Establishment of the Tehachapi Mountains Viticultural Area, 73617-73620 [2020-25301]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 224 / Thursday, November 19, 2020 / Rules and Regulations (k) Material Incorporated by Reference (1) The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference (IBR) of the service information listed in this paragraph under 5 U.S.C. 552(a) and 1 CFR part 51. (2) You must use this service information as applicable to do the actions required by this AD, unless this AD specifies otherwise. (i) European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD 2020–0069, dated March 24, 2020. (ii) [Reserved] (3) For EASA AD 2020–0069, contact the EASA, Konrad-Adenauer-Ufer 3, 50668 Cologne, Germany; telephone +49 221 8999 000; email ADs@easa.europa.eu; internet www.easa.europa.eu. You may find this EASA AD on the EASA website at https:// ad.easa.europa.eu. (4) You may view this service information at the FAA, Office of the Regional Counsel, Southwest Region, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy., Room 6N–321, Fort Worth, TX 76177. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 817–222–5110. This material may be found in the AD docket on the internet at https://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA–2020–0685. (5) You may view this material that is incorporated by reference at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). For information on the availability of this material at NARA, email fedreg.legal@ nara.gov, or go to https://www.archives.gov/ federal-register/cfr/ibr-locations.html. Issued on November 4, 2020. Lance T. Gant, Director, Compliance & Airworthiness Division, Aircraft Certification Service. [FR Doc. 2020–25469 Filed 11–18–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–13–P DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau 27 CFR Part 9 [Docket No. TTB–2020–0006; T.D. TTB–164; Ref: Notice No. 191] RIN 1513–AC69 Establishment of the Tehachapi Mountains Viticultural Area Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, Treasury. ACTION: Final rule; Treasury decision. AGENCY: The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) establishes the approximately 58,000-acre ‘‘Tehachapi Mountains’’ viticultural area in Kern County, California. The Tehachapi Mountains viticultural area is not located within, nor does it contain, any established viticultural area. TTB designates viticultural areas to allow SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:24 Nov 18, 2020 Jkt 253001 vintners to better describe the origin of their wines and to allow consumers to better identify wines they may purchase. DATES: This final rule is effective December 21, 2020. 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 to TTB 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 PO 00000 Frm 00019 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 73617 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 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 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; 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 to establish the ‘‘Tehachapi Mountains’’ AVA. The proposed 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 approximately 25 acres, as well as 1 winery. The distinguishing features of the proposed Tehachapi Mountains AVA include its topography and climate. The proposed Tehachapi Mountains AVA is a broad, saddle-shaped region of mountain foot slopes, high valleys and rolling hills situated at the summit of the southernmost pass of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. The proposed AVA has an east-west orientation, and the terrain at the east and west ends of E:\FR\FM\19NOR1.SGM 19NOR1 73618 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 224 / Thursday, November 19, 2020 / Rules and Regulations the ‘‘saddle’’ rise sharply before falling away to the lower elevations of the San Joaquin Valley, to the west, and the Mojave Desert, to the east. Elevations within the proposed AVA range from 3,600 and 5,400 feet, with the majority of the area situated between 3,800 and 4,600 feet. Slope angles average between 3 and 11 degrees within the proposed AVA. According to the petition, the high altitude of the proposed AVA exposes grapes to higher intensity ultraviolet light, which stimulates synthesis of phenolic molecules and produces deep colors and thick skins. Additionally, the gentle slope angles reduce the risk of erosion and allow cold air to drain away from vineyards planted in the proposed AVA. The petition states that topography also affects the climate of the proposed Tehachapi Mountains AVA and allows for successful viticulture, even at such high elevation. The petition notes that wine grapes are generally grown at elevations below 3,000 feet in the United States and around the world, due to colder temperatures at higher elevations that can permanently damage or kill vines. However, the proposed AVA’s location within a mountain pass allows prevailing west winds from the San Joaquin Valley and east winds from the Mojave Desert to bring warm air from those regions into the proposed AVA. As a result, the proposed AVA has an average growing season of 198 days and accumulates an average of 2,762 growing degree days 1 (GDDs) annually, both of which are sufficient for ripening late season varietals such as syrah, zinfandel, and cabernet sauvignon. Warm air from the neighboring valleys also results in typical winter low temperatures within the proposed AVA that range from 35 to 26 degrees Fahrenheit. The petition notes that grapevines can suffer permanent damage at temperatures between 0 and ¥5 degrees Fahrenheit, so vines grown in the proposed AVA are not at risk from serious frost damage. The Tehachapi Mountains range continues to the south of the proposed AVA. Elevations rise to over 7,000 feet, and slope angles are over 30 degrees. To the north of the proposed Tehachapi Mountains AVA are the Piute Mountains, which have elevations of over 6,000 feet and also have slope 1 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. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:24 Nov 18, 2020 Jkt 253001 angles over 30 degrees. In portions of the northern region that are not exposed to the Mojave Desert or San Joaquin Valley, growing seasons are shorter and GDD accumulations are lower than within the proposed AVA. For example, to the north-northwest of the proposed AVA, the community of Johnsondale is at an elevation of 4,700 feet, has a growing season of 139 days, and accumulates an average of 2,149 GDDs. However, regions with more direct exposure to the desert or the valley can have longer growing seasons and greater GDD accumulations. For example, the community of Walker Pass, to the northnortheast of the proposed AVA at an elevation of 5,572 feet, is more exposed to the Mojave Desert than the proposed AVA and has an average growing season of 216 days and accumulates an average of 3,834 GDDs. To the east of the proposed Tehachapi Mountains AVA is the Mojave Desert, which has an average elevation of 2,600 feet. The growing season is longer than within the proposed AVA, averaging 231 days at Edwards Air Force Base. GDD accumulations are also much higher, averaging 4,881 annually. To the west of the proposed AVA is the San Joaquin Valley, where elevations drop below 500 feet near Bakersfield. The growing season length in Bakersfield averages 349 days, and an average annual GDD accumulation of 5,521. Vince Fong, U.S. Representative Kevin McCarthy, and local wine industry members. All of the comments supported the establishment of the proposed Tehachapi Mountains AVA. Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Comments Received TTB published Notice No. 191 in the Federal Register on June 26, 2020 (85 FR 38345), proposing to establish the Tehachapi Mountains AVA. In the notice, TTB summarized the evidence from the petition regarding the name, boundary, and distinguishing features for the proposed AVA. The notice also compared the distinguishing features of the proposed AVA to the surrounding areas. For a detailed description of the evidence relating to the name, boundary, and distinguishing features of the proposed AVA, and for a detailed comparison of the distinguishing features of the proposed AVA to the surrounding areas, see Notice No. 191. In Notice No. 191, TTB solicited comments on the accuracy of the name, boundary, and other required information submitted in support of the petition. The comment period closed August 25, 2020. In response to Notice No. 191, TTB received a total of eight comments. The commenters included the Tehachapi city manager, the Mayor of Tehachapi City and Tehachapi City Council, the Second District supervisor for Kern County, California State Assemblyman 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 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 27 CFR 4.39(i)(2) for details. With the establishment of the Tehachapi Mountains AVA, its name, ‘‘Tehachapi Mountains,’’ will be recognized as a name of viticultural significance under § 4.39(i)(3) of the PO 00000 Frm 00020 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 TTB Determination After careful review of the petition and the comments received in response to Notice No. 191, TTB finds that the evidence provided by the petitioner supports the establishment of the Tehachapi Mountains AVA. Accordingly, under the authority of the FAA Act, section 1111(d) of the Homeland Security Act of 2002, and parts 4 and 9 of the TTB regulations, TTB establishes the ‘‘Tehachapi Mountains’’ AVA in Kern County, California, effective 30 days from the publication date of this document. Boundary Description See the narrative description of the boundary of the Tehachapi Mountains AVA in the regulatory text published at the end of this final rule. Maps The petitioners provided the required maps, and they are listed below in the regulatory text. You may also view the Tehachapi Mountains AVA boundary on the AVA Map Explorer on the TTB website, at https://www.ttb.gov/wine/ ava-map-explorer. E:\FR\FM\19NOR1.SGM 19NOR1 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 224 / Thursday, November 19, 2020 / Rules and Regulations TTB regulations (27 CFR 4.39(i)(3)). The text of the regulations 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, will have to ensure that the product is eligible to use the AVA name as an appellation of origin. TTB is not designating ‘‘Tehachapi,’’ standing alone, as a term of viticultural significance if the proposed AVA is established, in order to avoid potential conflicts with current label holders who use the word ‘‘Tehachapi’’ in a brand name or a fanciful name on their labels. Accordingly, the proposed part 9 regulatory text set forth in this document specifies only the full name ‘‘Tehachapi Mountains’’ as a term of viticultural significance for purposes of part 4 of the TTB regulations. Regulatory Flexibility Act TTB certifies that this regulation will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The regulation imposes no new reporting, recordkeeping, or other administrative requirement. Any benefit derived from the use of an AVA 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 final 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 final rule. List of Subjects in 27 CFR Part 9 Wine. The Regulatory Amendment For the reasons discussed in the preamble, TTB amends title 27, chapter I, part 9, Code of Federal Regulations, as follows: PART 9—AMERICAN VITICULTURAL AREAS 1. The authority citation for part 9 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 27 U.S.C. 205. Subpart C—Approved American Viticultural Areas 2. Subpart C is amended by adding § 9.273 to read as follows: ■ VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:24 Nov 18, 2020 Jkt 253001 § 9.273 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 eight 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 4,600foot 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 PO 00000 Frm 00021 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 73619 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 (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 E:\FR\FM\19NOR1.SGM 19NOR1 73620 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 224 / Thursday, November 19, 2020 / Rules and Regulations (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 (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 elevation point and an unnamed road known locally as Skyline Drive; then (37) Proceed east in a straight line to the beginning point. Signed: October 26, 2020. Mary G. Ryan, Administrator. Approved: November 9, 2020. Timothy E. Skud, Deputy Assistant Secretary (Tax, Trade, and Tariff Policy). [FR Doc. 2020–25301 Filed 11–18–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4810–31–P DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Forest Service 36 CFR Part 220 RIN 0596–AD31 National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Compliance Forest Service, USDA. Final rule. AGENCY: ACTION: The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service (Agency) is SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:24 Nov 18, 2020 Jkt 253001 adopting a final rule amending its National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulations. The final rule establishes new and revised categorical exclusions (pertaining to certain special use authorizations, infrastructure management activities, and restoration and resilience activities) and adds the determination of NEPA adequacy provision to the Agency’s NEPA regulations. These amendments will increase efficiency in the Agency’s environmental analysis and decisionmaking while meeting NEPA’s requirements and fully honoring the Agency’s environmental stewardship responsibilities. Public comment has informed and improved the final rule. DATES: This rule is effective November 19, 2020. ADDRESSES: Additional information is available online at https:// www.fs.fed.us/emc/nepa/revisions/ index.shtml. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Christine Dawe; Director, Ecosystem Management Coordination; 406–370– 8865. Individuals who use telecommunication devices for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1–800–877–8339 between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background The mission of the Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the Nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) has twin goals of requiring Federal agencies (1) to consider the significant environmental impacts of their proposed actions and (2) to inform the public that environmental concerns were considered in the decision-making process. These goals are not only complementary to the Agency’s mission, but such informed decision-making is essential to its achievement. The Agency devotes considerable financial and personnel resources to NEPA analyses and documentation, completing on average 1,588 categorical exclusion (CE) determinations, 266 environmental assessments (EAs), and 39 environmental impact statements (EISs) annually (based on Fiscal Years 2014–2019). The Agency is amending its NEPA regulations as described in this final rule to make more efficient use of those resources to fulfill NEPA’s requirements and, in turn, its mission. The final rule is consistent with the Council on Environmental Quality’s PO 00000 Frm 00022 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 (CEQ’s) intent to ensure that Federal agencies conduct environmental reviews in a coordinated, consistent, predictable, and timely manner, and to reduce unnecessary burdens and delays (40 CFR 1500.1). An increasing percentage of the Agency’s resources have been spent each year to provide for wildfire suppression, resulting in fewer resources available for other management activities, such as restoration. In 1995, wildland fire management funding made up 16 percent of the Forest Service’s annual spending, compared to 57 percent in 2018. Along with a shift in funding, there has also been a corresponding shift in staff from non-fire to fire programs, with a 39 percent reduction in all non-fire personnel since 1995. The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018 (2018 Omnibus Bill) included new budget authority for fighting wildfires, in addition to regular appropriations. While this budget stability is welcome, the trends discussed above make it imperative that the Agency makes the most efficient use of available funding and resources consistent with its statutory authorities to fulfill its environmental analysis and decision-making responsibilities. On January 3, 2018, the Agency published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) (83 FR 302) announcing its intent to revise its NEPA procedures with the goal of increasing the efficiency of environmental analysis. The Agency received 34,674 comments in response to the ANPR, of which 1,229 were unique. Most of the unique comments expressed support for the Agency’s effort to identify efficiencies in the NEPA process. The unique comments in support of the ANPR all generally acknowledged that there is room for increased efficiency in the Agency’s NEPA process. Some of these comments expressed unqualified support for increasing efficiency; other comments supported the Agency’s goals but included caveats that these gains should not come at a cost to public involvement or conservation of natural resources. On June 13, 2019, the Agency published a proposed rule (84 FR 27544) proposing revisions to its NEPA procedures. Following an initial 60-day comment period that was extended for 14 days in response to requests from the public, the Agency received roughly 103,000 comments. Roughly 6,200 comments were unique, individual comments; the remainder were organized response campaign comments (form letters). A detailed summary of E:\FR\FM\19NOR1.SGM 19NOR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 224 (Thursday, November 19, 2020)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 73617-73620]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-25301]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY

Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau

27 CFR Part 9

[Docket No. TTB-2020-0006; T.D. TTB-164; Ref: Notice No. 191]
RIN 1513-AC69


Establishment of the Tehachapi Mountains Viticultural Area

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

ACTION: Final rule; Treasury decision.

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SUMMARY: The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) establishes 
the approximately 58,000-acre ``Tehachapi Mountains'' viticultural area 
in Kern County, California. The Tehachapi Mountains 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.

DATES: This final rule is effective December 21, 2020.

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 to TTB 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 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 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; 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 to establish 
the ``Tehachapi Mountains'' AVA. The proposed 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 approximately 25 acres, as 
well as 1 winery. The distinguishing features of the proposed Tehachapi 
Mountains AVA include its topography and climate.
    The proposed Tehachapi Mountains AVA is a broad, saddle-shaped 
region of mountain foot slopes, high valleys and rolling hills situated 
at the summit of the southernmost pass of the Sierra Nevada mountain 
range. The proposed AVA has an east-west orientation, and the terrain 
at the east and west ends of

[[Page 73618]]

the ``saddle'' rise sharply before falling away to the lower elevations 
of the San Joaquin Valley, to the west, and the Mojave Desert, to the 
east. Elevations within the proposed AVA range from 3,600 and 5,400 
feet, with the majority of the area situated between 3,800 and 4,600 
feet. Slope angles average between 3 and 11 degrees within the proposed 
AVA. According to the petition, the high altitude of the proposed AVA 
exposes grapes to higher intensity ultraviolet light, which stimulates 
synthesis of phenolic molecules and produces deep colors and thick 
skins. Additionally, the gentle slope angles reduce the risk of erosion 
and allow cold air to drain away from vineyards planted in the proposed 
AVA.
    The petition states that topography also affects the climate of the 
proposed Tehachapi Mountains AVA and allows for successful viticulture, 
even at such high elevation. The petition notes that wine grapes are 
generally grown at elevations below 3,000 feet in the United States and 
around the world, due to colder temperatures at higher elevations that 
can permanently damage or kill vines. However, the proposed AVA's 
location within a mountain pass allows prevailing west winds from the 
San Joaquin Valley and east winds from the Mojave Desert to bring warm 
air from those regions into the proposed AVA. As a result, the proposed 
AVA has an average growing season of 198 days and accumulates an 
average of 2,762 growing degree days \1\ (GDDs) annually, both of which 
are sufficient for ripening late season varietals such as syrah, 
zinfandel, and cabernet sauvignon. Warm air from the neighboring 
valleys also results in typical winter low temperatures within the 
proposed AVA that range from 35 to 26 degrees Fahrenheit. The petition 
notes that grapevines can suffer permanent damage at temperatures 
between 0 and -5 degrees Fahrenheit, so vines grown in the proposed AVA 
are not at risk from serious frost damage.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ 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 Tehachapi Mountains range continues to the south of the 
proposed AVA. Elevations rise to over 7,000 feet, and slope angles are 
over 30 degrees. To the north of the proposed Tehachapi Mountains AVA 
are the Piute Mountains, which have elevations of over 6,000 feet and 
also have slope angles over 30 degrees. In portions of the northern 
region that are not exposed to the Mojave Desert or San Joaquin Valley, 
growing seasons are shorter and GDD accumulations are lower than within 
the proposed AVA. For example, to the north-northwest of the proposed 
AVA, the community of Johnsondale is at an elevation of 4,700 feet, has 
a growing season of 139 days, and accumulates an average of 2,149 GDDs. 
However, regions with more direct exposure to the desert or the valley 
can have longer growing seasons and greater GDD accumulations. For 
example, the community of Walker Pass, to the north-northeast of the 
proposed AVA at an elevation of 5,572 feet, is more exposed to the 
Mojave Desert than the proposed AVA and has an average growing season 
of 216 days and accumulates an average of 3,834 GDDs.
    To the east of the proposed Tehachapi Mountains AVA is the Mojave 
Desert, which has an average elevation of 2,600 feet. The growing 
season is longer than within the proposed AVA, averaging 231 days at 
Edwards Air Force Base. GDD accumulations are also much higher, 
averaging 4,881 annually. To the west of the proposed AVA is the San 
Joaquin Valley, where elevations drop below 500 feet near Bakersfield. 
The growing season length in Bakersfield averages 349 days, and an 
average annual GDD accumulation of 5,521.

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Comments Received

    TTB published Notice No. 191 in the Federal Register on June 26, 
2020 (85 FR 38345), proposing to establish the Tehachapi Mountains AVA. 
In the notice, TTB summarized the evidence from the petition regarding 
the name, boundary, and distinguishing features for the proposed AVA. 
The notice also compared the distinguishing features of the proposed 
AVA to the surrounding areas. For a detailed description of the 
evidence relating to the name, boundary, and distinguishing features of 
the proposed AVA, and for a detailed comparison of the distinguishing 
features of the proposed AVA to the surrounding areas, see Notice No. 
191.
    In Notice No. 191, TTB solicited comments on the accuracy of the 
name, boundary, and other required information submitted in support of 
the petition. The comment period closed August 25, 2020.
    In response to Notice No. 191, TTB received a total of eight 
comments. The commenters included the Tehachapi city manager, the Mayor 
of Tehachapi City and Tehachapi City Council, the Second District 
supervisor for Kern County, California State Assemblyman Vince Fong, 
U.S. Representative Kevin McCarthy, and local wine industry members. 
All of the comments supported the establishment of the proposed 
Tehachapi Mountains AVA.

TTB Determination

    After careful review of the petition and the comments received in 
response to Notice No. 191, TTB finds that the evidence provided by the 
petitioner supports the establishment of the Tehachapi Mountains AVA. 
Accordingly, under the authority of the FAA Act, section 1111(d) of the 
Homeland Security Act of 2002, and parts 4 and 9 of the TTB 
regulations, TTB establishes the ``Tehachapi Mountains'' AVA in Kern 
County, California, effective 30 days from the publication date of this 
document.

Boundary Description

    See the narrative description of the boundary of the Tehachapi 
Mountains AVA in the regulatory text published at the end of this final 
rule.

Maps

    The petitioners provided the required maps, and they are listed 
below in the regulatory text. You may also view the 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 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 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 27 CFR 4.39(i)(2) for details.
    With the establishment of the Tehachapi Mountains AVA, its name, 
``Tehachapi Mountains,'' will be recognized as a name of viticultural 
significance under Sec.  4.39(i)(3) of the

[[Page 73619]]

TTB regulations (27 CFR 4.39(i)(3)). The text of the regulations 
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, will have to 
ensure that the product is eligible to use the AVA name as an 
appellation of origin. TTB is not designating ``Tehachapi,'' standing 
alone, as a term of viticultural significance if the proposed AVA is 
established, in order to avoid potential conflicts with current label 
holders who use the word ``Tehachapi'' in a brand name or a fanciful 
name on their labels. Accordingly, the proposed part 9 regulatory text 
set forth in this document specifies only the full name ``Tehachapi 
Mountains'' as a term of viticultural significance for purposes of part 
4 of the TTB regulations.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    TTB certifies that this regulation will not have a significant 
economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The 
regulation imposes no new reporting, recordkeeping, or other 
administrative requirement. Any benefit derived from the use of an AVA 
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 final 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 final rule.

List of Subjects in 27 CFR Part 9

    Wine.

The Regulatory Amendment

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

PART 9--AMERICAN VITICULTURAL AREAS

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

    Authority: 27 U.S.C. 205.

Subpart C--Approved American Viticultural Areas

0
2. Subpart C is amended by adding Sec.  9.273 to read as follows:


Sec.  9.273  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 eight 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

[[Page 73620]]

    (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
    (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 elevation point and an 
unnamed road known locally as Skyline Drive; then
    (37) Proceed east in a straight line to the beginning point.

    Signed: October 26, 2020.
Mary G. Ryan,
Administrator.
    Approved: November 9, 2020.
Timothy E. Skud,
Deputy Assistant Secretary (Tax, Trade, and Tariff Policy).
[FR Doc. 2020-25301 Filed 11-18-20; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4810-31-P