Proposed Establishment of the Upper Lake Valley Viticultural Area and Modification of the Clear Lake Viticultural Area, 20102-20111 [2021-07626]

Download as PDF 20102 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 72 / Friday, April 16, 2021 / Proposed Rules 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 14 CFR 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 7400.11E, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, dated July 21, 2020, and effective September 15, 2020, is amended as follows: ■ * * * 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. Comments must be received by June 15, 2021. 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. DATES: 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–2021–0001 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 or U.S. mail, and for full details on how to obtain copies of this document, its supporting materials, and any comments related to this proposal. ADDRESSES: Paragraph 6005 Class E Airspace Areas Extending Upward From 700 Feet or More Above the Surface of the Earth. * Upper Lake Valley viticultural area is wholly within it. Both the established Clear Lake viticultural area and the proposed Upper Lake Valley viticultural area are entirely within the established North Coast viticultural area. TTB designates viticultural areas to allow vintners to better describe the origin of their wines and to allow consumers to better identify wines they may purchase. TTB invites comments on these proposals. * ACE KS E5 Scott City, KS [Amended] Scott City Municipal Airport, KS (Lat. 38°28′30″ N, long. 100°53′04″ W) That airspace extending upward from 700 feet above the surface within a 6.5-mile radius of Scott City Municipal Airport. Issued in Fort Worth, Texas, on April 8, 2021. Martin A. Skinner, Manager, Operations Support Group, ATO Central Service Center. 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. [FR Doc. 2021–07579 Filed 4–15–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–13–P SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background on Viticultural Areas DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY TTB Authority Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau 27 CFR Part 9 [Docket No. TTB–2021–0001; Notice No. 200] RIN 1513–AC73 Proposed Establishment of the Upper Lake Valley Viticultural Area and Modification of the Clear Lake Viticultural Area Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, Treasury. ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking. jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with PROPOSALS AGENCY: The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) proposes to establish the approximately 17,360-acre ‘‘Upper Lake Valley’’ viticultural area in Lake County, California. TTB also proposes to expand the boundary of the existing 1,093-square mile Clear Lake viticultural area so that the proposed SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:09 Apr 15, 2021 Jkt 253001 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). PO 00000 Frm 00066 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 Requirements Section 4.25(e)(2) of the TTB regulations (27 CFR 4.25(e)(2)) outlines the procedure for proposing an AVA or modifying the boundary of an established AVA, and provides that any interested party may petition TTB to establish a grape-growing region as an AVA or to modify the boundary of an established 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, or modify the boundary of an AVA, must include the following: • Evidence that the area within the proposed AVA boundary, or the region within the proposed expansion area, 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 or defining the boundary of the proposed expansion area; • A narrative description of the features of the proposed AVA or proposed expansion area affecting viticulture, such as climate, geology, soils, physical features, and elevation, that make the proposed AVA or expansion area distinctive and distinguish it from adjacent areas E:\FR\FM\16APP1.SGM 16APP1 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 72 / Friday, April 16, 2021 / Proposed Rules jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with PROPOSALS outside the proposed AVA boundary or established AVA boundary; • The appropriate United States Geological Survey (USGS) map(s) showing the location of the proposed AVA or proposed expansion area, with the boundary of the proposed AVA or proposed expansion area clearly drawn thereon; • If the proposed AVA or proposed expansion area is to be established within, or overlapping, an existing AVA, an explanation that both identifies the attributes of the proposed AVA or proposed expansion area that are consistent with the existing AVA, and explains how the proposed AVA or proposed expansion area is sufficiently distinct from the existing AVA and therefore appropriate for separate recognition; and • A detailed narrative description of the proposed AVA or proposed expansion area boundary based on USGS map markings. Petition To Establish the Upper Lake Valley AVA and Modify the Boundary of the Clear Lake AVA TTB received a petition from Terry Dereniuk, on behalf of the Growers of Upper Lake Valley, proposing the establishment of the ‘‘Upper Lake Valley’’ AVA. The proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA is located within Lake County, California, and lies within the established North Coast AVA (27 CFR 9.30) and partially within the established Clear Lake AVA (27 CFR 9.99). The proposed AVA contains approximately 17,360 acres and has 16 commercially-producing vineyards covering a total of approximately 300 acres. At the time the petition was submitted, at least one additional vineyard was planned within the proposed AVA. Although most of the proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA is located within the existing Clear Lake AVA, a small portion of the northwest corner of the proposed AVA would, if established, extend beyond the boundary of the Clear Lake AVA. To address the overlap of the two AVAs and account for viticultural similarities between the proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA and the larger Clear Lake AVA, the petition also proposes to expand the boundary of the Clear Lake AVA so that the entire proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA would be included within the Clear Lake AVA. According to the petition, the distinguishing features of the proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA include its hydrogeology, soils, and climate. Although the petition included information on the geology of the VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:09 Apr 15, 2021 Jkt 253001 proposed AVA and the surrounding regions, TTB determined that geology is such an integral part of hydrogeology and the characteristics of the aquifers the waters therein that it should not be considered a distinguishing feature separate from hydrogeology. Unless otherwise noted, all information and data pertaining to the proposed AVA contained in this document are from the petition for the proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA and its supporting exhibits. Proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA Name Evidence The proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA is located along the northern shore of Clear Lake and incorporates the town of Upper Lake, California. The petitioners proposed the name ‘‘Upper Lake Valley’’ to reflect the proposed AVA’s topography of alluvial valley floors and the surrounding hillsides. The petition included evidence that the name has been used to describe the region of the proposed AVA since the late 1800’s. For example, an 1881 book about the history of Lake County makes several references to ‘‘Upper Lake Valley.’’ 1 The book contains a list of geographical features in Lake County, including an entry for ‘‘Upper Lake Valley,’’ which is located ‘‘around the head of Clear Lake, and is eight miles long and from one to five miles wide.’’ 2 In another reference, the book notes that an 1842 land grant included ‘‘a part of Upper Lake Valley.’’ 3 A third reference in the book states that a series of valleys, including Bachelor Valley, ‘‘all center around the head of Clear Lake, and form what is known as Upper Lake Valley.’’ 4 TTB notes that Bachelor Valley is located within the proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA. The petition also included examples of the current use of the name ‘‘Upper Lake Valley’’ to describe the region of the proposed AVA. For example, the Lake County Groundwater Management Plan 5 makes multiple references to the Upper Lake Valley groundwater basin and includes a map 6 which shows the 1 Palmer, Lyman L., Wallace, W.F., and Wells, Harry L. History of Napa and Lake Counties, California. San Francisco: Slocum, Bowen & Co., 1881. See Exhibit 6 of the Name Evidence Appendix to the petition in Docket TTB–2021–0001 at https://www.regulations.gov. 2 Ibid. page 5. 3 Ibid. page 70. 4 Ibid. page 191. 5 http://www.lakecountyca.gov/Assets/ Departments/WaterResources/IRWMP/Lake+ County+Groundwater+Managment+Plan.pdf. See Exhibit 1 of the Name Evidence Appendix to the petition. 6 See Figure 1–1 of the Lake County Groundwater Management Plan, which is included in Exhibit 1 of the Name Evidence Appendix to the petition. PO 00000 Frm 00067 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 20103 basin covering the region of the proposed AVA. The Lake County Winegrape Commission’s web page notes, ‘‘Mountain valleys around Clear Lake, including Big Valley District, Upper Lake Valley, Clover Valley, Bachelor Valley, and Scotts Valley, are level with deep alluvial deposits.’’ 7 A real estate website 8 and a website for finding city sales tax rates 9 both include listings for ‘‘Upper Lake/Upper Lake Valley.’’ Finally, a recent newspaper article about the history of growing green beans in the region of the proposed AVA states that a prominent bean farmer’s ‘‘acreage was located in the Upper Lake valley [sic].’’ 10 Boundary Evidence The proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA encompasses a series of valleys, along with their surrounding hillsides, that run in a north-northeasterly direction from the shores of Clear Lake. The northern boundary is generally concurrent with the northern boundary of the established Clear Lake AVA and separates the proposed AVA from the higher, rugged elevations of the Mendocino National Forest. The eastern boundary follows the 1,600-foot elevation contour and also separates the proposed AVA from the Mendocino National Forest. The southern boundary follows the northern shore of Clear Lake. A portion of the western boundary follows a series of roads and the 1,600foot elevation contour to separate the proposed AVA from the higher terrain of the Mayacamas Mountains. The remainder of the western boundary is a straight line between points that is concurrent with the established Clear Lake AVA boundary and also separates the proposed AVA from the Mayacamas Mountains. Distinguishing Features The distinguishing features of the proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA are its hydrogeology, soils, and climate. Hydrogeology According to the petition, the proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA has four identified water-bearing formations: Quaternary alluvium; Pleistocene terrace deposits; Pleistocene lake and floodplain deposits; and Plio7 https://www.lakecountywinegrape.org/region/ terroir/soils. See Exhibit 2 of the Name Evidence Appendix to the petition. 8 www.redfin.com. See Exhibit 4 of the Name Evidence Appendix to the petition. 9 www.sale-tax.com/UpperLakeUpperLake ValleyCA. See Exhibit 3 of the Name Evidence Appendix to the petition. 10 www.record-bee.com/2016/06/17/blue-lakesgreen-beans. See Exhibit 5 of the Name Evidence Appendix to the petition. E:\FR\FM\16APP1.SGM 16APP1 jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with PROPOSALS 20104 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 72 / Friday, April 16, 2021 / Proposed Rules pleistocene cache creek. These formations make up the Upper Lake Groundwater Basin, which covers the majority of the proposed AVA. The Quaternary alluvium and Pleistocene terrace, lake, and floodplain deposits are the primary sources of groundwater within the proposed AVA. The petition states that groundwater levels within the Upper Lake Groundwater Basin are generally within 10 feet of the surface and fluctuate between 5 and 15 feet lower in the fall. Lowering of water levels during dry months is not excessive and is balanced by rapid recovery of water level elevations during the wet months. According to a bulletin from the California Department of Water Resources, the predominant groundwater types in the Upper Lake Groundwater Basin are magnesium bicarbonate and calcium carbonate water.11 The bulletin also shows high iron, manganese, and calcium levels in the groundwater, as well as high electrical conductivity. Boron was detected in some wells used in the bulletin’s analysis, but high boron levels are not associated with the groundwater in the proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA. The bulletin’s analysis showed a total dissolved solids average of 500 mg/ L. The petition states that water for irrigation is critical for wine grape production within the proposed AVA. The water quality in the proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA is suitable for irrigation and has few impediments. The high levels of calcium are desirable, since low levels of calcium may cause deficiencies in vine growth. Low levels of boron in the groundwater are also desirable for irrigation purposes, as levels of 2 mg/L and above are toxic to most plants. The low levels of dissolved solids are also beneficial, since total dissolved solids levels above 2,000 mg/ L are very likely to cause vine growth problems. However, the high iron and manganese levels in the water of the proposed AVA can cause irrigation equipment to clog. The Gravelly Valley Groundwater Basin lies to the north of the proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA, within the Mendocino National Forest. The petition states that no additional information was available about this basin. To the east of the proposed AVA lies the High Valley Groundwater Basin, 11 California Department of Water Resources. California’s Ground Water Bulletin 118. California Department of Water Resources: 1975. Updated 2004; see https://water.ca.gov/-/media/DWRwebsite/web pages/Programs/GroundwaterManagement/Bulletin-118/Files/2003-BasinDescriptions/5_013_UpperLake.pdf. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:09 Apr 15, 2021 Jkt 253001 which is formed by rocks of the JurassicCretaceous Franciscan Formation and Quaternary Holocene volcanics. The groundwater is characterized as magnesium bicarbonate with high levels of ammonia, phosphorous, chloride, iron, boron, and manganese. During the spring, the High Valley Groundwater Basin water level is 10 to 30 feet below the surface, with the summer drawdown 5 to 10 feet below the spring level. Spring groundwater levels have fluctuated widely over the years, with incidences of slow recovery after periods of drought. Additionally, Clear Lake is to the immediate south of the proposed AVA, while the Big Valley Groundwater Basin is farther south. The prominent groundwater formations in this basin are Quaternary Alluvium and Upper Pliocene to Lower Pliocene Volcanic Ash Deposit. California Groundwater Bulletin 118 notes that boron is an impairment in the water in some parts of the Big Valley Groundwater Basin.12 Groundwater levels in the northern portion of the Big Valley Basin are usually 5 feet below the surface and decrease 10 to 50 feet during the summer. In the uplands of the basin, the depth to water in the spring is much deeper, ranging from 70 to 90 feet below the surface and dropping an additional 30 to 40 feet over the summer. To the west of the proposed AVA is the Scotts Valley Groundwater Basin, which consists of rocks from the JurassicCretaceous Franciscan Formation. California Groundwater Bulletin 118 lists iron, manganese, and boron as impairments of groundwater in this basin.13 Depth to water in the spring is 10 feet below the surface on the average, with spring to summer drawdown ranging from 30 to 60 feet below spring levels depending on location across the Scotts Valley Groundwater Basin. Soils According to the petition, many different soil series make up the soils of the proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA. However, three general soil map units broadly characterize the area: Millsholm-Skyhigh-Bressa; Still12 California Department of Water Resources. California’s Ground Water Bulletin 118. California Department of Water Resources: 1975. Updated 2004; https://water.ca.gov/-/media/DWR-website/ web pages/Programs/Groundwater-Management/ Bulletin-118/Files/2003-Basin-Descriptions/5_015_ BigValley.pdf. 13 California Department of Water Resources. California’s Ground Water Bulletin 118. California Department of Water Resources: 1975. Updated 2004; https://water.ca.gov/-/media/DWR-website/ web pages/Programs/Groundwater-Management/ Bulletin-118/Files/2003-Basin-Descriptions/5_014_ ScottsValley.pdf. PO 00000 Frm 00068 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 Lupoyoma; and Tulelake-FluvaquenticHaplawuolls. Soils from these three units make up over 56 percent of the total area of the proposed AVA. Millsholm-Skyhigh-Bressa soils are formed from sandstone and shale and are primarily loams and clay loams. These soils are moderately deep, moderately-well to well-drained, and have slopes that range from moderately sloping to steep. Soils from the StillLupoyoma general map unit occur on the nearly-level valley floors and consist of loams and silt loams. These soils are very deep, with rooting depths of 60 inches or more, and are moderately-well to well-drained. Soils from the TulelakeFluvaquentic-Haplawuolls map unit occur in marshy and reclaimed areas around Clear Lake and Tule Lake. Soils of this unit are very deep silty clay loams with poor to very poor drainage. The petition states that soil composition, depth, and drainage are key components of vine and fruit development. According to the petition, most of the vineyards in the proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA are planted on Still-Luopyoma soils due to the gentle slopes, which create less of an erosion hazard and provide good drainage. These soils are also deep, which allows the roots to extend farther than in shallow soils. Grapevines are ‘‘deeprooted plants that fully explore the soil to 6 to 10 feet or more if root penetration is not obstructed by hardpan, impervious clay substratum, toxic concentrations of salts, or a free water table.’’ 14 The petition states that soils of the Tulelake-Fluvaquentic-Haplawuolls map unit, which are also very deep, may also be suitable for viticulture where poor drainage can be mitigated. Although soils of the MillsholmSkyhigh-Bressa map unit are more shallow than soils of the other two map units, the petition states that shallow soils can also be desirable for viticulture because ‘‘[t]he quality of fruit is better, although yields are usually lower, on soils * * * limited in depth by hardpan, rocks, or clay substrata.’’ 15 However, because these soils are found on steeper slopes, there is a risk of erosion. To the north of the proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA, within the Mendocino National Forest, the soils belong to the Maymen-Etsel and the Sanhedrin-Speaker-Kekawaka soil map units. These soils are not very prevalent in the proposed AVA and are described as shallow soils with outcroppings of 14 Albert J. Winkler et al., General Viticulture (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2nd ed. 1974, page 71. 15 Ibid, page 71. E:\FR\FM\16APP1.SGM 16APP1 20105 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 72 / Friday, April 16, 2021 / Proposed Rules large stones, including greywackes and sandstone. To the east of the proposed AVA, the most common soil map units are the Maymen-Etsel, SobranteGuenoc-Hambright, and the SanhedrinSpeaker-Kekawaka units, which are also not common within the proposed AVA and occur mostly on very steep slopes. South of the proposed AVA, within the Big Valley District AVA (27 CFR 9.232), the soils belong to the Cole-Clear Lake Variant-Clear Lake general soil map unit. To the west of the proposed AVA, the soils are from the MillsholmSkyhigh-Bressa soil map unit and then transition to the Maymen-Etsel soil map unit in the higher elevations of the Mayacamas Mountains. Climate The petition for the proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA included information on the climate of the region, including rainfall, frost-free days, wind, and growing degree days. Rainfall. According to the petition, rainfall amounts in Lake County vary greatly due to the rapid changes in topography between the higher elevations of the Mayacamas Mountains in the western portion of the county and the lower elevations of Bachelor, Middle Creek, and Clover Creek Valleys, where the proposed AVA is located. The table below shows the average annual rainfall amounts for the weather station in Upper Lake, California, which is within the proposed AVA, for the years 2011 through 2016. The data was collected by the Western Weather Group 16 on behalf of the Lake County Winegrape Commission. Data was unavailable for 2013. The average annual rainfall amount for the available years was 33.96. The petition states that, although rainfall data was not available from the weather station for 2013, the average rainfall amounts for the available years is comparable to the average rainfall recorded by the Western Region Climate Center 17 for the period of January 1, 1893, through November 12, 2006, which is 34.09 inches. The petition also included annual predicted rainfall amounts for the Upper Lake Groundwater Basin, where the TABLE 1—AVERAGE ANNUAL RAINFALL proposed AVA is located, and the AMOUNTS FOR UPPER LAKE WEATH- surrounding groundwater basins. The data shows that annual predicted ER STATION rainfall amounts for the Upper Lake Groundwater Basin are higher than the Rainfall Year amount predicted amounts for each of the (inches) surrounding basins, except for the basin to the north of the proposed AVA. 2016 ........................................ 41.43. 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 ........................................ ........................................ ........................................ ........................................ ........................................ 20.53. 38.34. unavailable. 41.08. 28.43. TABLE 2—ANNUAL PREDICTED RAINFALL AMOUNTS 18 Rainfall amounts (inches) Basin name Direction from proposed AVA Upper Lake Basin ....................................................................... Big Valley Basin ......................................................................... High Valley Basin ....................................................................... Scotts Valley Basin ..................................................................... Gravelly Valley Basin ................................................................. Within .......................................................................................... South .......................................................................................... East ............................................................................................ West ........................................................................................... North ........................................................................................... The petition states that the high annual rainfall amounts in the proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA recharge the Upper Lake Groundwater Basin, which is used for irrigation. The rainfall amounts are also sufficient during the growing season to provide hydration for grapevines. The petition states that grapes require an average of 8 to 11 acre inches of water per year in order to successfully produce and ripen fruit.19 Frost-free days. According to the petition, the growing season, which is broadly defined as the number of days between the last frost event in the spring and the first frost event in the fall, is an important indicator for successful wine grape cultivation. The following table shows the median, maximum, and 35–43 22–35 27–35 31–35 49 minimum number of frost-free days recorded at the Upper Lake climate station from 2011 through 2016,20 as well as from the seven established AVAs in Lake County, which were derived from the 1971–2000 climate normals.21 Data was not provided for the region to the north of the proposed AVA. TABLE 3—FROST-FREE DAYS jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with PROPOSALS AVA name (direction from proposed AVA) Median Upper Lake Valley ....................................................................................................................... Big Valley District–Lake County (South) ..................................................................................... Kelsey Bench–Lake County (South) ........................................................................................... Clear Lake (Encompasses) ......................................................................................................... Guenoc Valley (Southeast) .......................................................................................................... High Valley (East) ........................................................................................................................ 16 http://www.westernwx.com/LakeCo/. 17 www.wrcc.dri.edu/cgi-bin/cliMAIN.pl?ca9173. 18 California Department of Water Resources. California’s Ground Water Bulletin 118. California Department of Water Resources: 1975. Updated 2004. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:09 Apr 15, 2021 Jkt 253001 19 Ryan Keiffer, Agricultural Technician, UCCE Mendocino, and Dr. Broc Zoller, Pest Control Advisor, Kelseyville. Vineyard Water Use in Lake County, California. December 1, 2014. 20 Data collected by the Western Weather Group on behalf of the Lake County Winegrape PO 00000 Frm 00069 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 Maximum 202 195 198 200 216 236 232 228 227 260 261 255 Minimum 172 190 192 174 211 190 Commission; see http://www.westernwx.com/ LakeCo/. 21 Jones, G. V. (2014). Climate Characteristics for Winegrape Production in Lake County, California. Open Report to the Lake County Winegrape Commission. p. 14. E:\FR\FM\16APP1.SGM 16APP1 20106 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 72 / Friday, April 16, 2021 / Proposed Rules TABLE 3—FROST-FREE DAYS—Continued AVA name (direction from proposed AVA) Median Red Hills Lake County (South) .................................................................................................... Benmore Valley (West) ................................................................................................................ The data in the table indicates that the proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA has substantially shorter median, maximum, and minimum frost-free periods than the established AVAs to the east, southeast, and west, and a longer frostfree period than the established AVAs to the south, except for the Red Hills Lake County AVA (27 CFR 9.169). The proposed AVA has a frost-free period similar in length to that of the Clear Lake AVA, which encompasses the proposed AVA and also includes the Big Valley District–Lake County (27 CFR 9.232), Kelsey Bench–Lake County (27 CFR 9.233), High Valley (27 CFR 9.189), and Red Hills Lake County AVAs. The petition states that the length of the frost-free period for a region impacts viticulture. Spring frosts that occur after bud break can cause tender shoots and forming grape clusters to burn and die, resulting in crop loss and lower yields. Early fall frosts impact the ability of sugar levels in the grapes to reach a desirable Brix level. Wind. The petition states that the winds in the proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA are influenced by the mountains that lie to the west, north, and east, and by Clear Lake to the south. Winds within the proposed AVA are predominantly from the south-southeast or north during the daytime and from the north during the night. Wind speeds within the proposed AVA are lower than within many other parts of Lake County, but the winds are frequent during both the day and night. Winds are calm (below 1 mile per hour) only 2.23 percent of the time during daytime hours and 3.04 percent of the time during nighttime hours.22 The highest daytime wind speeds range from 11 to Maximum 241 248 255 250 Minimum 194 243 20 miles per hour but only occurred 1.25 percent of the time. Wind speeds between 1 and 5 miles per hour accounted for 82.88 of the daytime wind speeds. Nighttime wind speeds were also mostly between 1 and 5 miles per hour, accounting for 88.86 of the nighttime wind speeds. Wind speeds above 20 miles per hour were not recorded within the proposed AVA. The petition included wind speed information from the Kelsey Bench– Lake County, Red Hills Lake County, and Guenoc Valley AVAs (27 CFR 9.26) for comparison. That information is presented in the table below and was collected from the same time period as the wind speed data from the proposed AVA. TTB notes that none of the surrounding region had wind speeds above 30 miles per hour. TABLE 4—DAYTIME WIND SPEED DATA FOR SURROUNDING REGIONS Frequency of wind speed (percent) Region (direction from proposed AVA) <1 mile per hour Kelsey Bench–Lake County (South) .................................... Red Hills Lake County (South) ............................................ Guenoc Valley (Southeast) .................................................. 1–5 miles per hour 6–10 miles per hour 11–20 miles per hour 21–30 miles per hour 64.02 71.22 77.23 22.08 21.34 7.43 5.46 2.23 3.96 0 0 0.5 8.44 5.21 10.89 TABLE 5—NIGHTTIME WIND SPEED DATA FOR SURROUNDING REGIONS Frequency of wind speed (percent) Region (direction from proposed AVA) <1 mile/hour jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with PROPOSALS Kelsey Bench-Lake County (South) .................................... Red Hills Lake County (South) ............................................ Guenoc Valley (Southeast) .................................................. Although the predominant daytime and nighttime wind speeds in the proposed AVA and the surrounding regions were between 1 and 5 miles per hour, the proposed Upper Lake Valley had the greatest percent of wind speeds within that range. The proposed AVA also had the smallest percentage of calm winds, defined as wind speeds of less than 1 mile per hour. The proposed AVA also did not record any wind 1–5 miles/hour 12.66 11.42 10.89 6–10 miles/hour 69.87 65.23 77.23 speeds over 20 miles per hour, whereas the Kelsey Bench–Lake County AVA recorded daytime wind speeds over 20 miles per hour and the Guenoc Valley AVA recorded both daytime and nighttime wind speeds over 20 miles per hour. The petition states that air movement keeps the fruit and canopies cool and dry. In this way, the air movement plays a key role by preventing mildew and other pests in the vineyard and 11.90 21.83 7.43 16:09 Apr 15, 2021 Jkt 253001 PO 00000 Frm 00070 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 5.06 1.52 3.96 21–30 miles/hour 0.51 0 0.5 translates to a lesser need for application of pesticides. Heat summation. The petition provided information on the heat summation values of the proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA and the surrounding regions. Heat summation is calculated as the sum of the mean monthly temperature above 50 degrees Fahrenheit (F) during the growing season from April 1 to October 31 and is expressed as growing degree days 22 Data collected by the Western Weather Group from 2008–2013. VerDate Sep<11>2014 11–20 miles/hour E:\FR\FM\16APP1.SGM 16APP1 20107 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 72 / Friday, April 16, 2021 / Proposed Rules (GDDs). A baseline of 50 degrees F is used because there is almost no shoot growth below this temperature.23 The following table is derived from information in the petition and shows the median, maximum, and minimum GDD accumulations for the proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA and the surrounding regions.24 GDD information was not provided for the region to the north of the proposed AVA. TABLE 6—GROWING DEGREE DAYS Region (direction from proposed AVA) Median Proposed AVA ............................................................................................................................. Clear Lake (Encompasses) ......................................................................................................... High Valley (East) ........................................................................................................................ Guenoc Valley (Southeast) .......................................................................................................... Big Valley District–Lake County (South) ..................................................................................... Kelsey Bench–Lake County (South) ........................................................................................... Red Hills Lake County (South) .................................................................................................... Benmore Valley (West) ................................................................................................................ According to the data in the table, the proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA has a lower median GDD accumulation than each of the surrounding regions for which data was provided. The maximum GDD accumulation for the proposed AVA is lower than each of the regions except for the Big Valley District–Lake County AVA to the south and the Benmore Valley AVA to the west. The minimum GDD accumulation for the proposed AVA is also lower than each of the surrounding regions except for the larger Clear Lake AVA, which encompasses the proposed AVA as well as the Big Valley District–Lake County, Kelsey Bench–Big Valley, and Red Hills Lake County AVAs and most of the High Valley AVA. The petition states that GDD accumulations are an important factor in predicting a site’s suitability for growing specific grape varieties. Varietals that require warmer climates in order to ripen will do better in regions with higher GDD accumulations. The petition states that the moderate Maximum 3,158 3,267 3,548 3,481 3,245 3,250 3,595 3,248 3,343 3,811 3,755 3,796 3,281 3,593 3,753 3,332 Minimum 2,809 2,799 3,139 3,420 3,171 3,189 3,155 3,155 climate of the proposed AVA makes it suitable for growing a variety of grapes, including Sauvignon Blanc. Summary of Distinguishing Features In summary, the hydrogeology, soils, and climate of the proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA distinguish it from the surrounding regions. The following table summarizes the distinguishing features of the proposed AVA and compares them to the features of the surrounding regions. TABLE 7—SUMMARY OF DISTINGUISHING FEATURES Region Hydrogeology Soils Climate Proposed AVA ............................... Upper Lake Groundwater Basin; high iron, manganese, and calcium levels; groundwater levels generally within 10 feet of the surface, with minimal seasonal fluctuations; low levels of dissolved solids. Millsholm–Skyhigh–Bressa, Still– Lupoyoma, and Tulelake– Fluvaquentic–Haplawuolls soil map units; moderately deep to very deep; poorly drained to well-drained. North .............................................. Gravelly Basin. East ................................................ High Valley Groundwater Basin; high levels of ammonia, phosphorous, chloride, iron, boron, and manganese; groundwater levels 10 to 30 feet below the surface, with seasonal fluctuations and incidences of slow recovery after periods of drought. Big Valley Groundwater Basin; boron is an impairment in some parts of the basin; groundwater levels vary between northern and southern parts of the basin but are generally deeper than within proposed AVA and have greater seasonal fluctuations. Maymen–Etsel and Sanhedrin– Speaker–Kekawaka soil map units; contain outcroppings of large stones. Maymen–Estel, Sobrante– Guenoc–Hambright, and Sanhedrin–Speaker–Kekawaka soil map units; found on very steep slopes. Average annual rainfall of 35–43 inches; median frost-free period of 202 days; wind speeds predominantly between 1 and 5 mph, are calm 2.23–3.04 percent of the time, and do not exceed 20 mph; median GDD accumulations of 3,158. Average annual rainfall of 49 inches; other climate data not available. jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with PROPOSALS South .............................................. 23 Albert J. Winkler et al., General Viticulture (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2nd ed. 1974), pages 67–71. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:09 Apr 15, 2021 Jkt 253001 Valley Groundwater Cole–Clear Lake Variant–Clear Lake soil map unit. 24 The GDD data for the proposed AVA was calculated from data from the weather station in Upper Lake from 2011–2016. The data from the surrounding regions was calculated from 1971– PO 00000 Frm 00071 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 Average annual rainfall of 27–35 inches; longer frost-free period; winds are more frequently calm but do exceed 20 mph; higher median GDD accumulations. Average annual rainfall of 22–35 inches; longer median frost-free period in Red Hills Lake County AVA, and a shorter median frost-free period in Big Valley District–Lake County AVA; winds are more frequently calm but do exceed 20 mph; higher median GDD accumulations. 2000 climate normal. See Jones, G.V. (2014). Climate Characteristics for Winegrape Production in Lake County, California. Open Report to the Lake County Winegrape Commission. p. 23. E:\FR\FM\16APP1.SGM 16APP1 20108 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 72 / Friday, April 16, 2021 / Proposed Rules TABLE 7—SUMMARY OF DISTINGUISHING FEATURES—Continued Region Hydrogeology Soils Climate West ............................................... Scotts Valley Groundwater Basin; iron, manganese, and boron are listed as impairments; groundwater is 10 feet below the surface on the average, with seasonal fluctuations depending on location across the Scotts Valley Basin. Millsholm–Skyhigh–Bressa soil map unit, transitioning to Maymen–Etsel soil map unit in the higher elevations of the Mayacamas Mountains. Average annual rainfall of 31–35 inches; longer median frost-free period; wind data not available; higher median GDD accumulations. jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with PROPOSALS Comparison of the Proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA to the Existing Lake County AVA T.D. ATF–174, which published in the Federal Register on May 8, 1984 (49 FR 19466), established the Clear Lake AVA. T.D. ATF–174 cited elevation, climate, and watershed as distinguishing features of the Clear Lake AVA. Elevations for vineyards ranged from 1,300 to 1,800 feet. The Clear Lake AVA has a growing season of 223 days and an average annual rainfall amount of about 37 inches. The AVA is also located within the Clear Lake watershed, which is said to affect the climate patterns of the AVA. The proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA is located in the northern portion of the Clear Lake AVA and shares some of the same general features. For instance, vineyards in the proposed AVA are planted at elevations between 1,330 and 1,450 feet, which is within the range of vineyard elevations for the Clear Lake AVA. The proposed AVA is also within the Clear Lake watershed, and Clear Lake has a moderating effect on the proposed AVA’s climate. However, the proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA petition describes the Clear Lake AVA as having many different microclimates, including the proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA. As a microclimate within the Clear Lake AVA, the proposed AVA has unique characteristics, which may warrant its establishment as a new AVA. For example, the proposed AVA has a shorter median growing season and receives more rainfall annually than the Clear Lake AVA overall. The proposed AVA also has a median heat summation of 3,158 GDDs, while the Clear Lake AVA has a higher overall median heat summation of 3,267 GDDs. Proposed Modification of the Clear Lake AVA As previously noted, the petition to establish the proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA also requested an expansion of the established Clear Lake AVA. The proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA is located in the northern portion VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:09 Apr 15, 2021 Jkt 253001 of the Clear Lake AVA. Most of the proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA, if established, would be located within the current boundary of the Clear Lake AVA. However, unless the boundary of the Clear Lake AVA is modified, a small portion of the proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA, along Scotts Creek, would be outside the Clear Lake AVA. Currently, the Clear Lake AVA boundary in the vicinity of the proposed AVA and the proposed expansion area follows a straight line drawn from the summit of Griner Peak, south of the proposed AVA, to the summit of Hells Peak, north of the proposed AVA. The portion of the proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA that would be outside the Clear Lake AVA (the ‘‘proposed expansion area’’) follows Scotts Creek west of Tule Lake and contains one vineyard. If the proposed modification of the Clear Lake AVA boundary is finalized, the entire proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA would be situated within the Clear Lake AVA. The petition states that the name ‘‘Clear Lake’’ is associated with the proposed expansion area. T.D. ATF–174 noted that Scotts Valley is a prominent growing area within the Clear Lake AVA. The southern portion of Scotts Valley, as well as the portion of Scotts Creek east of Tule Lake, are both currently within the Clear Lake AVA. The proposed expansion area contains the northern portion of Scotts Valley and the portion of Scotts Creek west of Tule Lake. The expansion petition states that because Scotts Valley, and by extension Scotts Creek which runs through the valley, was specifically mentioned in the original Clear Lake AVA petition as a region within the area known as ‘‘Clear Lake,’’ the proposed expansion area also meets this criteria to be known as ‘‘Clear Lake.’’ T.D. ATF–174 defined elevation, watershed, and climate as the distinguishing features of the Clear Lake AVA. The expansion petition asserts that the proposed expansion area shares these characteristics of the Clear Lake AVA. First, elevations within the Clear Lake AVA range from 1,300 to over PO 00000 Frm 00072 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 4,000 feet, according to T.D. ATF–174. At the time the AVA was established, most of the vineyards were planted on flat or gently rolling land with elevations between 1,300 and 1,800 feet. The proposed expansion petition states that elevations within the proposed expansion area are similar to those of the Clear Lake AVA. The vineyard within the proposed expansion area is located at approximately 1,360 feet, well within the range of elevations of other vineyards found in the Clear Lake AVA. T.D. ATF–174 stated that the Clear Lake watershed is an important feature of the Clear Lake AVA because of its effect on the climate within the AVA. The proposed expansion petition included a map of the Clear Lake watershed, which shows that the entirety of Scotts Creek, including the portion within the proposed expansion area, is within the Clear Lake watershed. The map is included as Figure 5 in the petition addendum and is included in the public docket. Finally, T.D. ATF–174 described the climate of the Clear Lake AVA. Annual rainfall within the established AVA was approximately 37 inches, and the region had a frost-free period of approximately 223 days. Within the Clear Lake AVA, growing degree accumulations placed the northern portion in the Winkler Region II and the southern portion in Winkler Region III, including the portion of Scotts Valley currently within the AVA. According to the proposed expansion petition, the average annual rainfall within the proposed expansion area from 2012 through 2017 was 33.61 inches. Although this is lower than the average annual rainfall amount for the Clear Lake AVA described in T.D. ATF– 174, it is within the range of the 2012– 2017 rainfall amounts for other locations within the Clear Lake AVA which were included in the expansion petition. Those average amounts ranged from a high of 36.37 at Upper Lake to a low of 23.68 at Kelseyville. Within the proposed expansion area, growing degree accumulations for the period from 2013 to 2016 ranged from 2,985 to 3,364, which places the region in E:\FR\FM\16APP1.SGM 16APP1 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 72 / Friday, April 16, 2021 / Proposed Rules Winkler Regions II and III, similar to the Clear Lake AVA as described in T.D. ATF–174. TTB notes that the expansion petition included data on the frost-free period of the proposed expansion area and other regions within the Clear Lake AVA. However, the data suggested that the frost-free period in the proposed expansion area is shorter than that of the Clear Lake AVA. Therefore, based on the data, TTB cannot determine that the frost-free period within the proposed expansion area is the same as within the Clear Lake AVA. jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with PROPOSALS Comparison of the Proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA to the Existing North Coast AVA The North Coast AVA was established by T.D. ATF–145, published in the Federal Register on September 21, 1983 (48 FR 42973). It includes all or portions of Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino, Lake, Marin, and Solano Counties in California. T.D. ATF–145 describes the topography of the North Coast AVA as ‘‘valleys between the coast ranges running parallel to the Pacific Ocean shore and the lower slopes of these ranges.’’ GDD accumulations for the North Coast AVA range from Region I to Region III.25 Average rainfall in the North Coast AVA varies widely, ranging from 24.8 inches in one location in the AVA to 62.2 inches in another part of the AVA. The proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA shares some of the same general characteristics as the North Coast AVA. The proposed AVA is comprised of valleys between mountainous areas and the lower slopes of the mountains. The GDD accumulations for the proposed AVA classify it as a low Region III. However, the proposed AVA is much more uniform in its climatic features, namely temperature, soils, and topography than the diverse, multicounty North Coast AVA. In this regard, TTB notes that T.D. ATF–145 specifically states that ‘‘approval of this viticultural area does not preclude approval of additional areas, either wholly contained with the North Coast, or partially overlapping the North Coast,’’ and that ‘‘smaller viticultural areas tend to be more uniform in their geographical and climatic characteristics, while very large areas such as the North Coast tend to exhibit generally similar characteristics, in this case the influence of maritime air off of the Pacific Ocean and San Pablo Bay.’’ Thus, the proposal to establish the Upper Lake Valley AVA is consistent 25 Id. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:09 Apr 15, 2021 Jkt 253001 with what was envisioned when the North Coast AVA was established. TTB Determination TTB concludes that the petition to establish the 17,360-acre Upper Lake Valley AVA and to concurrently modify the boundary of the established Clear Lake AVA merits consideration and public comment, as invited in this notice of proposed rulemaking. TTB is proposing the establishment of the new AVA and the modification of the existing AVA as one action. Accordingly, if TTB establishes the proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA, then the proposed boundary modification of the Clear Lake would be approved concurrently. If TTB does not establish the proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA, then the present Clear Lake AVA boundary would not be modified. Boundary Description See the narrative description of the boundary of the petitioned-for AVA and the proposed expansion of the Clear Lake 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 Upper Lake Valley AVA boundary and the proposed expansion of the Clear Lake 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 § 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. PO 00000 Frm 00073 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 20109 If TTB establishes this proposed AVA, its name, ‘‘Upper Lake Valley,’’ will be recognized as a name of viticultural significance under § 4.39(i)(3) of the TTB regulations (27 CFR 4.39(i)(3)). The text of the proposed regulation clarifies this point. Consequently, wine bottlers using the name ‘‘Upper Lake Valley’’ in a brand name, including a trademark, or in another label reference as to the origin of the wine, would have to ensure that the product is eligible to use the AVA name as an appellation of origin if this proposed rule is adopted as a final rule. The approval of the proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA would not affect any existing AVA, and any bottlers using ‘‘Clear Lake’’ or ‘‘North Coast’’ as an appellation of origin or in a brand name for wines made from grapes grown within the Clear Lake or North Coast AVAs would not be affected by the establishment of this new AVA. The establishment of the proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA would allow vintners to use ‘‘Upper Lake Valley,’’ ‘‘Clear Lake,’’ and ‘‘North Coast’’ as appellations of origin for wines made from grapes grown within the proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA if the wines meet the eligibility requirements for the appellation. Additionally, vintners would be allowed to use ‘‘Upper Lake Valley,’’ ‘‘Clear Lake,’’ and ‘‘North Coast’’ as appellations of origin for wines made from grapes grown within the proposed Clear Lake AVA expansion area if the wines meet the eligibility requirements for the appellation. Public Participation Comments Invited TTB invites comments from interested members of the public on whether it should establish the proposed AVA and concurrently modify the boundary of the established Clear Lake AVA. TTB is interested in receiving comments on the sufficiency and accuracy of the name, boundary, soils, climate, hydrogeology, and other required information submitted in support of the petition. In addition, given the proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA’s location within the existing Clear Lake and North Coast AVAs, TTB is interested in comments on whether the evidence submitted in the petition regarding the distinguishing features of the proposed AVA sufficiently differentiates it from the existing established AVAs. TTB is also interested in comments on whether the geographic features of the proposed AVA are so distinguishable from the surrounding Clear Lake or North Coast AVA that the proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA should no longer be part of E:\FR\FM\16APP1.SGM 16APP1 20110 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 72 / Friday, April 16, 2021 / Proposed Rules that AVA. Please provide any available specific information in support of your comments. TTB also invites comments on the proposed expansion of the existing Clear Lake AVA. TTB is specifically interested in receiving comments on the similarity of the proposed expansion area to the established Clear Lake AVA, as well as the differences between the proposed expansion area and the areas outside the Clear Lake AVA. Comments should address the boundaries, elevation, climate, watershed, and any other pertinent information that supports or opposes the proposed Clear Lake AVA boundary expansion. Because of the potential impact of the establishment of the proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA on wine labels that include the term ‘‘Upper Lake Valley’’ as discussed above under Impact on Current Wine Labels, TTB is particularly interested in comments regarding whether there will be a conflict between the proposed 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. jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with PROPOSALS 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–2021–0001 on ‘‘Regulations.gov,’’ the Federal e-rulemaking portal, at https:// www.regulations.gov. A direct link to that docket is available under Notice No. 200 on the TTB website at https:// www.ttb.gov/wine/winerulemaking.shtml. Supplemental files may be attached to comments submitted via Regulations.gov. • 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. 200, and also must be made in English, be legible, and be written in language acceptable for public disclosure. TTB does not acknowledge VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:09 Apr 15, 2021 Jkt 253001 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 via Regulations.gov, please use the ‘‘organization’’ version of the comment form and include the entity’s name, as well as your name and position title in the comment. If you comment via postal mail, please submit your entity’s comment on letterhead. You may also write to the Administrator before the comment closing date to ask for a public hearing. The Administrator reserves the right to determine whether to hold a public hearing. Confidentiality All submitted comments and attachments are part of the public record and subject to disclosure. Do not enclose any material in your comments that you consider to be confidential or inappropriate for public disclosure. Public Disclosure TTB will post, and you may view, copies of this notice, selected supporting materials, and any online or mailed comments received about this proposal within Docket No. TTB–2021– 0001 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. 200. You may also reach the relevant docket through the Regulations.gov search page at https:// www.regulations.gov. If provided, 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 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. PO 00000 Frm 00074 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 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. 2. Amend § 9.99 by: a. Removing the period at the end of paragraph (b)(4) and adding a semicolon in its place; ■ b. Adding paragraph (b)(5); ■ c. Redesignating paragraphs (c)(11) through (c)(17) as paragraphs (c)(15) through (c)(21); and ■ d. Adding new paragraphs (c)(11) through (c)(14). The additions read as follows: ■ ■ § 9.99 Clear Lake. * * * * * (b) * * * (5) ‘‘Upper Lake Quadrangle, California,’’ 7.5 minute series, 1996. (c) * * * (11) Then southeasterly in a straight line, crossing onto the Upper Lake quadrangle, to the intersection of the 1,600-foot elevation contour and an unnamed 4-wheel drive road in Section 9, T15N/R10W; (12) Then northwesterly, then southwesterly along the 1,600-foot E:\FR\FM\16APP1.SGM 16APP1 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 72 / Friday, April 16, 2021 / Proposed Rules elevation contour to a point in Section 8, T15N/R10W, that is due north of the westernmost structure in a row of three structures located south of Scotts Creek; (13) Then south in a straight line, crossing over Scotts Creek and the westernmost structure, to the intersection with an unnamed, unimproved road and the 1,600-foot elevation contour in Section 17, T15N/ R10W; (14) Then generally east along the 1,600-foot elevation contour to its second intersection with an unnamed, unimproved road in section 15, T15N/ R10W; * * * * * ■ 3. Subpart C is amended by adding § 9.to read as follows: Subpart C—Approved American Viticultural Areas jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with PROPOSALS § 9.lll Upper Lake Valley. (a) Name. The name of the viticultural area described in this section is ‘‘Upper Lake Valley’’. For purposes of part 4 of this chapter, ‘‘Upper Lake Valley’’ is a term of viticultural significance. (b) Approved maps. The four United States Geological Survey (USGS) 1:24,000 scale topographic maps used to determine the boundary of the Upper Lake Valley viticultural area are titled: (1) Lakeport, 1958; photorevised 1978; minor revision 1994; (2) Upper Lake, 1996; (3) Bartlett Mountain, 1996; and (4) Lucerne, 1996. (c) Boundary. The Upper Lake Valley viticultural area is located in Lake County, California. The boundary of the Upper Lake Valley viticultural area is as described below: (1) The beginning point is on the Lakeport map at the intersection of Lyons Creek and the western shore of Clear Lake in Section 31, T15N/R9W. From the beginning point, proceed south in a straight line to an unnamed light-duty road known locally as Lafferty Road; then (2) Proceed west along Lafferty Road to its intersection with an unnamed secondary highway known locally as Lakeshore Boulevard; then (3) Proceed north on Lakeshore Boulevard to its intersection with an unnamed light-duty road known locally as Whalen Way; then (4) Proceed west on Whalen Way to its intersection with State Highway 29; then (5) Proceed north on State Highway 29, crossing onto the Upper Lake map, to the intersection of the highway and the southern boundary of Section 13, T15N, R10W; then (6) Proceed west along the southern boundary of Sections 13 and 14 to the VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:09 Apr 15, 2021 Jkt 253001 intersection of the southern boundary of Section 14 with the 1,600-foot elevation contour; then (7) Proceed in a generally northwesterly direction along the meandering 1,600-foot elevation contour to its intersection with an unnamed, unimproved road in Section 17, T15N/ R10W; then (8) Proceed north in a straight line, crossing Scotts Creek, to the 1,600-foot elevation contour in Section 8, T15N/ R10W; then (9) Proceed northeasterly, then southeasterly along the 1,600-foot elevation contour to its intersection with an unnamed 4-wheel drive road in Section 9, T15N/R10W; then (10) Proceed northwest in a straight line to the marked 2,325-foot elevation point on Hell’s Peak; then (11) Proceed southeast in a straight line to the intersection of the 1,600-foot elevation contour and the southern boundary of Section 30 along the Mendocino National Forest boundary, T16N/R9W; then (12) Proceed southeast along the meandering 1,600-foot elevation contour to its third intersection with the Mendocino National Forest boundary, along the eastern boundary of Section 31, T16N/R9W; then (13) Proceed south, then west along the Mendocino National Forest boundary to its intersection with the 1,600-foot elevation contour along the northern boundary of Section 5, T15N/ R9W; then (14) Proceed southeasterly along the meandering 1,600-foot elevation contour, crossing onto the Bartlett Mountain map, to the intersection of the 1,600-foot elevation contour and the Mendocino National Forest boundary along the eastern boundary of Section 9, T15N/9RW; then (15) Proceed south, then east along the Mendocino National Forest boundary to its intersection with the 1,600-foot elevation contour along the northern boundary of Section 15, T15N/ R9W; then (16) Proceed south, then northwest along the meandering 1,600-foot elevation contour, crossing onto the Upper Lake map, and continuing southeasterly along the 1,600-foot elevation contour crossing back and forth between the Bartlett Mountain map and the Upper Lake map, to the intersection of the 1,600-foot elevation contour and an unimproved 4-wheel drive road in Section 21, T15N/R9W; then (17) Continue southeast along the 1,600-foot elevation contour, crossing onto the Lucerne map, to the intersection of the 1,600-foot elevation PO 00000 Frm 00075 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 20111 contour and an unimproved 4-wheel drive road in Section 36, T15N/R9W; then (18) Proceed south in a straight line to the shoreline of Clear Lake; then (19) Proceed northeasterly along the shoreline of Clear Lake, crossing onto the Lakeport map, and continuing southwesterly along the shoreline, crossing Rodman Slough, to return to the beginning point. Signed: January 25, 2021. Mary G. Ryan, Administrator. Approved: March 24, 2021. Timothy E. Skud, Deputy Assistant Secretary (Tax, Trade, and Tariff Policy). [FR Doc. 2021–07626 Filed 4–15–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4810–31–P FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION 47 CFR Parts 2, 15, 25, 27, and 101 [WT Docket No. 20–443; GN Docket No. 17– 183; DA 21–370; FR ID 20758] Expanding Flexible Use of the 12.2– 12.7 GHz Band Federal Communications Commission. ACTION: Proposed rule, extension of comment and reply comment period. AGENCY: In this document, the Federal Communications Commission (Commission) extends the comment and reply comment period of the Notice of the Proposed Rulemaking of the proceeding that was released on January 15, 2021. DATES: The deadline for filing comments is extended to May 7, 2021, and the deadline for filing reply comments is extended to June 7, 2021. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by WT Docket No. 20–443 and GN Docket No. 17–183, by any of the following methods: • Electronic Filers: Comments may be filed electronically using the internet by accessing the ECFS: https:// www.fcc.gov/ecfs. • Paper Filers: Parties who choose to file by paper must file an original and one copy of each filing. If more than one docket or rulemaking number appears in the caption of this proceeding, filers must submit two additional copies for each additional docket or rulemaking number. Filings can be sent by commercial overnight courier, or by first-class or overnight U.S. Postal Service mail. All SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\16APP1.SGM 16APP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 86, Number 72 (Friday, April 16, 2021)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 20102-20111]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2021-07626]


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

DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY

Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau

27 CFR Part 9

[Docket No. TTB-2021-0001; Notice No. 200]
RIN 1513-AC73


Proposed Establishment of the Upper Lake Valley Viticultural Area 
and Modification of the Clear Lake 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 17,360-acre ``Upper Lake Valley'' 
viticultural area in Lake County, California. TTB also proposes to 
expand the boundary of the existing 1,093-square mile Clear Lake 
viticultural area so that the proposed Upper Lake Valley viticultural 
area is wholly within it. Both the established Clear Lake viticultural 
area and the proposed Upper Lake Valley viticultural area are entirely 
within the established North Coast viticultural area. TTB designates 
viticultural areas to allow vintners to better describe the origin of 
their wines and to allow consumers to better identify wines they may 
purchase. TTB invites comments on these proposals.

DATES: Comments must be received by June 15, 2021.

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-2021-0001 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 or U.S. mail, and for full details on how to 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 or modifying the boundary 
of an established AVA, and provides that any interested party may 
petition TTB to establish a grape-growing region as an AVA or to modify 
the boundary of an established 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, 
or modify the boundary of an AVA, must include the following:
     Evidence that the area within the proposed AVA boundary, 
or the region within the proposed expansion area, 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 or defining the boundary of the proposed expansion 
area;
     A narrative description of the features of the proposed 
AVA or proposed expansion area affecting viticulture, such as climate, 
geology, soils, physical features, and elevation, that make the 
proposed AVA or expansion area distinctive and distinguish it from 
adjacent areas

[[Page 20103]]

outside the proposed AVA boundary or established AVA boundary;
     The appropriate United States Geological Survey (USGS) 
map(s) showing the location of the proposed AVA or proposed expansion 
area, with the boundary of the proposed AVA or proposed expansion area 
clearly drawn thereon;
     If the proposed AVA or proposed expansion area is to be 
established within, or overlapping, an existing AVA, an explanation 
that both identifies the attributes of the proposed AVA or proposed 
expansion area that are consistent with the existing AVA, and explains 
how the proposed AVA or proposed expansion area is sufficiently 
distinct from the existing AVA and therefore appropriate for separate 
recognition; and
     A detailed narrative description of the proposed AVA or 
proposed expansion area boundary based on USGS map markings.

Petition To Establish the Upper Lake Valley AVA and Modify the Boundary 
of the Clear Lake AVA

    TTB received a petition from Terry Dereniuk, on behalf of the 
Growers of Upper Lake Valley, proposing the establishment of the 
``Upper Lake Valley'' AVA. The proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA is 
located within Lake County, California, and lies within the established 
North Coast AVA (27 CFR 9.30) and partially within the established 
Clear Lake AVA (27 CFR 9.99). The proposed AVA contains approximately 
17,360 acres and has 16 commercially-producing vineyards covering a 
total of approximately 300 acres. At the time the petition was 
submitted, at least one additional vineyard was planned within the 
proposed AVA.
    Although most of the proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA is located 
within the existing Clear Lake AVA, a small portion of the northwest 
corner of the proposed AVA would, if established, extend beyond the 
boundary of the Clear Lake AVA. To address the overlap of the two AVAs 
and account for viticultural similarities between the proposed Upper 
Lake Valley AVA and the larger Clear Lake AVA, the petition also 
proposes to expand the boundary of the Clear Lake AVA so that the 
entire proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA would be included within the 
Clear Lake AVA.
    According to the petition, the distinguishing features of the 
proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA include its hydrogeology, soils, and 
climate. Although the petition included information on the geology of 
the proposed AVA and the surrounding regions, TTB determined that 
geology is such an integral part of hydrogeology and the 
characteristics of the aquifers the waters therein that it should not 
be considered a distinguishing feature separate from hydrogeology. 
Unless otherwise noted, all information and data pertaining to the 
proposed AVA contained in this document are from the petition for the 
proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA and its supporting exhibits.

Proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA

Name Evidence

    The proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA is located along the northern 
shore of Clear Lake and incorporates the town of Upper Lake, 
California. The petitioners proposed the name ``Upper Lake Valley'' to 
reflect the proposed AVA's topography of alluvial valley floors and the 
surrounding hillsides. The petition included evidence that the name has 
been used to describe the region of the proposed AVA since the late 
1800's. For example, an 1881 book about the history of Lake County 
makes several references to ``Upper Lake Valley.'' \1\ The book 
contains a list of geographical features in Lake County, including an 
entry for ``Upper Lake Valley,'' which is located ``around the head of 
Clear Lake, and is eight miles long and from one to five miles wide.'' 
\2\ In another reference, the book notes that an 1842 land grant 
included ``a part of Upper Lake Valley.'' \3\ A third reference in the 
book states that a series of valleys, including Bachelor Valley, ``all 
center around the head of Clear Lake, and form what is known as Upper 
Lake Valley.'' \4\ TTB notes that Bachelor Valley is located within the 
proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ Palmer, Lyman L., Wallace, W.F., and Wells, Harry L. History 
of Napa and Lake Counties, California. San Francisco: Slocum, Bowen 
& Co., 1881. See Exhibit 6 of the Name Evidence Appendix to the 
petition in Docket TTB-2021-0001 at https://www.regulations.gov.
    \2\ Ibid. page 5.
    \3\ Ibid. page 70.
    \4\ Ibid. page 191.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The petition also included examples of the current use of the name 
``Upper Lake Valley'' to describe the region of the proposed AVA. For 
example, the Lake County Groundwater Management Plan \5\ makes multiple 
references to the Upper Lake Valley groundwater basin and includes a 
map \6\ which shows the basin covering the region of the proposed AVA. 
The Lake County Winegrape Commission's web page notes, ``Mountain 
valleys around Clear Lake, including Big Valley District, Upper Lake 
Valley, Clover Valley, Bachelor Valley, and Scotts Valley, are level 
with deep alluvial deposits.'' \7\ A real estate website \8\ and a 
website for finding city sales tax rates \9\ both include listings for 
``Upper Lake/Upper Lake Valley.'' Finally, a recent newspaper article 
about the history of growing green beans in the region of the proposed 
AVA states that a prominent bean farmer's ``acreage was located in the 
Upper Lake valley [sic].'' \10\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \5\ http://www.lakecountyca.gov/Assets/Departments/WaterResources/IRWMP/Lake+County+Groundwater+Managment+Plan.pdf. See 
Exhibit 1 of the Name Evidence Appendix to the petition.
    \6\ See Figure 1-1 of the Lake County Groundwater Management 
Plan, which is included in Exhibit 1 of the Name Evidence Appendix 
to the petition.
    \7\ https://www.lakecountywinegrape.org/region/terroir/soils. 
See Exhibit 2 of the Name Evidence Appendix to the petition.
    \8\ www.redfin.com. See Exhibit 4 of the Name Evidence Appendix 
to the petition.
    \9\ www.sale-tax.com/UpperLakeUpperLakeValleyCA. See Exhibit 3 
of the Name Evidence Appendix to the petition.
    \10\ www.record-bee.com/2016/06/17/blue-lakes-green-beans. See 
Exhibit 5 of the Name Evidence Appendix to the petition.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Boundary Evidence

    The proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA encompasses a series of valleys, 
along with their surrounding hillsides, that run in a north-
northeasterly direction from the shores of Clear Lake. The northern 
boundary is generally concurrent with the northern boundary of the 
established Clear Lake AVA and separates the proposed AVA from the 
higher, rugged elevations of the Mendocino National Forest. The eastern 
boundary follows the 1,600-foot elevation contour and also separates 
the proposed AVA from the Mendocino National Forest. The southern 
boundary follows the northern shore of Clear Lake. A portion of the 
western boundary follows a series of roads and the 1,600-foot elevation 
contour to separate the proposed AVA from the higher terrain of the 
Mayacamas Mountains. The remainder of the western boundary is a 
straight line between points that is concurrent with the established 
Clear Lake AVA boundary and also separates the proposed AVA from the 
Mayacamas Mountains.

Distinguishing Features

    The distinguishing features of the proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA 
are its hydrogeology, soils, and climate.

Hydrogeology

    According to the petition, the proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA has 
four identified water-bearing formations: Quaternary alluvium; 
Pleistocene terrace deposits; Pleistocene lake and floodplain deposits; 
and Plio-

[[Page 20104]]

pleistocene cache creek. These formations make up the Upper Lake 
Groundwater Basin, which covers the majority of the proposed AVA. The 
Quaternary alluvium and Pleistocene terrace, lake, and floodplain 
deposits are the primary sources of groundwater within the proposed 
AVA. The petition states that groundwater levels within the Upper Lake 
Groundwater Basin are generally within 10 feet of the surface and 
fluctuate between 5 and 15 feet lower in the fall. Lowering of water 
levels during dry months is not excessive and is balanced by rapid 
recovery of water level elevations during the wet months.
    According to a bulletin from the California Department of Water 
Resources, the predominant groundwater types in the Upper Lake 
Groundwater Basin are magnesium bicarbonate and calcium carbonate 
water.\11\ The bulletin also shows high iron, manganese, and calcium 
levels in the groundwater, as well as high electrical conductivity. 
Boron was detected in some wells used in the bulletin's analysis, but 
high boron levels are not associated with the groundwater in the 
proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA. The bulletin's analysis showed a total 
dissolved solids average of 500 mg/L.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \11\ California Department of Water Resources. California's 
Ground Water Bulletin 118. California Department of Water Resources: 
1975. Updated 2004; see https://water.ca.gov/-/media/DWR-website/web 
pages/Programs/Groundwater-Management/Bulletin-118/Files/2003-Basin-
Descriptions/5_013_UpperLake.pdf.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The petition states that water for irrigation is critical for wine 
grape production within the proposed AVA. The water quality in the 
proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA is suitable for irrigation and has few 
impediments. The high levels of calcium are desirable, since low levels 
of calcium may cause deficiencies in vine growth. Low levels of boron 
in the groundwater are also desirable for irrigation purposes, as 
levels of 2 mg/L and above are toxic to most plants. The low levels of 
dissolved solids are also beneficial, since total dissolved solids 
levels above 2,000 mg/L are very likely to cause vine growth problems. 
However, the high iron and manganese levels in the water of the 
proposed AVA can cause irrigation equipment to clog.
    The Gravelly Valley Groundwater Basin lies to the north of the 
proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA, within the Mendocino National Forest. 
The petition states that no additional information was available about 
this basin. To the east of the proposed AVA lies the High Valley 
Groundwater Basin, which is formed by rocks of the Jurassic-Cretaceous 
Franciscan Formation and Quaternary Holocene volcanics. The groundwater 
is characterized as magnesium bicarbonate with high levels of ammonia, 
phosphorous, chloride, iron, boron, and manganese. During the spring, 
the High Valley Groundwater Basin water level is 10 to 30 feet below 
the surface, with the summer drawdown 5 to 10 feet below the spring 
level. Spring groundwater levels have fluctuated widely over the years, 
with incidences of slow recovery after periods of drought.
    Additionally, Clear Lake is to the immediate south of the proposed 
AVA, while the Big Valley Groundwater Basin is farther south. The 
prominent groundwater formations in this basin are Quaternary Alluvium 
and Upper Pliocene to Lower Pliocene Volcanic Ash Deposit. California 
Groundwater Bulletin 118 notes that boron is an impairment in the water 
in some parts of the Big Valley Groundwater Basin.\12\ Groundwater 
levels in the northern portion of the Big Valley Basin are usually 5 
feet below the surface and decrease 10 to 50 feet during the summer. In 
the uplands of the basin, the depth to water in the spring is much 
deeper, ranging from 70 to 90 feet below the surface and dropping an 
additional 30 to 40 feet over the summer. To the west of the proposed 
AVA is the Scotts Valley Groundwater Basin, which consists of rocks 
from the Jurassic-Cretaceous Franciscan Formation. California 
Groundwater Bulletin 118 lists iron, manganese, and boron as 
impairments of groundwater in this basin.\13\ Depth to water in the 
spring is 10 feet below the surface on the average, with spring to 
summer drawdown ranging from 30 to 60 feet below spring levels 
depending on location across the Scotts Valley Groundwater Basin.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \12\ California Department of Water Resources. California's 
Ground Water Bulletin 118. California Department of Water Resources: 
1975. Updated 2004; https://water.ca.gov/-/media/DWR-website/web 
pages/Programs/Groundwater-Management/Bulletin-118/Files/2003-Basin-
Descriptions/5_015_BigValley.pdf.
    \13\ California Department of Water Resources. California's 
Ground Water Bulletin 118. California Department of Water Resources: 
1975. Updated 2004; https://water.ca.gov/-/media/DWR-website/web 
pages/Programs/Groundwater-Management/Bulletin-118/Files/2003-Basin-
Descriptions/5_014_ScottsValley.pdf.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Soils
    According to the petition, many different soil series make up the 
soils of the proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA. However, three general 
soil map units broadly characterize the area: Millsholm-Skyhigh-Bressa; 
Still-Lupoyoma; and Tulelake-Fluvaquentic-Haplawuolls. Soils from these 
three units make up over 56 percent of the total area of the proposed 
AVA. Millsholm-Skyhigh-Bressa soils are formed from sandstone and shale 
and are primarily loams and clay loams. These soils are moderately 
deep, moderately-well to well-drained, and have slopes that range from 
moderately sloping to steep. Soils from the Still-Lupoyoma general map 
unit occur on the nearly-level valley floors and consist of loams and 
silt loams. These soils are very deep, with rooting depths of 60 inches 
or more, and are moderately-well to well-drained. Soils from the 
Tulelake-Fluvaquentic-Haplawuolls map unit occur in marshy and 
reclaimed areas around Clear Lake and Tule Lake. Soils of this unit are 
very deep silty clay loams with poor to very poor drainage.
    The petition states that soil composition, depth, and drainage are 
key components of vine and fruit development. According to the 
petition, most of the vineyards in the proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA 
are planted on Still-Luopyoma soils due to the gentle slopes, which 
create less of an erosion hazard and provide good drainage. These soils 
are also deep, which allows the roots to extend farther than in shallow 
soils. Grapevines are ``deep-rooted plants that fully explore the soil 
to 6 to 10 feet or more if root penetration is not obstructed by 
hardpan, impervious clay substratum, toxic concentrations of salts, or 
a free water table.'' \14\ The petition states that soils of the 
Tulelake-Fluvaquentic-Haplawuolls map unit, which are also very deep, 
may also be suitable for viticulture where poor drainage can be 
mitigated. Although soils of the Millsholm-Skyhigh-Bressa map unit are 
more shallow than soils of the other two map units, the petition states 
that shallow soils can also be desirable for viticulture because 
``[t]he quality of fruit is better, although yields are usually lower, 
on soils * * * limited in depth by hardpan, rocks, or clay substrata.'' 
\15\ However, because these soils are found on steeper slopes, there is 
a risk of erosion.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \14\ Albert J. Winkler et al., General Viticulture (Berkeley: 
University of California Press, 2nd ed. 1974, page 71.
    \15\ Ibid, page 71.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    To the north of the proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA, within the 
Mendocino National Forest, the soils belong to the Maymen-Etsel and the 
Sanhedrin-Speaker-Kekawaka soil map units. These soils are not very 
prevalent in the proposed AVA and are described as shallow soils with 
outcroppings of

[[Page 20105]]

large stones, including greywackes and sandstone. To the east of the 
proposed AVA, the most common soil map units are the Maymen-Etsel, 
Sobrante-Guenoc-Hambright, and the Sanhedrin-Speaker-Kekawaka units, 
which are also not common within the proposed AVA and occur mostly on 
very steep slopes. South of the proposed AVA, within the Big Valley 
District AVA (27 CFR 9.232), the soils belong to the Cole-Clear Lake 
Variant-Clear Lake general soil map unit. To the west of the proposed 
AVA, the soils are from the Millsholm-Skyhigh-Bressa soil map unit and 
then transition to the Maymen-Etsel soil map unit in the higher 
elevations of the Mayacamas Mountains.
Climate
    The petition for the proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA included 
information on the climate of the region, including rainfall, frost-
free days, wind, and growing degree days.
    Rainfall. According to the petition, rainfall amounts in Lake 
County vary greatly due to the rapid changes in topography between the 
higher elevations of the Mayacamas Mountains in the western portion of 
the county and the lower elevations of Bachelor, Middle Creek, and 
Clover Creek Valleys, where the proposed AVA is located. The table 
below shows the average annual rainfall amounts for the weather station 
in Upper Lake, California, which is within the proposed AVA, for the 
years 2011 through 2016. The data was collected by the Western Weather 
Group \16\ on behalf of the Lake County Winegrape Commission. Data was 
unavailable for 2013.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \16\ http://www.westernwx.com/LakeCo/.

 Table 1--Average Annual Rainfall Amounts for Upper Lake Weather Station
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                   Year                      Rainfall  amount  (inches)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
2016.....................................  41.43.
2015.....................................  20.53.
2014.....................................  38.34.
2013.....................................  unavailable.
2012.....................................  41.08.
2011.....................................  28.43.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The average annual rainfall amount for the available years was 
33.96. The petition states that, although rainfall data was not 
available from the weather station for 2013, the average rainfall 
amounts for the available years is comparable to the average rainfall 
recorded by the Western Region Climate Center \17\ for the period of 
January 1, 1893, through November 12, 2006, which is 34.09 inches.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \17\ www.wrcc.dri.edu/cgi-bin/cliMAIN.pl?ca9173.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The petition also included annual predicted rainfall amounts for 
the Upper Lake Groundwater Basin, where the proposed AVA is located, 
and the surrounding groundwater basins. The data shows that annual 
predicted rainfall amounts for the Upper Lake Groundwater Basin are 
higher than the predicted amounts for each of the surrounding basins, 
except for the basin to the north of the proposed AVA.

              Table 2--Annual Predicted Rainfall Amounts 18
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                             Rainfall
            Basin name                 Direction from         amounts
                                        proposed AVA         (inches)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Upper Lake Basin..................  Within..............           35-43
Big Valley Basin..................  South...............           22-35
High Valley Basin.................  East................           27-35
Scotts Valley Basin...............  West................           31-35
Gravelly Valley Basin.............  North...............              49
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The petition states that the high annual rainfall amounts in the 
proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA recharge the Upper Lake Groundwater 
Basin, which is used for irrigation. The rainfall amounts are also 
sufficient during the growing season to provide hydration for 
grapevines. The petition states that grapes require an average of 8 to 
11 acre inches of water per year in order to successfully produce and 
ripen fruit.\19\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \18\ California Department of Water Resources. California's 
Ground Water Bulletin 118. California Department of Water Resources: 
1975. Updated 2004.
    \19\ Ryan Keiffer, Agricultural Technician, UCCE Mendocino, and 
Dr. Broc Zoller, Pest Control Advisor, Kelseyville. Vineyard Water 
Use in Lake County, California. December 1, 2014.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Frost-free days. According to the petition, the growing season, 
which is broadly defined as the number of days between the last frost 
event in the spring and the first frost event in the fall, is an 
important indicator for successful wine grape cultivation. The 
following table shows the median, maximum, and minimum number of frost-
free days recorded at the Upper Lake climate station from 2011 through 
2016,\20\ as well as from the seven established AVAs in Lake County, 
which were derived from the 1971-2000 climate normals.\21\ Data was not 
provided for the region to the north of the proposed AVA.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \20\ Data collected by the Western Weather Group on behalf of 
the Lake County Winegrape Commission; see http://www.westernwx.com/LakeCo/.
    \21\ Jones, G. V. (2014). Climate Characteristics for Winegrape 
Production in Lake County, California. Open Report to the Lake 
County Winegrape Commission. p. 14.

                                            Table 3--Frost-Free Days
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
             AVA name (direction from proposed AVA)                   Median          Maximum         Minimum
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Upper Lake Valley...............................................             202             232             172
Big Valley District-Lake County (South).........................             195             228             190
Kelsey Bench-Lake County (South)................................             198             227             192
Clear Lake (Encompasses)........................................             200             260             174
Guenoc Valley (Southeast).......................................             216             261             211
High Valley (East)..............................................             236             255             190

[[Page 20106]]

 
Red Hills Lake County (South)...................................             241             255             194
Benmore Valley (West)...........................................             248             250             243
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The data in the table indicates that the proposed Upper Lake Valley 
AVA has substantially shorter median, maximum, and minimum frost-free 
periods than the established AVAs to the east, southeast, and west, and 
a longer frost-free period than the established AVAs to the south, 
except for the Red Hills Lake County AVA (27 CFR 9.169). The proposed 
AVA has a frost-free period similar in length to that of the Clear Lake 
AVA, which encompasses the proposed AVA and also includes the Big 
Valley District-Lake County (27 CFR 9.232), Kelsey Bench-Lake County 
(27 CFR 9.233), High Valley (27 CFR 9.189), and Red Hills Lake County 
AVAs.
    The petition states that the length of the frost-free period for a 
region impacts viticulture. Spring frosts that occur after bud break 
can cause tender shoots and forming grape clusters to burn and die, 
resulting in crop loss and lower yields. Early fall frosts impact the 
ability of sugar levels in the grapes to reach a desirable Brix level.
    Wind. The petition states that the winds in the proposed Upper Lake 
Valley AVA are influenced by the mountains that lie to the west, north, 
and east, and by Clear Lake to the south. Winds within the proposed AVA 
are predominantly from the south-southeast or north during the daytime 
and from the north during the night. Wind speeds within the proposed 
AVA are lower than within many other parts of Lake County, but the 
winds are frequent during both the day and night. Winds are calm (below 
1 mile per hour) only 2.23 percent of the time during daytime hours and 
3.04 percent of the time during nighttime hours.\22\ The highest 
daytime wind speeds range from 11 to 20 miles per hour but only 
occurred 1.25 percent of the time. Wind speeds between 1 and 5 miles 
per hour accounted for 82.88 of the daytime wind speeds. Nighttime wind 
speeds were also mostly between 1 and 5 miles per hour, accounting for 
88.86 of the nighttime wind speeds. Wind speeds above 20 miles per hour 
were not recorded within the proposed AVA.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \22\ Data collected by the Western Weather Group from 2008-2013.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The petition included wind speed information from the Kelsey Bench-
Lake County, Red Hills Lake County, and Guenoc Valley AVAs (27 CFR 
9.26) for comparison. That information is presented in the table below 
and was collected from the same time period as the wind speed data from 
the proposed AVA. TTB notes that none of the surrounding region had 
wind speeds above 30 miles per hour.

                            Table 4--Daytime Wind Speed Data for Surrounding Regions
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                        Frequency of wind speed  (percent)
Region  (direction from proposed -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
              AVA)                 <1  mile per   1-5  miles per    6-10  miles    11-20  miles    21-30  miles
                                       hour            hour          per hour        per hour        per hour
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Kelsey Bench-Lake County (South)            8.44           64.02           22.08            5.46               0
Red Hills Lake County (South)...            5.21           71.22           21.34            2.23               0
Guenoc Valley (Southeast).......           10.89           77.23            7.43            3.96             0.5
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


                           Table 5--Nighttime Wind Speed Data for Surrounding Regions
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                        Frequency of wind speed  (percent)
Region  (direction from proposed -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
              AVA)                                  1-5  miles/    6-10  miles/    11-20  miles/   21-30  miles/
                                   <1  mile/hour       hour            hour            hour            hour
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Kelsey Bench-Lake County (South)           12.66           69.87           11.90            5.06            0.51
Red Hills Lake County (South)...           11.42           65.23           21.83            1.52               0
Guenoc Valley (Southeast).......           10.89           77.23            7.43            3.96             0.5
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Although the predominant daytime and nighttime wind speeds in the 
proposed AVA and the surrounding regions were between 1 and 5 miles per 
hour, the proposed Upper Lake Valley had the greatest percent of wind 
speeds within that range. The proposed AVA also had the smallest 
percentage of calm winds, defined as wind speeds of less than 1 mile 
per hour. The proposed AVA also did not record any wind speeds over 20 
miles per hour, whereas the Kelsey Bench-Lake County AVA recorded 
daytime wind speeds over 20 miles per hour and the Guenoc Valley AVA 
recorded both daytime and nighttime wind speeds over 20 miles per hour.
    The petition states that air movement keeps the fruit and canopies 
cool and dry. In this way, the air movement plays a key role by 
preventing mildew and other pests in the vineyard and translates to a 
lesser need for application of pesticides.
    Heat summation. The petition provided information on the heat 
summation values of the proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA and the 
surrounding regions. Heat summation is calculated as the sum of the 
mean monthly temperature above 50 degrees Fahrenheit (F) during the 
growing season from April 1 to October 31 and is expressed as growing 
degree days

[[Page 20107]]

(GDDs). A baseline of 50 degrees F is used because there is almost no 
shoot growth below this temperature.\23\ The following table is derived 
from information in the petition and shows the median, maximum, and 
minimum GDD accumulations for the proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA and 
the surrounding regions.\24\ GDD information was not provided for the 
region to the north of the proposed AVA.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \23\ Albert J. Winkler et al., General Viticulture (Berkeley: 
University of California Press, 2nd ed. 1974), pages 67-71.
    \24\ The GDD data for the proposed AVA was calculated from data 
from the weather station in Upper Lake from 2011-2016. The data from 
the surrounding regions was calculated from 1971-2000 climate 
normal. See Jones, G.V. (2014). Climate Characteristics for 
Winegrape Production in Lake County, California. Open Report to the 
Lake County Winegrape Commission. p. 23.

                                          Table 6--Growing Degree Days
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
              Region  (direction from proposed AVA)                   Median          Maximum         Minimum
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Proposed AVA....................................................           3,158           3,343           2,809
Clear Lake (Encompasses)........................................           3,267           3,811           2,799
High Valley (East)..............................................           3,548           3,755           3,139
Guenoc Valley (Southeast).......................................           3,481           3,796           3,420
Big Valley District-Lake County (South).........................           3,245           3,281           3,171
Kelsey Bench-Lake County (South)................................           3,250           3,593           3,189
Red Hills Lake County (South)...................................           3,595           3,753           3,155
Benmore Valley (West)...........................................           3,248           3,332           3,155
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    According to the data in the table, the proposed Upper Lake Valley 
AVA has a lower median GDD accumulation than each of the surrounding 
regions for which data was provided. The maximum GDD accumulation for 
the proposed AVA is lower than each of the regions except for the Big 
Valley District-Lake County AVA to the south and the Benmore Valley AVA 
to the west. The minimum GDD accumulation for the proposed AVA is also 
lower than each of the surrounding regions except for the larger Clear 
Lake AVA, which encompasses the proposed AVA as well as the Big Valley 
District-Lake County, Kelsey Bench-Big Valley, and Red Hills Lake 
County AVAs and most of the High Valley AVA.
    The petition states that GDD accumulations are an important factor 
in predicting a site's suitability for growing specific grape 
varieties. Varietals that require warmer climates in order to ripen 
will do better in regions with higher GDD accumulations. The petition 
states that the moderate climate of the proposed AVA makes it suitable 
for growing a variety of grapes, including Sauvignon Blanc.

Summary of Distinguishing Features

    In summary, the hydrogeology, soils, and climate of the proposed 
Upper Lake Valley AVA distinguish it from the surrounding regions. The 
following table summarizes the distinguishing features of the proposed 
AVA and compares them to the features of the surrounding regions.

                                   Table 7--Summary of Distinguishing Features
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                Region                       Hydrogeology                Soils                   Climate
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Proposed AVA.........................  Upper Lake Groundwater   Millsholm-Skyhigh-Bress  Average annual rainfall
                                        Basin; high iron,        a, Still-Lupoyoma, and   of 35-43 inches;
                                        manganese, and calcium   Tulelake-Fluvaquentic-   median frost-free
                                        levels; groundwater      Haplawuolls soil map     period of 202 days;
                                        levels generally         units; moderately deep   wind speeds
                                        within 10 feet of the    to very deep; poorly     predominantly between
                                        surface, with minimal    drained to well-         1 and 5 mph, are calm
                                        seasonal fluctuations;   drained.                 2.23-3.04 percent of
                                        low levels of                                     the time, and do not
                                        dissolved solids.                                 exceed 20 mph; median
                                                                                          GDD accumulations of
                                                                                          3,158.
North................................  Gravelly Valley          Maymen-Etsel and         Average annual rainfall
                                        Groundwater Basin.       Sanhedrin-Speaker-Keka   of 49 inches; other
                                                                 waka soil map units;     climate data not
                                                                 contain outcroppings     available.
                                                                 of large stones.
East.................................  High Valley Groundwater  Maymen-Estel, Sobrante-  Average annual rainfall
                                        Basin; high levels of    Guenoc-Hambright, and    of 27-35 inches;
                                        ammonia, phosphorous,    Sanhedrin-Speaker-Keka   longer frost-free
                                        chloride, iron, boron,   waka soil map units;     period; winds are more
                                        and manganese;           found on very steep      frequently calm but do
                                        groundwater levels 10    slopes.                  exceed 20 mph; higher
                                        to 30 feet below the                              median GDD
                                        surface, with seasonal                            accumulations.
                                        fluctuations and
                                        incidences of slow
                                        recovery after periods
                                        of drought.
South................................  Big Valley Groundwater   Cole-Clear Lake Variant- Average annual rainfall
                                        Basin; boron is an       Clear Lake soil map      of 22-35 inches;
                                        impairment in some       unit.                    longer median frost-
                                        parts of the basin;                               free period in Red
                                        groundwater levels                                Hills Lake County AVA,
                                        vary between northern                             and a shorter median
                                        and southern parts of                             frost-free period in
                                        the basin but are                                 Big Valley District-
                                        generally deeper than                             Lake County AVA; winds
                                        within proposed AVA                               are more frequently
                                        and have greater                                  calm but do exceed 20
                                        seasonal fluctuations.                            mph; higher median GDD
                                                                                          accumulations.

[[Page 20108]]

 
West.................................  Scotts Valley            Millsholm-Skyhigh-Bress  Average annual rainfall
                                        Groundwater Basin;       a soil map unit,         of 31-35 inches;
                                        iron, manganese, and     transitioning to         longer median frost-
                                        boron are listed as      Maymen-Etsel soil map    free period; wind data
                                        impairments;             unit in the higher       not available; higher
                                        groundwater is 10 feet   elevations of the        median GDD
                                        below the surface on     Mayacamas Mountains.     accumulations.
                                        the average, with
                                        seasonal fluctuations
                                        depending on location
                                        across the Scotts
                                        Valley Basin.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Comparison of the Proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA to the Existing Lake 
County AVA

    T.D. ATF-174, which published in the Federal Register on May 8, 
1984 (49 FR 19466), established the Clear Lake AVA. T.D. ATF-174 cited 
elevation, climate, and watershed as distinguishing features of the 
Clear Lake AVA. Elevations for vineyards ranged from 1,300 to 1,800 
feet. The Clear Lake AVA has a growing season of 223 days and an 
average annual rainfall amount of about 37 inches. The AVA is also 
located within the Clear Lake watershed, which is said to affect the 
climate patterns of the AVA.
    The proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA is located in the northern 
portion of the Clear Lake AVA and shares some of the same general 
features. For instance, vineyards in the proposed AVA are planted at 
elevations between 1,330 and 1,450 feet, which is within the range of 
vineyard elevations for the Clear Lake AVA. The proposed AVA is also 
within the Clear Lake watershed, and Clear Lake has a moderating effect 
on the proposed AVA's climate. However, the proposed Upper Lake Valley 
AVA petition describes the Clear Lake AVA as having many different 
microclimates, including the proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA. As a 
microclimate within the Clear Lake AVA, the proposed AVA has unique 
characteristics, which may warrant its establishment as a new AVA. For 
example, the proposed AVA has a shorter median growing season and 
receives more rainfall annually than the Clear Lake AVA overall. The 
proposed AVA also has a median heat summation of 3,158 GDDs, while the 
Clear Lake AVA has a higher overall median heat summation of 3,267 
GDDs.

Proposed Modification of the Clear Lake AVA

    As previously noted, the petition to establish the proposed Upper 
Lake Valley AVA also requested an expansion of the established Clear 
Lake AVA. The proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA is located in the northern 
portion of the Clear Lake AVA. Most of the proposed Upper Lake Valley 
AVA, if established, would be located within the current boundary of 
the Clear Lake AVA. However, unless the boundary of the Clear Lake AVA 
is modified, a small portion of the proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA, 
along Scotts Creek, would be outside the Clear Lake AVA.
    Currently, the Clear Lake AVA boundary in the vicinity of the 
proposed AVA and the proposed expansion area follows a straight line 
drawn from the summit of Griner Peak, south of the proposed AVA, to the 
summit of Hells Peak, north of the proposed AVA. The portion of the 
proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA that would be outside the Clear Lake AVA 
(the ``proposed expansion area'') follows Scotts Creek west of Tule 
Lake and contains one vineyard. If the proposed modification of the 
Clear Lake AVA boundary is finalized, the entire proposed Upper Lake 
Valley AVA would be situated within the Clear Lake AVA.
    The petition states that the name ``Clear Lake'' is associated with 
the proposed expansion area. T.D. ATF-174 noted that Scotts Valley is a 
prominent growing area within the Clear Lake AVA. The southern portion 
of Scotts Valley, as well as the portion of Scotts Creek east of Tule 
Lake, are both currently within the Clear Lake AVA. The proposed 
expansion area contains the northern portion of Scotts Valley and the 
portion of Scotts Creek west of Tule Lake. The expansion petition 
states that because Scotts Valley, and by extension Scotts Creek which 
runs through the valley, was specifically mentioned in the original 
Clear Lake AVA petition as a region within the area known as ``Clear 
Lake,'' the proposed expansion area also meets this criteria to be 
known as ``Clear Lake.''
    T.D. ATF-174 defined elevation, watershed, and climate as the 
distinguishing features of the Clear Lake AVA. The expansion petition 
asserts that the proposed expansion area shares these characteristics 
of the Clear Lake AVA. First, elevations within the Clear Lake AVA 
range from 1,300 to over 4,000 feet, according to T.D. ATF-174. At the 
time the AVA was established, most of the vineyards were planted on 
flat or gently rolling land with elevations between 1,300 and 1,800 
feet. The proposed expansion petition states that elevations within the 
proposed expansion area are similar to those of the Clear Lake AVA. The 
vineyard within the proposed expansion area is located at approximately 
1,360 feet, well within the range of elevations of other vineyards 
found in the Clear Lake AVA.
    T.D. ATF-174 stated that the Clear Lake watershed is an important 
feature of the Clear Lake AVA because of its effect on the climate 
within the AVA. The proposed expansion petition included a map of the 
Clear Lake watershed, which shows that the entirety of Scotts Creek, 
including the portion within the proposed expansion area, is within the 
Clear Lake watershed. The map is included as Figure 5 in the petition 
addendum and is included in the public docket.
    Finally, T.D. ATF-174 described the climate of the Clear Lake AVA. 
Annual rainfall within the established AVA was approximately 37 inches, 
and the region had a frost-free period of approximately 223 days. 
Within the Clear Lake AVA, growing degree accumulations placed the 
northern portion in the Winkler Region II and the southern portion in 
Winkler Region III, including the portion of Scotts Valley currently 
within the AVA. According to the proposed expansion petition, the 
average annual rainfall within the proposed expansion area from 2012 
through 2017 was 33.61 inches. Although this is lower than the average 
annual rainfall amount for the Clear Lake AVA described in T.D. ATF-
174, it is within the range of the 2012-2017 rainfall amounts for other 
locations within the Clear Lake AVA which were included in the 
expansion petition. Those average amounts ranged from a high of 36.37 
at Upper Lake to a low of 23.68 at Kelseyville. Within the proposed 
expansion area, growing degree accumulations for the period from 2013 
to 2016 ranged from 2,985 to 3,364, which places the region in

[[Page 20109]]

Winkler Regions II and III, similar to the Clear Lake AVA as described 
in T.D. ATF-174.
    TTB notes that the expansion petition included data on the frost-
free period of the proposed expansion area and other regions within the 
Clear Lake AVA. However, the data suggested that the frost-free period 
in the proposed expansion area is shorter than that of the Clear Lake 
AVA. Therefore, based on the data, TTB cannot determine that the frost-
free period within the proposed expansion area is the same as within 
the Clear Lake AVA.

Comparison of the Proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA to the Existing North 
Coast AVA

    The North Coast AVA was established by T.D. ATF-145, published in 
the Federal Register on September 21, 1983 (48 FR 42973). It includes 
all or portions of Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino, Lake, Marin, and Solano 
Counties in California. T.D. ATF-145 describes the topography of the 
North Coast AVA as ``valleys between the coast ranges running parallel 
to the Pacific Ocean shore and the lower slopes of these ranges.'' GDD 
accumulations for the North Coast AVA range from Region I to Region 
III.\25\ Average rainfall in the North Coast AVA varies widely, ranging 
from 24.8 inches in one location in the AVA to 62.2 inches in another 
part of the AVA.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \25\ Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA shares some of the same general 
characteristics as the North Coast AVA. The proposed AVA is comprised 
of valleys between mountainous areas and the lower slopes of the 
mountains. The GDD accumulations for the proposed AVA classify it as a 
low Region III. However, the proposed AVA is much more uniform in its 
climatic features, namely temperature, soils, and topography than the 
diverse, multicounty North Coast AVA. In this regard, TTB notes that 
T.D. ATF-145 specifically states that ``approval of this viticultural 
area does not preclude approval of additional areas, either wholly 
contained with the North Coast, or partially overlapping the North 
Coast,'' and that ``smaller viticultural areas tend to be more uniform 
in their geographical and climatic characteristics, while very large 
areas such as the North Coast tend to exhibit generally similar 
characteristics, in this case the influence of maritime air off of the 
Pacific Ocean and San Pablo Bay.'' Thus, the proposal to establish the 
Upper Lake Valley AVA is consistent with what was envisioned when the 
North Coast AVA was established.

TTB Determination

    TTB concludes that the petition to establish the 17,360-acre Upper 
Lake Valley AVA and to concurrently modify the boundary of the 
established Clear Lake AVA merits consideration and public comment, as 
invited in this notice of proposed rulemaking.
    TTB is proposing the establishment of the new AVA and the 
modification of the existing AVA as one action. Accordingly, if TTB 
establishes the proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA, then the proposed 
boundary modification of the Clear Lake would be approved concurrently. 
If TTB does not establish the proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA, then the 
present Clear Lake AVA boundary would not be modified.

Boundary Description

    See the narrative description of the boundary of the petitioned-for 
AVA and the proposed expansion of the Clear Lake 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 
Upper Lake Valley AVA boundary and the proposed expansion of the Clear 
Lake 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, ``Upper Lake 
Valley,'' will be recognized as a name of viticultural significance 
under Sec.  4.39(i)(3) of the TTB regulations (27 CFR 4.39(i)(3)). The 
text of the proposed regulation clarifies this point. Consequently, 
wine bottlers using the name ``Upper Lake Valley'' in a brand name, 
including a trademark, or in another label reference as to the origin 
of the wine, would have to ensure that the product is eligible to use 
the AVA name as an appellation of origin if this proposed rule is 
adopted as a final rule.
    The approval of the proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA would not affect 
any existing AVA, and any bottlers using ``Clear Lake'' or ``North 
Coast'' as an appellation of origin or in a brand name for wines made 
from grapes grown within the Clear Lake or North Coast AVAs would not 
be affected by the establishment of this new AVA. The establishment of 
the proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA would allow vintners to use ``Upper 
Lake Valley,'' ``Clear Lake,'' and ``North Coast'' as appellations of 
origin for wines made from grapes grown within the proposed Upper Lake 
Valley AVA if the wines meet the eligibility requirements for the 
appellation. Additionally, vintners would be allowed to use ``Upper 
Lake Valley,'' ``Clear Lake,'' and ``North Coast'' as appellations of 
origin for wines made from grapes grown within the proposed Clear Lake 
AVA expansion area if the wines meet the eligibility requirements for 
the appellation.

Public Participation

Comments Invited

    TTB invites comments from interested members of the public on 
whether it should establish the proposed AVA and concurrently modify 
the boundary of the established Clear Lake AVA. TTB is interested in 
receiving comments on the sufficiency and accuracy of the name, 
boundary, soils, climate, hydrogeology, and other required information 
submitted in support of the petition. In addition, given the proposed 
Upper Lake Valley AVA's location within the existing Clear Lake and 
North Coast AVAs, TTB is interested in comments on whether the evidence 
submitted in the petition regarding the distinguishing features of the 
proposed AVA sufficiently differentiates it from the existing 
established AVAs. TTB is also interested in comments on whether the 
geographic features of the proposed AVA are so distinguishable from the 
surrounding Clear Lake or North Coast AVA that the proposed Upper Lake 
Valley AVA should no longer be part of

[[Page 20110]]

that AVA. Please provide any available specific information in support 
of your comments.
    TTB also invites comments on the proposed expansion of the existing 
Clear Lake AVA. TTB is specifically interested in receiving comments on 
the similarity of the proposed expansion area to the established Clear 
Lake AVA, as well as the differences between the proposed expansion 
area and the areas outside the Clear Lake AVA. Comments should address 
the boundaries, elevation, climate, watershed, and any other pertinent 
information that supports or opposes the proposed Clear Lake AVA 
boundary expansion.
    Because of the potential impact of the establishment of the 
proposed Upper Lake Valley AVA on wine labels that include the term 
``Upper Lake Valley'' as discussed above under Impact on Current Wine 
Labels, TTB is particularly interested in comments regarding whether 
there will be a conflict between the proposed 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-2021-
0001 on ``Regulations.gov,'' the Federal e-rulemaking portal, at 
https://www.regulations.gov. A direct link to that docket is available 
under Notice No. 200 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.
     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. 200, and 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 via Regulations.gov, please 
use the ``organization'' version of the comment form and include the 
entity's name, as well as your name and position title in the comment. 
If you comment via postal mail, please submit your entity's comment on 
letterhead.
    You may also write to the Administrator before the comment closing 
date to ask for a public hearing. The Administrator reserves the right 
to determine whether to hold a public hearing.

Confidentiality

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

Public Disclosure

    TTB will post, and you may view, copies of this notice, selected 
supporting materials, and any online or mailed comments received about 
this proposal within Docket No. TTB-2021-0001 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. 200. You may 
also reach the relevant docket through the Regulations.gov search page 
at https://www.regulations.gov.
    If provided, 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 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.

0
2. Amend Sec.  9.99 by:
0
a. Removing the period at the end of paragraph (b)(4) and adding a 
semicolon in its place;
0
b. Adding paragraph (b)(5);
0
c. Redesignating paragraphs (c)(11) through (c)(17) as paragraphs 
(c)(15) through (c)(21); and
0
d. Adding new paragraphs (c)(11) through (c)(14).
    The additions read as follows:


Sec.  9.99   Clear Lake.

* * * * *
    (b) * * *
    (5) ``Upper Lake Quadrangle, California,'' 7.5 minute series, 1996.
    (c) * * *
    (11) Then southeasterly in a straight line, crossing onto the Upper 
Lake quadrangle, to the intersection of the 1,600-foot elevation 
contour and an unnamed 4-wheel drive road in Section 9, T15N/R10W;
    (12) Then northwesterly, then southwesterly along the 1,600-foot

[[Page 20111]]

elevation contour to a point in Section 8, T15N/R10W, that is due north 
of the westernmost structure in a row of three structures located south 
of Scotts Creek;
    (13) Then south in a straight line, crossing over Scotts Creek and 
the westernmost structure, to the intersection with an unnamed, 
unimproved road and the 1,600-foot elevation contour in Section 17, 
T15N/R10W;
    (14) Then generally east along the 1,600-foot elevation contour to 
its second intersection with an unnamed, unimproved road in section 15, 
T15N/R10W;
* * * * *
0
3. Subpart C is amended by adding Sec.  9.to read as follows:

Subpart C--Approved American Viticultural Areas


Sec.  9.___  Upper Lake Valley.

    (a) Name. The name of the viticultural area described in this 
section is ``Upper Lake Valley''. For purposes of part 4 of this 
chapter, ``Upper Lake Valley'' is a term of viticultural significance.
    (b) Approved maps. The four United States Geological Survey (USGS) 
1:24,000 scale topographic maps used to determine the boundary of the 
Upper Lake Valley viticultural area are titled:
    (1) Lakeport, 1958; photorevised 1978; minor revision 1994;
    (2) Upper Lake, 1996;
    (3) Bartlett Mountain, 1996; and
    (4) Lucerne, 1996.
    (c) Boundary. The Upper Lake Valley viticultural area is located in 
Lake County, California. The boundary of the Upper Lake Valley 
viticultural area is as described below:
    (1) The beginning point is on the Lakeport map at the intersection 
of Lyons Creek and the western shore of Clear Lake in Section 31, T15N/
R9W. From the beginning point, proceed south in a straight line to an 
unnamed light-duty road known locally as Lafferty Road; then
    (2) Proceed west along Lafferty Road to its intersection with an 
unnamed secondary highway known locally as Lakeshore Boulevard; then
    (3) Proceed north on Lakeshore Boulevard to its intersection with 
an unnamed light-duty road known locally as Whalen Way; then
    (4) Proceed west on Whalen Way to its intersection with State 
Highway 29; then
    (5) Proceed north on State Highway 29, crossing onto the Upper Lake 
map, to the intersection of the highway and the southern boundary of 
Section 13, T15N, R10W; then
    (6) Proceed west along the southern boundary of Sections 13 and 14 
to the intersection of the southern boundary of Section 14 with the 
1,600-foot elevation contour; then
    (7) Proceed in a generally northwesterly direction along the 
meandering 1,600-foot elevation contour to its intersection with an 
unnamed, unimproved road in Section 17, T15N/R10W; then
    (8) Proceed north in a straight line, crossing Scotts Creek, to the 
1,600-foot elevation contour in Section 8, T15N/R10W; then
    (9) Proceed northeasterly, then southeasterly along the 1,600-foot 
elevation contour to its intersection with an unnamed 4-wheel drive 
road in Section 9, T15N/R10W; then
    (10) Proceed northwest in a straight line to the marked 2,325-foot 
elevation point on Hell's Peak; then
    (11) Proceed southeast in a straight line to the intersection of 
the 1,600-foot elevation contour and the southern boundary of Section 
30 along the Mendocino National Forest boundary, T16N/R9W; then
    (12) Proceed southeast along the meandering 1,600-foot elevation 
contour to its third intersection with the Mendocino National Forest 
boundary, along the eastern boundary of Section 31, T16N/R9W; then
    (13) Proceed south, then west along the Mendocino National Forest 
boundary to its intersection with the 1,600-foot elevation contour 
along the northern boundary of Section 5, T15N/R9W; then
    (14) Proceed southeasterly along the meandering 1,600-foot 
elevation contour, crossing onto the Bartlett Mountain map, to the 
intersection of the 1,600-foot elevation contour and the Mendocino 
National Forest boundary along the eastern boundary of Section 9, T15N/
9RW; then
    (15) Proceed south, then east along the Mendocino National Forest 
boundary to its intersection with the 1,600-foot elevation contour 
along the northern boundary of Section 15, T15N/R9W; then
    (16) Proceed south, then northwest along the meandering 1,600-foot 
elevation contour, crossing onto the Upper Lake map, and continuing 
southeasterly along the 1,600-foot elevation contour crossing back and 
forth between the Bartlett Mountain map and the Upper Lake map, to the 
intersection of the 1,600-foot elevation contour and an unimproved 4-
wheel drive road in Section 21, T15N/R9W; then
    (17) Continue southeast along the 1,600-foot elevation contour, 
crossing onto the Lucerne map, to the intersection of the 1,600-foot 
elevation contour and an unimproved 4-wheel drive road in Section 36, 
T15N/R9W; then
    (18) Proceed south in a straight line to the shoreline of Clear 
Lake; then
    (19) Proceed northeasterly along the shoreline of Clear Lake, 
crossing onto the Lakeport map, and continuing southwesterly along the 
shoreline, crossing Rodman Slough, to return to the beginning point.

    Signed: January 25, 2021.
Mary G. Ryan,
Administrator.

    Approved: March 24, 2021.
Timothy E. Skud,
Deputy Assistant Secretary (Tax, Trade, and Tariff Policy).
[FR Doc. 2021-07626 Filed 4-15-21; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4810-31-P