, 2020 / Proposed Rules 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 affecting 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; • 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; and • A detailed narrative description of the proposed AVA boundary based on USGS map markings. jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with PROPOSALS Tehachapi Mountains Petition TTB received a petition from Julie Bell of Per la Vita, LLC, on behalf of local vineyard owners and winemakers, proposing the establishment of the ‘‘Tehachapi Mountains’’ AVA. The proposed Tehachapi Mountains AVA is located in Kern County, California, and is not within any established AVA. The proposed Tehachapi Mountains AVA contains approximately 58,000 acres and has 6 commercially-producing vineyards covering a total of 25 acres, as well as 1 winery. According to the petition, the distinguishing features of the proposed Tehachapi Mountains AVA include its topography and climate. Unless otherwise noted, all information and data pertaining to the proposed AVA contained in this document are from the petition for the proposed Tehachapi Mountains AVA and its supporting exhibits. Name Evidence The proposed Tehachapi Mountains AVA takes its name from a pass within the Tehachapi Mountains range, which partly lie within the proposed AVA. The Tehachapi Mountains are a smaller range of mountains within the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The petitioner states the ‘‘Tehachapi’’ name is unique to the area within the boundaries of the proposed AVA. Further, while the origin of ‘‘Tehachapi’’ is unknown, the petitioner notes nineteenth century texts show ‘‘Tehachapi’’ may derive from a Native American name for the pass within the Tehachapi Mountains and a creek draining from this pass. The petitioner originally proposed the name ‘‘Tehachapi,’’ which is the name of a town within the proposed AVA, but later requested changing the name to ‘‘Tehachapi Mountains’’ to avoid a VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:53 Jun 25, 2020 Jkt 250001 potential conflict with label holders using the name ‘‘Tehachapi’’ or the grape varietal ‘‘Tehachapi Clone’’ on their labels. Although there is a peak in the range called ‘‘Tehachapi Mountain,’’ the petitioner chose to the name the proposed AVA after the entire range because while parts of the range are within AVA, the peak called ‘‘Tehachapi Mountain’’ is not within the proposed AVA. The petition provided examples of the use of the words ‘‘Tehachapi,’’ ‘‘Tehachapi Mountain,’’ and ‘‘Tehachapi Mountains’’ to describe the region of the proposed AVA. The Tehachapi Mountains are clearly labeled on the USGS 30 x 60 minute series map titled ‘‘Tehachapi, CA,’’ as shown in Supplemental Exhibit B to the petition. The Tehachapi Mountains Birding Club is described as ‘‘the only club dedicated to local wildlife within the Tehachapi Mountains.’’ 1 The city of Tehachapi, which is within the proposed AVA, celebrates the Tehachapi Mountain Festival each year. The geologic feature called the Tehachapi Pass is located within the proposed AVA and provides passage through the mountain range. The California Department of Transportation’s project to improve rail lines within the region of the proposed AVA is called the Tehachapi Rail Improvement Project. Tehachapi Boulevard is a major road running through the proposed AVA. Finally, the proposed AVA is served by the Tehachapi Valley Healthcare District, the Tehachapi Unified School District, and the Tehachapi Municipal Airport. Boundary Evidence The proposed Tehachapi Mountains AVA roughly extends from the summit of Tehachapi Pass to the Tehachapi Valley, which includes the city of Tehachapi. The proposed boundary was drawn to separate the proposed AVA from the higher elevations farther within the Sierra Nevada Mountains range and from the lower elevations of the Mojave Desert and the San Joaquin Valley. The northern and southern boundaries follow a series of elevation contours and straight lines drawn between elevation contours that range from 4,200 to 5,400 feet in order to separate the proposed AVA from the higher elevations of the Piute Mountains (to the north) and the Tehachapi Mountains (to the south) that are inhospitable to grape growing. The eastern boundary follows a series of 1 http://www.tehachapinews.com/lifestyle/jonhammond-teaching-the-public-about-birds-andnature/article_9d41d885-8528-5bba-8def2f6b08809356.html. PO 00000 Frm 00009 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 roads to separate the proposed AVA from the lower elevations and warmer climate of the Mojave Desert. The western boundary generally follows the 3,600-foot elevation contour to separate the proposed AVA from the lower, warmer region of the San Joaquin Valley. Distinguishing Features The distinguishing features of the proposed Tehachapi Mountains AVA are its topography and climate. Topography The proposed Tehachapi Mountains AVA is situated at the summit of the southernmost pass in the Sierra Nevada mountain range. The petition describes the proposed AVA as a broad, saddleshaped region of mountain foot slopes, high valleys, and rolling hills. The proposed AVA has an east-west orientation, and the terrain at the east and west ends of the ‘‘saddle’’ rise to rugged hills before sharply falling away to lower elevations. However, these hills are not high enough to prevent warm air from the neighboring San Joaquin Valley and Mojave Desert from entering the proposed AVA. Slope angles within the proposed Tehachapi Mountains AVA average between 3 and 11 degrees. Elevations are between 3,600 and 5,400 feet, with the majority of the area situated between 3,800 and 4,600 feet. To the north of the proposed AVA are the steep, high, rugged slopes of the Piute Mountains. Slope angles in this region rise to over 30 degrees, and the mountain summits reach over 6,000 feet, with nearby Bear Mountain reaching 6,913 feet. To the east, the land falls away at slope angles over 30 degrees until it reaches the relatively flat valley floor of the Mojave Desert. Elevations to the east of the proposed AVA average 2,600 feet. To the south of the proposed AVA, slope angles are also over 30 degrees as the land rises to the summits of the Tehachapi Mountains, with elevations rising over 7,700 feet at the peak of Cummings Mountain. West of the proposed AVA, the terrain drops sharply at angles over 30 degrees to elevations below 500 feet near the city of Bakersfield in the San Joaquin Valley. The topography of the proposed AVA has an effect on viticulture. According to the petition, the proposed Tehachapi Mountains AVA’s location in a mountain pass allows for successful viticulture, even at high altitudes. The petition notes that wine grapes are generally grown below 3,000 feet within the United States and around the world, due to colder temperatures at higher elevations. However, prevailing west winds from the San Joaquin Valley and E:\FR\FM\26JNP1.SGM 26JNP1 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 124 / Friday, June 26, 2020 / Proposed Rules east winds off the Mojave Desert allow temperatures to be sufficiently warm within the proposed AVA for grapes to be grown at elevations over 4,000 feet. Also within the proposed AVA, gentle slope angles reduce the risk of erosion and allow cold air to drain away from vineyards. Finally, the petition notes that the intensity of sunlight, especially in the short ultraviolet wavelengths, increases with altitude. As a result, grapes growing at high altitudes within the proposed AVA are exposed to higher intensity ultraviolet light, which stimulates synthesis of phenolic molecules. These molecules allow grapes to develop deep colors and thick skins, which leads to more concentrated, tannic wines. Climate The petition states that the altitude at which wine grapes can be grown successfully is limited by events that can permanently damage or kill vines, such as spring and fall frost events and low winter temperatures. Vitis vinifera grapevines suffer permanent damage at temperatures below about 0 to ¥5 degrees Fahrenheit (F). The petition states that typical winter lows within the proposed Tehachapi Mountains AVA range from 35 to 26 degrees F. Further, the petitioner provided data from 2007 through 2016 showing that there was only one year where the minimum temperature within the proposed AVA dropped below 10 degrees F, and that for five other years the minimum temperature within the proposed AVA was 15 degrees F or 38347 more. However, the petition states that the number of hours per day spent at the maximum daily temperature is typically longer than the number of hours spent at the minimum daily temperature, as warmer winds from the Mojave Desert and San Joaquin Valley increase after dawn. As a result, vineyards in the proposed AVA have been able to fully ripen late season varietals such as zinfandel, syrah, and cabernet sauvignon. The petition included the following climate data from within the proposed AVA and locations to the west, east, north-northeast, and north-northwest of the proposed AVA. The data was collected between 2007 and 2016. Data was not available from stations due north, or to the south, of the proposed AVA. TABLE—AVERAGE CLIMATE DATA Weather station location (direction from proposed AVA) Elevation (in feet) Tehachapi (within) .......................................................... Bakersfield Airport (west) ............................................... Edwards Air Force Base (East) ..................................... Walker Pass (north-northeast) ....................................... Five Mile (north-northeast) ............................................. Johnsondale (north-northwest) ...................................... Hot Springs (north-northwest) ........................................ The proposed Tehachapi Mountains AVA has cooler temperatures, a shorter growing season, and fewer growing degree days than the Bakersfield location to the west, the Edwards Air Force Base location to the east, the Hot Springs station to the north-northwest, and the Five Mile station to the northnortheast. This is to be expected, since the proposed AVA is at higher elevations than all four of these locations. The proposed AVA has warmer temperatures, a longer growing season, and more growing degree days than the Johnsondale location to the north-northwest, which is at higher elevations and is also more sheltered from the warm air of both the San Joaquin Valley and the Mojave Desert. The petition states, however, that elevation alone does not explain the jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with PROPOSALS 2 Base 30 degrees F. Albert J. Winkler et al., General Viticulture (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2nd ed. 1974), pages 61–64. In the Winkler climate classification system, annual heat accumulation during the growing season, measured in annual GDDs, defines climatic regions. One GDD accumulates for each degree Fahrenheit that a day’s mean temperature is above 50 degrees F, the minimum temperature required for grapevine growth. 3 See VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:53 Jun 25, 2020 Jkt 250001 Lowest minimum temperature (degrees Fahrenheit) 4,220 489 2,283 5,572 4,150 4,700 3,720 Highest maximum temperature (degrees Fahrenheit) 8 25 3 10 18 -5 15 differences in temperature and growing degree day accumulations. Proximity to warm air from the Mojave Desert and, to a lesser extent, the San Joaquin Valley plays an important role. For example, the petition states that temperature generally falls as elevation rises. As the Walker Pass weather station, to the north-northeast of the AVA, is at significantly higher elevations than the proposed AVA, it should therefore have lower average temperatures than the proposed AVA, which would generally lead to a shorter growing season and fewer growing degree accumulations than the proposed AVA. However, because the Walker Pass station is on the eastern flank of a mountain range and is directly exposed to warm air rising from the Mojave Desert, it has warmer temperatures, a longer growing season, and greater growing degree accumulations than the proposed AVA. According to the petition, the proposed Tehachapi Mountains AVA’s proximity to the San Joaquin Valley and Mojave Desert affects viticulture. Winter temperatures are well above vine-killing temperatures, and the growing season length and growing degree day PO 00000 Frm 00010 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 101 112 128 106 109 104 109 Average length of growing season (days) 2 198 349 231 216 318 139 245 Average growing degree day accumulations 3 2,762 5,521 4,881 3,834 5,522 2,149 3,529 accumulations are sufficient to ripen late season varietals. Summary of Distinguishing Features In summary, the topography and climate of the proposed Tehachapi Mountains AVA distinguish it from the surrounding regions. The proposed AVA has lower elevations than the regions to the north and south, and higher elevations than the regions to the east and west. The proposed AVA has gentler slope angles than are found in each of the surrounding regions. The proposed AVA has warmer temperatures and a longer growing season than a higher, more isolated region to the north-northwest, and lower temperatures and a shorter growing season than lower-elevation regions to the east, west, north-northeast, and a region in the north-northwest. The proposed AVA is cooler and has a shorter growing season than Walker Pass to the north-northeast, which is at higher elevations but is more directly exposed to warm winds from the Mojave Desert. E:\FR\FM\26JNP1.SGM 26JNP1 38348 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 124 / Friday, June 26, 2020 / Proposed Rules TTB Determination Public Participation TTB concludes that the petition to establish the 58,000-acre Tehachapi Mountains AVA merits consideration and public comment, as invited in this notice of proposed rulemaking. Comments Invited TTB invites comments from interested members of the public on whether it should establish the proposed AVA. TTB is also interested in receiving comments on the sufficiency and accuracy of the name, boundary, soils, and other required information submitted in support of the petition. Please provide any available specific information in support of your comments. Because of the potential impact of the establishment of the proposed Tehachapi Mountains AVA on wine labels that include the term ‘‘Tehachapi Mountains’’ 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 AVA name 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 AVA. Boundary Description See the narrative description of the boundary of the petitioned-for AVA in the proposed regulatory text published at the end of this proposed rule. Maps The petitioner provided the required maps, and they are listed below in the proposed regulatory text. You may also view the proposed Tehachapi Mountains AVA boundary on the AVA Map Explorer on the TTB website, at https://www.ttb.gov/wine/ava-mapexplorer. jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with PROPOSALS 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, 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 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, ‘‘Tehachapi Mountains,’’ 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 name ‘‘Tehachapi Mountains’’ 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 AVA name as an appellation of origin if this proposed rule is adopted as a final rule. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:53 Jun 25, 2020 Jkt 250001 Submitting Comments You may submit comments on this notice by using one of the following methods: • Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: You may send comments via the online comment form posted with this notice within Docket No. TTB–2020–0006 on ‘‘Regulations.gov,’’ the Federal erulemaking portal, at https:// www.regulations.gov. A direct link to that docket is available under Notice No. 191 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. • 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. Please submit your comments by the closing date shown above in this notice. Your comments must reference Notice No. 191 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. TTB does not PO 00000 Frm 00011 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 acknowledge receipt of comments, and TTB considers all comments as originals. In your comment, please clearly state if you are commenting for yourself or on behalf of an association, business, or other entity. If you are commenting on behalf of an 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 or hand delivery/courier, 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 notice, selected supporting materials, and any online or mailed comments received about this proposal within Docket No. TTB–2020– 0006 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. 191. You may also reach the relevant docket through the Regulations.gov search page at https:// www.regulations.gov. For information on how to use Regulations.gov, click on the site’s ‘‘Help’’ tab. 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 the Bureau considers unsuitable for posting. You may also obtain copies of this proposed rule, all related petitions, maps and other supporting materials, and any electronic or mailed comments that TTB receives about this proposal at 20 cents per 8.5- x 11-inch page. Please note that TTB is unable to provide copies of USGS maps or any similarlysized documents that may be included as part of the AVA petition. Contact TTB’s Regulations and Rulings Division E:\FR\FM\26JNP1.SGM 26JNP1 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 124 / Friday, June 26, 2020 / Proposed Rules by email using the web form at https:// www.ttb.gov/contact-rrd, or by telephone at 202–453–1039, ext. 175, 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 Executive Order 12866 of September 30, 1993. Therefore, no regulatory assessment is required. Drafting Information Karen A. Thornton of the Regulations and Rulings Division drafted this notice of proposed rulemaking. List of Subjects in 27 CFR Part 9 Wine. Proposed Regulatory Amendment For the reasons discussed in the preamble, TTB proposes to amend 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.ll to read as follows: ■ jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with PROPOSALS § 9.ll Tehachapi Mountains. (a) Name. The name of the viticultural area described in this section is ‘‘Tehachapi Mountains’’. For purposes of part 4 of this chapter, ‘‘Tehachapi Mountains’’ is a term of viticultural significance. (b) Approved maps. The 8 United States Geological Survey (USGS) 1:24,000 scale topographic maps used to determine the boundary of the Tehachapi Mountains viticultural area are titled: (1) Bear Mountain, CA, 2015; VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:53 Jun 25, 2020 Jkt 250001 (2) Keene, CA, 2015; (3) Cummings Mountain, CA, 2015; (4) Tehachapi North, CA, 2015; (5) Tehachapi NE, CA, 2015; (6) Monolith, CA, 2015; (7) Tehachapi South, CA, 2015; and (8) Tejon Ranch, CA, 2015. (c) Boundary. The Tehachapi Mountains viticultural area is located in Kern County, California. The boundary of the Tehachapi Mountains viticultural area is as described below: (1) The beginning point is on the Bear Mountain map at the intersection of the 4,800-foot elevation contour and an unnamed road known locally as Skyline Drive. From the beginning point, proceed easterly along the 4,800-foot elevation contour, crossing onto the Keene map, to the intersection of the 4,800-foot elevation contour and Horizon Court; then (2) Proceed south along Horizon Court to its intersection with the 4,600-foot elevation contour; then (3) Proceed east, then north along the meandering 4,600-foot elevation contour to its intersection with Shenandoah Place; then (4) Proceed southeast in a straight line to the 4,400-foot elevation contour south of an unnamed road known locally as Big Sky Court; then (5) Proceed east, then north along the meandering 4,400-foot elevation contour to its intersection with Bear Valley Road; then (6) Proceed east in a straight line to the 4,600-foot elevation contour; then (7) Proceed southeasterly along the 4,600-foot elevation contour, crossing onto the Cummings Mountain map and continuing southeasterly, then northerly along the 4,600-foot elevation contour, crossing back onto the Keene map, and continuing northerly along the 4,600foot elevation contour to a point due west of the intersection of Marcel Drive and an unnamed road known locally as Woodford-Tehachapi Road; then (8) Proceed east in a straight line to the intersection of Woodford-Tehachapi Road and Marcel Drive; then (9) Proceed east in a straight line, crossing onto the Tehachapi North map and crossing Tehachapi Creek, to the 4,400-foot elevation contour northeast of the community of Cable, California; then (10) Proceed easterly along the 4,400foot elevation contour, crossing onto the Tehachapi NE map, and continuing southeasterly along the 4,400-foot elevation contour to a point due west of the terminus of Zephyr Court; then (11) Proceed east in a straight line to the terminus of Zephyr Court; then (12) Proceed east in a straight line to Sand Canyon Road; then PO 00000 Frm 00012 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 38349 (13) Proceed south along Sand Canyon Road, crossing onto the Monolith map, to its intersection with East Tehachapi Boulevard; then (14) Proceed southwesterly in a straight line, crossing the railroad tracks and State Route 58, to the 4,200-foot elevation contour; then (15) Proceed westerly along the 4,200foot elevation contour to its intersection with an unnamed intermittent creek; then (16) Proceed southwest in a straight line to the 4,400-foot elevation contour; then (17) Proceed west along the 4,400-foot elevation contour, crossing onto the Tehachapi South map, to its intersection with Tehachapi-Willow Springs Road; then (18) Proceed south along TehachapiWillow Springs Road to its intersection with the 4,520-foot elevation contour; then (19) Proceed west in a straight line to the intersection of the 4,840-foot elevation contour and Snowshoe Lane; then (20) Proceed north in a straight line to the 4,800-foot elevation contour; then (21) Proceed westerly along the 4,800foot elevation contour, crossing onto the Cummings Mountain map and over two unnamed intermittent streams, and continuing to the intersection of the 4,800-foot elevation contour and a third unnamed intermittent stream; then (22) Proceed south in a straight line to the 5,200-foot elevation contour; then (23) Proceed southerly along the 5,200-foot elevation contour to a point northeast of the southern terminus of Arosa Road; then (24) Proceed east in a straight line, crossing onto the Tehachapi South map and over an unnamed road known locally as Water Canyon Road, to the 5,400-foot elevation contour; then (25) Proceed southeasterly, then south, then southwesterly along the 5,400-foot elevation contour, crossing onto the Cummings Mountain map and continuing to the intersection of the 5,400-foot elevation contour with an unnamed road known locally as Matterhorn Drive; then (26) Proceed west in a straight line, crossing Mountain Climber Way, to the 4,600-foot elevation contour; then (27) Proceed westerly along the 4,600foot elevation contour to its intersection with High Gun Drive; then (28) Proceed south in a straight line to the second intersection of the line with the 5,000-foot elevation contour; then (29) Proceed west in a straight line, crossing onto the Tejon Ranch map, to the line’s intersection with an unnamed 4-wheel drive road; then E:\FR\FM\26JNP1.SGM 26JNP1 38350 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 124 / Friday, June 26, 2020 / Proposed Rules (30) Proceed northwesterly along the 4-wheel drive road to its intersection with the southern terminus of an unnamed road known locally as Carlisle Drive; then (31) Proceed southwesterly in a straight line to an unmarked 4,680-foot summit; then (32) Proceed north in a straight line to the 3,640-foot elevation contour; then (33) Proceed west in a straight line to the 3,600-foot elevation contour; then (34) Proceed west, then northwesterly along the 3,600-foot elevation contour to its intersection with an unnamed intermittent stream northwest of Jack Springs Road; then (35) Proceed northeast in a straight line, crossing onto the Bear Mountain map, and continuing to the intersection of the 4,800-foot elevation contour and an unnamed intermittent creek west of Rockspring Court; then (36) Proceed north along the 4,800foot elevation to a point due west of the intersection of the 4,800-foot point and an unnamed road known locally as Skyline Drive; then (37) Proceed east in a straight line to the beginning point. Signed: March 16, 2020. Mary G. Ryan, Acting Administrator. Approved: June 9, 2020. Timothy E. Skud, Deputy Assistant Secretary (Tax, Trade, and Tariff Policy). [FR Doc. 2020–13138 Filed 6–25–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4810–31–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 622 RIN 0648–BD32 Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Comprehensive Fishery Management Plans for Puerto Rico, St. Thomas and St. John, and St. Croix National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice of availability (NOA); request for comments. jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with PROPOSALS AGENCY: The Caribbean Fishery Management Council (Council) has submitted three fishery management plans (FMPs) for review, approval, and implementation by NMFS. If approved by the Secretary of Commerce, the new SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:53 Jun 25, 2020 Jkt 250001 FMPs (island-based FMPs) would replace the existing U.S. Caribbean-wide FMPs and transition the management of Federal fisheries in the U.S. Caribbean exclusive economic zone (EEZ) from a U.S. Caribbean-wide approach to an island-based approach. By developing island-based FMPs, NMFS and the Council would better account for differences among the U.S. Caribbean islands with respect to culture, markets, fishing gear used, seafood preferences, and ecological impacts. DATES: Written comments on the FMPs must be received by August 25, 2020. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on the FMPs, identified by ‘‘NOAA– NMFS–2019–0155’’, by either of the following methods: • Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Go to www.regulations.gov/ #!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-20190155, click the ‘‘Comment Now!’’ icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments. • Mail: Submit all written comments to Sarah Stephenson, NMFS Southeast Regional Office, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701. Instructions: Comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period may not be considered by NMFS. All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address, etc.), confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter ‘‘N/ A’’ in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous). Electronic copies of the FMPs may be obtained from www.regulations.gov or the Southeast Regional Office website at https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/ southeast/sustainable-fisheries/ sustainable-fisheries-caribbean. Each FMP includes an environmental assessment (EA), regulatory impact review, and fishery impact statement. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Marı´a del Mar Lo´pez, NMFS Southeast Regional Office, telephone: 727–824– 5305, or email: maria.lopez@noaa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) requires each regional fishery management council to submit any FMP or amendment to NMFS for review and approval, partial PO 00000 Frm 00013 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 approval, or disapproval. The Magnuson-Stevens Act also requires that NMFS, upon receiving an FMP or amendment, publish an announcement in the Federal Register notifying the public that the FMP or amendment is available for review and comment. The Council has submitted three FMPs for review, approval, and implementation by NMFS. The FMPs are the Comprehensive FMP for the Puerto Rico EEZ (Puerto Rico FMP), the Comprehensive FMP for the St. Thomas and St. John EEZ (St. Thomas and St. John FMP), and the Comprehensive FMP for the St. Croix EEZ (St. Croix FMP). If approved, the island-based FMPs would be implemented by NMFS through regulations at 50 CFR part 622 under the authority of the MagnusonStevens Act. Background Currently, the Council manages fisheries under its authority under four U.S. Caribbean-wide FMPs: the FMP for the Reef Fish Fishery of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) (Reef Fish FMP), the FMP for the Spiny Lobster Fishery of Puerto Rico and the USVI (Spiny Lobster FMP), the FMP for the Queen Conch Resources of Puerto Rico and the USVI (Queen Conch FMP), and the FMP for the Corals and Reef Associated Plants and Invertebrates of Puerto Rico and the USVI (Coral FMP) through regulations implemented by NMFS at 50 CFR part 622. NMFS implemented the Spiny Lobster FMP in 1984 (49 FR 50049, December 26, 1984), the Reef Fish FMP in 1985 (50 FR 34850, August 28, 1985), the Coral FMP in 1995 (60 FR 58221, November 27, 1995), and the Queen Conch FMP in 1996 (61 FR 65481, December 13, 1996). Each FMP has been amended on several occasions. Under these FMPs, the Council and NMFS manage fisheries across the entire U.S. Caribbean. However, the Council applies certain management measures separately within Federal waters of Puerto Rico, St. Thomas and St. John, and St. Croix based on the availability of island-specific data. For example, the final rule implementing Amendment 5 to the Reef Fish FMP and Amendment 2 to the Queen Conch FMP (2010 Caribbean Annual Catch Limit (ACL) Amendment) (76 FR 82404, December 30, 2011) defined the fishery management boundaries of the U.S. Caribbean EEZ for Puerto Rico, St. Thomas and St. John, and St. Croix, and established separate, island-specific ACLs and accountability measures (AM) for species addressed in those FMP amendments. E:\FR\FM\26JNP1.SGM 26JNP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 124 (Friday, June 26, 2020)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 38345-38350]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-13138]


=======================================================================
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DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY

Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau

27 CFR Part 9

[Docket No. TTB-2020-0006; Notice No. 191]
RIN 1513-AC69


Proposed Establishment of the Tehachapi Mountains 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 approximately 58,000-acre ``Tehachapi Mountains'' 
viticultural area in Kern County, California. The proposed viticultural 
area is not located within, nor does it contain, any established 
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. TTB invites comments on this 
proposed addition to its regulations.

DATES: Comments must be received by August 25, 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-2020-0006 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 
the 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

[[Page 38346]]

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 affecting 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;
     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; and
     A detailed narrative description of the proposed AVA 
boundary based on USGS map markings.

Tehachapi Mountains Petition

    TTB received a petition from Julie Bell of Per la Vita, LLC, on 
behalf of local vineyard owners and winemakers, proposing the 
establishment of the ``Tehachapi Mountains'' AVA. The proposed 
Tehachapi Mountains AVA is located in Kern County, California, and is 
not within any established AVA. The proposed Tehachapi Mountains AVA 
contains approximately 58,000 acres and has 6 commercially-producing 
vineyards covering a total of 25 acres, as well as 1 winery.
    According to the petition, the distinguishing features of the 
proposed Tehachapi Mountains AVA include its topography and climate. 
Unless otherwise noted, all information and data pertaining to the 
proposed AVA contained in this document are from the petition for the 
proposed Tehachapi Mountains AVA and its supporting exhibits.

Name Evidence

    The proposed Tehachapi Mountains AVA takes its name from a pass 
within the Tehachapi Mountains range, which partly lie within the 
proposed AVA. The Tehachapi Mountains are a smaller range of mountains 
within the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The petitioner states the 
``Tehachapi'' name is unique to the area within the boundaries of the 
proposed AVA. Further, while the origin of ``Tehachapi'' is unknown, 
the petitioner notes nineteenth century texts show ``Tehachapi'' may 
derive from a Native American name for the pass within the Tehachapi 
Mountains and a creek draining from this pass. The petitioner 
originally proposed the name ``Tehachapi,'' which is the name of a town 
within the proposed AVA, but later requested changing the name to 
``Tehachapi Mountains'' to avoid a potential conflict with label 
holders using the name ``Tehachapi'' or the grape varietal ``Tehachapi 
Clone'' on their labels. Although there is a peak in the range called 
``Tehachapi Mountain,'' the petitioner chose to the name the proposed 
AVA after the entire range because while parts of the range are within 
AVA, the peak called ``Tehachapi Mountain'' is not within the proposed 
AVA.
    The petition provided examples of the use of the words 
``Tehachapi,'' ``Tehachapi Mountain,'' and ``Tehachapi Mountains'' to 
describe the region of the proposed AVA. The Tehachapi Mountains are 
clearly labeled on the USGS 30 x 60 minute series map titled 
``Tehachapi, CA,'' as shown in Supplemental Exhibit B to the petition. 
The Tehachapi Mountains Birding Club is described as ``the only club 
dedicated to local wildlife within the Tehachapi Mountains.'' \1\ The 
city of Tehachapi, which is within the proposed AVA, celebrates the 
Tehachapi Mountain Festival each year. The geologic feature called the 
Tehachapi Pass is located within the proposed AVA and provides passage 
through the mountain range. The California Department of 
Transportation's project to improve rail lines within the region of the 
proposed AVA is called the Tehachapi Rail Improvement Project. 
Tehachapi Boulevard is a major road running through the proposed AVA. 
Finally, the proposed AVA is served by the Tehachapi Valley Healthcare 
District, the Tehachapi Unified School District, and the Tehachapi 
Municipal Airport.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ http://www.tehachapinews.com/lifestyle/jon-hammond-teaching-the-public-about-birds-and-nature/article_9d41d885-8528-5bba-8def-2f6b08809356.html.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Boundary Evidence

    The proposed Tehachapi Mountains AVA roughly extends from the 
summit of Tehachapi Pass to the Tehachapi Valley, which includes the 
city of Tehachapi. The proposed boundary was drawn to separate the 
proposed AVA from the higher elevations farther within the Sierra 
Nevada Mountains range and from the lower elevations of the Mojave 
Desert and the San Joaquin Valley. The northern and southern boundaries 
follow a series of elevation contours and straight lines drawn between 
elevation contours that range from 4,200 to 5,400 feet in order to 
separate the proposed AVA from the higher elevations of the Piute 
Mountains (to the north) and the Tehachapi Mountains (to the south) 
that are inhospitable to grape growing. The eastern boundary follows a 
series of roads to separate the proposed AVA from the lower elevations 
and warmer climate of the Mojave Desert. The western boundary generally 
follows the 3,600-foot elevation contour to separate the proposed AVA 
from the lower, warmer region of the San Joaquin Valley.

Distinguishing Features

    The distinguishing features of the proposed Tehachapi Mountains AVA 
are its topography and climate.
Topography
    The proposed Tehachapi Mountains AVA is situated at the summit of 
the southernmost pass in the Sierra Nevada mountain range. The petition 
describes the proposed AVA as a broad, saddle-shaped region of mountain 
foot slopes, high valleys, and rolling hills. The proposed AVA has an 
east-west orientation, and the terrain at the east and west ends of the 
``saddle'' rise to rugged hills before sharply falling away to lower 
elevations. However, these hills are not high enough to prevent warm 
air from the neighboring San Joaquin Valley and Mojave Desert from 
entering the proposed AVA. Slope angles within the proposed Tehachapi 
Mountains AVA average between 3 and 11 degrees. Elevations are between 
3,600 and 5,400 feet, with the majority of the area situated between 
3,800 and 4,600 feet.
    To the north of the proposed AVA are the steep, high, rugged slopes 
of the Piute Mountains. Slope angles in this region rise to over 30 
degrees, and the mountain summits reach over 6,000 feet, with nearby 
Bear Mountain reaching 6,913 feet. To the east, the land falls away at 
slope angles over 30 degrees until it reaches the relatively flat 
valley floor of the Mojave Desert. Elevations to the east of the 
proposed AVA average 2,600 feet. To the south of the proposed AVA, 
slope angles are also over 30 degrees as the land rises to the summits 
of the Tehachapi Mountains, with elevations rising over 7,700 feet at 
the peak of Cummings Mountain. West of the proposed AVA, the terrain 
drops sharply at angles over 30 degrees to elevations below 500 feet 
near the city of Bakersfield in the San Joaquin Valley.
    The topography of the proposed AVA has an effect on viticulture. 
According to the petition, the proposed Tehachapi Mountains AVA's 
location in a mountain pass allows for successful viticulture, even at 
high altitudes. The petition notes that wine grapes are generally grown 
below 3,000 feet within the United States and around the world, due to 
colder temperatures at higher elevations. However, prevailing west 
winds from the San Joaquin Valley and

[[Page 38347]]

east winds off the Mojave Desert allow temperatures to be sufficiently 
warm within the proposed AVA for grapes to be grown at elevations over 
4,000 feet. Also within the proposed AVA, gentle slope angles reduce 
the risk of erosion and allow cold air to drain away from vineyards. 
Finally, the petition notes that the intensity of sunlight, especially 
in the short ultraviolet wavelengths, increases with altitude. As a 
result, grapes growing at high altitudes within the proposed AVA are 
exposed to higher intensity ultraviolet light, which stimulates 
synthesis of phenolic molecules. These molecules allow grapes to 
develop deep colors and thick skins, which leads to more concentrated, 
tannic wines.
Climate
    The petition states that the altitude at which wine grapes can be 
grown successfully is limited by events that can permanently damage or 
kill vines, such as spring and fall frost events and low winter 
temperatures. Vitis vinifera grapevines suffer permanent damage at 
temperatures below about 0 to -5 degrees Fahrenheit (F). The petition 
states that typical winter lows within the proposed Tehachapi Mountains 
AVA range from 35 to 26 degrees F. Further, the petitioner provided 
data from 2007 through 2016 showing that there was only one year where 
the minimum temperature within the proposed AVA dropped below 10 
degrees F, and that for five other years the minimum temperature within 
the proposed AVA was 15 degrees F or more. However, the petition states 
that the number of hours per day spent at the maximum daily temperature 
is typically longer than the number of hours spent at the minimum daily 
temperature, as warmer winds from the Mojave Desert and San Joaquin 
Valley increase after dawn. As a result, vineyards in the proposed AVA 
have been able to fully ripen late season varietals such as zinfandel, 
syrah, and cabernet sauvignon.
    The petition included the following climate data from within the 
proposed AVA and locations to the west, east, north-northeast, and 
north-northwest of the proposed AVA. The data was collected between 
2007 and 2016. Data was not available from stations due north, or to 
the south, of the proposed AVA.

                                           Table--Average Climate Data
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                   Lowest          Highest         Average
                                                   minimum         maximum        length of     Average growing
   Weather station location    Elevation  (in    temperature     temperature       growing         degree day
(direction from proposed AVA)       feet)         (degrees        (degrees     season  (days)  accumulations \3\
                                                 Fahrenheit)     Fahrenheit)         \2\
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tehachapi (within)...........           4,220               8             101             198              2,762
Bakersfield Airport (west)...             489              25             112             349              5,521
Edwards Air Force Base (East)           2,283               3             128             231              4,881
Walker Pass (north-northeast)           5,572              10             106             216              3,834
Five Mile (north-northeast)..           4,150              18             109             318              5,522
Johnsondale (north-northwest)           4,700              -5             104             139              2,149
Hot Springs (north-northwest)           3,720              15             109             245              3,529
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The proposed Tehachapi Mountains AVA has cooler temperatures, a 
shorter growing season, and fewer growing degree days than the 
Bakersfield location to the west, the Edwards Air Force Base location 
to the east, the Hot Springs station to the north-northwest, and the 
Five Mile station to the north-northeast. This is to be expected, since 
the proposed AVA is at higher elevations than all four of these 
locations. The proposed AVA has warmer temperatures, a longer growing 
season, and more growing degree days than the Johnsondale location to 
the north-northwest, which is at higher elevations and is also more 
sheltered from the warm air of both the San Joaquin Valley and the 
Mojave Desert.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \2\ Base 30 degrees F.
    \3\ See Albert J. Winkler et al., General Viticulture (Berkeley: 
University of California Press, 2nd ed. 1974), pages 61-64. In the 
Winkler climate classification system, annual heat accumulation 
during the growing season, measured in annual GDDs, defines climatic 
regions. One GDD accumulates for each degree Fahrenheit that a day's 
mean temperature is above 50 degrees F, the minimum temperature 
required for grapevine growth.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The petition states, however, that elevation alone does not explain 
the differences in temperature and growing degree day accumulations. 
Proximity to warm air from the Mojave Desert and, to a lesser extent, 
the San Joaquin Valley plays an important role. For example, the 
petition states that temperature generally falls as elevation rises. As 
the Walker Pass weather station, to the north-northeast of the AVA, is 
at significantly higher elevations than the proposed AVA, it should 
therefore have lower average temperatures than the proposed AVA, which 
would generally lead to a shorter growing season and fewer growing 
degree accumulations than the proposed AVA. However, because the Walker 
Pass station is on the eastern flank of a mountain range and is 
directly exposed to warm air rising from the Mojave Desert, it has 
warmer temperatures, a longer growing season, and greater growing 
degree accumulations than the proposed AVA.
    According to the petition, the proposed Tehachapi Mountains AVA's 
proximity to the San Joaquin Valley and Mojave Desert affects 
viticulture. Winter temperatures are well above vine-killing 
temperatures, and the growing season length and growing degree day 
accumulations are sufficient to ripen late season varietals.

Summary of Distinguishing Features

    In summary, the topography and climate of the proposed Tehachapi 
Mountains AVA distinguish it from the surrounding regions. The proposed 
AVA has lower elevations than the regions to the north and south, and 
higher elevations than the regions to the east and west. The proposed 
AVA has gentler slope angles than are found in each of the surrounding 
regions. The proposed AVA has warmer temperatures and a longer growing 
season than a higher, more isolated region to the north-northwest, and 
lower temperatures and a shorter growing season than lower-elevation 
regions to the east, west, north-northeast, and a region in the north-
northwest. The proposed AVA is cooler and has a shorter growing season 
than Walker Pass to the north-northeast, which is at higher elevations 
but is more directly exposed to warm winds from the Mojave Desert.

[[Page 38348]]

TTB Determination

    TTB concludes that the petition to establish the 58,000-acre 
Tehachapi Mountains AVA merits consideration and public comment, as 
invited in this notice of proposed rulemaking.

Boundary Description

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

Maps

    The petitioner provided the required maps, and they are listed 
below in the proposed regulatory text. You may also view the proposed 
Tehachapi Mountains 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, 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, ``Tehachapi 
Mountains,'' 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 name ``Tehachapi Mountains'' 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 AVA name as an appellation of origin if this proposed rule is 
adopted as a final rule.

Public Participation

Comments Invited

    TTB invites comments from interested members of the public on 
whether it should establish the proposed AVA. TTB is also interested in 
receiving comments on the sufficiency and accuracy of the name, 
boundary, soils, and other required information submitted in support of 
the petition. Please provide any available specific information in 
support of your comments.
    Because of the potential impact of the establishment of the 
proposed Tehachapi Mountains AVA on wine labels that include the term 
``Tehachapi Mountains'' 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 AVA name 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 AVA.

Submitting Comments

    You may submit comments on this notice by using one of the 
following methods:
     Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: You may send comments via the 
online comment form posted with this notice within Docket No. TTB-2020-
0006 on ``Regulations.gov,'' the Federal e-rulemaking portal, at 
https://www.regulations.gov. A direct link to that docket is available 
under Notice No. 191 on the TTB website at https://www.ttb.gov/wine/wine_rulemaking.shtml">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.
     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.
    Please submit your comments by the closing date shown above in this 
notice. Your comments must reference Notice No. 191 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. TTB does not acknowledge receipt of comments, and TTB 
considers all comments as originals.
    In your comment, please clearly state if you are commenting for 
yourself or on behalf of an association, business, or other entity. If 
you are commenting on behalf of an 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 or hand delivery/courier, 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 notice, selected 
supporting materials, and any online or mailed comments received about 
this proposal within Docket No. TTB-2020-0006 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. 191. You may 
also reach the relevant docket through the Regulations.gov search page 
at https://www.regulations.gov. For information on how to use 
Regulations.gov, click on the site's ``Help'' tab.
    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 the Bureau considers unsuitable for 
posting.
    You may also obtain copies of this proposed rule, all related 
petitions, maps and other supporting materials, and any electronic or 
mailed comments that TTB receives about this proposal at 20 cents per 
8.5- x 11-inch page. Please note that TTB is unable to provide copies 
of USGS maps or any similarly-sized documents that may be included as 
part of the AVA petition. Contact TTB's Regulations and Rulings 
Division

[[Page 38349]]

by email using the web form at https://www.ttb.gov/contact-rrd, or by 
telephone at 202-453-1039, ext. 175, 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 Executive Order 12866 of September 30, 
1993. Therefore, no regulatory assessment is required.

Drafting Information

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

List of Subjects in 27 CFR Part 9

    Wine.

Proposed Regulatory Amendment

    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, TTB proposes 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. Subpart C is amended by adding Sec.  9.__ to read as follows:


Sec.  9.__  Tehachapi Mountains.

    (a) Name. The name of the viticultural area described in this 
section is ``Tehachapi Mountains''. For purposes of part 4 of this 
chapter, ``Tehachapi Mountains'' is a term of viticultural 
significance.
    (b) Approved maps. The 8 United States Geological Survey (USGS) 
1:24,000 scale topographic maps used to determine the boundary of the 
Tehachapi Mountains viticultural area are titled:
    (1) Bear Mountain, CA, 2015;
    (2) Keene, CA, 2015;
    (3) Cummings Mountain, CA, 2015;
    (4) Tehachapi North, CA, 2015;
    (5) Tehachapi NE, CA, 2015;
    (6) Monolith, CA, 2015;
    (7) Tehachapi South, CA, 2015; and
    (8) Tejon Ranch, CA, 2015.
    (c) Boundary. The Tehachapi Mountains viticultural area is located 
in Kern County, California. The boundary of the Tehachapi Mountains 
viticultural area is as described below:
    (1) The beginning point is on the Bear Mountain map at the 
intersection of the 4,800-foot elevation contour and an unnamed road 
known locally as Skyline Drive. From the beginning point, proceed 
easterly along the 4,800-foot elevation contour, crossing onto the 
Keene map, to the intersection of the 4,800-foot elevation contour and 
Horizon Court; then
    (2) Proceed south along Horizon Court to its intersection with the 
4,600-foot elevation contour; then
    (3) Proceed east, then north along the meandering 4,600-foot 
elevation contour to its intersection with Shenandoah Place; then
    (4) Proceed southeast in a straight line to the 4,400-foot 
elevation contour south of an unnamed road known locally as Big Sky 
Court; then
    (5) Proceed east, then north along the meandering 4,400-foot 
elevation contour to its intersection with Bear Valley Road; then
    (6) Proceed east in a straight line to the 4,600-foot elevation 
contour; then
    (7) Proceed southeasterly along the 4,600-foot elevation contour, 
crossing onto the Cummings Mountain map and continuing southeasterly, 
then northerly along the 4,600-foot elevation contour, crossing back 
onto the Keene map, and continuing northerly along the 4,600-foot 
elevation contour to a point due west of the intersection of Marcel 
Drive and an unnamed road known locally as Woodford-Tehachapi Road; 
then
    (8) Proceed east in a straight line to the intersection of 
Woodford-Tehachapi Road and Marcel Drive; then
    (9) Proceed east in a straight line, crossing onto the Tehachapi 
North map and crossing Tehachapi Creek, to the 4,400-foot elevation 
contour northeast of the community of Cable, California; then
    (10) Proceed easterly along the 4,400-foot elevation contour, 
crossing onto the Tehachapi NE map, and continuing southeasterly along 
the 4,400-foot elevation contour to a point due west of the terminus of 
Zephyr Court; then
    (11) Proceed east in a straight line to the terminus of Zephyr 
Court; then
    (12) Proceed east in a straight line to Sand Canyon Road; then
    (13) Proceed south along Sand Canyon Road, crossing onto the 
Monolith map, to its intersection with East Tehachapi Boulevard; then
    (14) Proceed southwesterly in a straight line, crossing the 
railroad tracks and State Route 58, to the 4,200-foot elevation 
contour; then
    (15) Proceed westerly along the 4,200-foot elevation contour to its 
intersection with an unnamed intermittent creek; then
    (16) Proceed southwest in a straight line to the 4,400-foot 
elevation contour; then
    (17) Proceed west along the 4,400-foot elevation contour, crossing 
onto the Tehachapi South map, to its intersection with Tehachapi-Willow 
Springs Road; then
    (18) Proceed south along Tehachapi-Willow Springs Road to its 
intersection with the 4,520-foot elevation contour; then
    (19) Proceed west in a straight line to the intersection of the 
4,840-foot elevation contour and Snowshoe Lane; then
    (20) Proceed north in a straight line to the 4,800-foot elevation 
contour; then
    (21) Proceed westerly along the 4,800-foot elevation contour, 
crossing onto the Cummings Mountain map and over two unnamed 
intermittent streams, and continuing to the intersection of the 4,800-
foot elevation contour and a third unnamed intermittent stream; then
    (22) Proceed south in a straight line to the 5,200-foot elevation 
contour; then
    (23) Proceed southerly along the 5,200-foot elevation contour to a 
point northeast of the southern terminus of Arosa Road; then
    (24) Proceed east in a straight line, crossing onto the Tehachapi 
South map and over an unnamed road known locally as Water Canyon Road, 
to the 5,400-foot elevation contour; then
    (25) Proceed southeasterly, then south, then southwesterly along 
the 5,400-foot elevation contour, crossing onto the Cummings Mountain 
map and continuing to the intersection of the 5,400-foot elevation 
contour with an unnamed road known locally as Matterhorn Drive; then
    (26) Proceed west in a straight line, crossing Mountain Climber 
Way, to the 4,600-foot elevation contour; then
    (27) Proceed westerly along the 4,600-foot elevation contour to its 
intersection with High Gun Drive; then
    (28) Proceed south in a straight line to the second intersection of 
the line with the 5,000-foot elevation contour; then
    (29) Proceed west in a straight line, crossing onto the Tejon Ranch 
map, to the line's intersection with an unnamed 4-wheel drive road; 
then

[[Page 38350]]

    (30) Proceed northwesterly along the 4-wheel drive road to its 
intersection with the southern terminus of an unnamed road known 
locally as Carlisle Drive; then
    (31) Proceed southwesterly in a straight line to an unmarked 4,680-
foot summit; then
    (32) Proceed north in a straight line to the 3,640-foot elevation 
contour; then
    (33) Proceed west in a straight line to the 3,600-foot elevation 
contour; then
    (34) Proceed west, then northwesterly along the 3,600-foot 
elevation contour to its intersection with an unnamed intermittent 
stream northwest of Jack Springs Road; then
    (35) Proceed northeast in a straight line, crossing onto the Bear 
Mountain map, and continuing to the intersection of the 4,800-foot 
elevation contour and an unnamed intermittent creek west of Rockspring 
Court; then
    (36) Proceed north along the 4,800-foot elevation to a point due 
west of the intersection of the 4,800-foot point and an unnamed road 
known locally as Skyline Drive; then
    (37) Proceed east in a straight line to the beginning point.

    Signed: March 16, 2020.
Mary G. Ryan,
Acting Administrator.

    Approved: June 9, 2020.
Timothy E. Skud,
Deputy Assistant Secretary (Tax, Trade, and Tariff Policy).
[FR Doc. 2020-13138 Filed 6-25-20; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4810-31-P