ATF

Sample Block


Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

[Federal Register: May 6, 1999 (Volume 64, Number 87)]
[Proposed Rules]               
[Page 24308-24311]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr06my99-9]

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DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms

27 CFR Part 9

[Notice No. 874]
RIN 1512-AA07

 
Applegate Valley Viticultural Area (99R-112P)

AGENCY: Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), Treasury.

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking.

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SUMMARY: The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) has received 
a petition proposing to establish a viticultural area within the State 
of Oregon to be known as "Applegate Valley." The proposed 
viticultural area is within Jackson and Josephine Counties and entirely 
within the existing Rogue Valley viticultural area as described in 27 
CFR 9.132. Mr. Barnard E. Smith, President, The Academy of Wine of 
Oregon Inc., submitted the petition. Mr. Smith believes that 
"Applegate Valley" is a widely known name for the petitioned area, 
that the area is well defined, and that the area is distinguished from 
other areas by its soil and climate.

DATES: Send your comments on or before July 6, 1999.

ADDRESSES: Send written comments to: Chief, Regulations Division, 
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, P.O. Box 50221, Washington, DC 
20091-0221 (Attn: Notice No. 874). Copies of the petition, the proposed 
regulations, the appropriate maps, and any written comments received 
will be available for public inspection during normal business hours at 
the ATF Reading Room, Office of Public Affairs and Disclosure, Room 
6480, 650 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC., 20226.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jackie White, Regulations Division, 
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, 650 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, 
Washington DC., 20226, (202) 927-8145.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

1. Background on Viticultural Areas

What is ATF's Authority To Establish a Viticultural Area?

    ATF published Treasury Decision ATF-53 (43 FR 37672, 54624) on 
August 23, 1978. This decision revised the regulations in 27 CFR Part 
4, Labeling and Advertising of Wine, to allow the establishment of 
definitive viticultural areas. The regulations allow the name of an 
approved viticultural area to be used as an appellation of origin on 
wine labels and in wine advertisements. On October 2, 1979, ATF 
published Treasury Decision ATF-60 (44 FR 56692) which added 27 CFR 
Part 9, American Viticultural Areas, for the listing of approved 
American viticultural areas, the names of which may be used as 
appellations of origin.

What is the Definition of an American Viticultural Area?

    An American viticultural area is a delimited grape-growing region 
distinguishable by geographic features. The viticultural features such 
as soil, climate, elevation, topography, etc., distinguish it from 
surrounding areas.

What Is Required To Establish a Viticultural Area?

    Any interested person may petition ATF to establish a grape-growing 
region as a viticultural area. The petition should include:
    • Evidence that the name of the proposed viticultural area 
is locally and/or nationally known as referring to the area specified 
in the petition;
    • Historical or current evidence that the boundaries of the 
viticultural area are as specified in the petition;
    • Evidence relating to the geographical characteristics 
(climate, soil, elevation, physical features, etc.) which distinguish 
the viticultural features of the proposed area from surrounding areas;

[[Page 24309]]

    • A description of the specific boundaries of the 
viticultural area, based on features which can be found on United 
States Geological Survey (U.S.G.S.) maps of the largest applicable 
scale; and
    • A copy (or copies) of the appropriate U.S.G.S. map(s) with 
the boundaries prominently marked.

2. Applegate Valley Petition

    ATF has received a petition proposing to establish a viticultural 
area within the State of Oregon to be known as "Applegate Valley." 
The proposed viticultural area is within Jackson and Josephine 
Counties, and entirely within the existing Rogue Valley viticultural 
area described in 27 CFR 9.132. The petition was submitted by Mr. 
Barnard E. Smith, President, The Academy of Wine of Oregon Inc. Mr. 
Smith believes that "Applegate Valley" is a widely known name for the 
petitioned area. Mr. Smith states that the area is well defined, and 
that the area is distinguished from other areas by its soil and 
climate.
    According to the petitioner, the Applegate Valley has been a grape-
growing region since 1870 when A. H. Carson began planting 30 acres of 
grapes along North Applegate Road. There are now six bonded wineries in 
the valley as well as 23 vineyards. The petitioner states that over 235 
acres have been planted to grapes.

What Name Evidence Has Been Provided?

    According to the petitioner, the Applegate River was named for one 
or more of the Applegate brothers who explored the area in 1846. The 
U.S.G.S. map used to show the boundaries of the area (Medford, Oregon; 
California scale 1:250,000) uses the name Applegate River and shows the 
town of Applegate within the proposed "Applegate Valley" viticultural 
area. The petitioner has provided the following other references as 
name evidence.
    • "The Wine Appellations of Oregon" map published by the 
Oregon Wine Marketing Coalition shows the Applegate Valley and mentions 
it in its notes.
    • The Oxford Companion to Wine (first edition) mentions the 
Applegate Valley on page 693.
    • The Oregon Winegrape Growers' Guide devotes several 
paragraphs to a discussion of the Applegate Valley as one of Oregon's 
grape growing areas.
    • Treasury decision ATF-310 (The Rogue Valley Viticultural 
Area) describes "the Applegate Valley (within the Rogue Valley 
viticultural area) as one of the warmest grape growing areas in western 
Oregon."

What Boundary Evidence Has Been Provided?

    Applegate Valley is surrounded by the Siskiyou Mountains. To the 
east and south is the Rogue River National Forest. To the west is the 
Siskiyou National Forest. According to the petitioner, these proposed 
boundaries have been identified by the U.S. Forest Service in minute 
detail but do not show on published maps. The petitioner states that 
these boundaries can be closely approximated by straight-line segments 
drawn between prominent physical features of the terrain, mostly 
mountaintops. Boundaries of national forests were used where 
appropriate.

What Evidence Relating to Geographical Features Has Been Provided?

    • Topography: The proposed boundaries are within Jackson and 
Josephine
    Counties in the State of Oregon. The proposed area is entirely 
within the existing Rogue Valley viticultural area. The Rogue Valley 
viticultural area has three distinct sub regions: Illinois Valley, 
Applegate Valley, and Bear Creek Valley. The Illinois Valley lies to 
the west of the proposed boundaries and Bear Creek Valley lies directly 
to the east of the proposed boundaries.
    The Applegate Valley is approximately 50 miles long running from 
its origins near the California border generally northwest to where it 
joins the Rogue River just west of Grants Pass. According to the 
petitioner, the surrounding Siskiyou Mountains are believed to have 
been created in the Jurassic period by up-thrusts of the ocean floor as 
a plate forced its way under the continental shelf. The proposed 
boundaries are found on the U.S.G.S. map titled "Medford, Oregon; 
California" NK 10-5 scale 1:250,000 (1955, revised 1976).
    • Soil: The petitioner states that soil types are generally 
granite in origin as opposed to the volcanic origin of the Cascade 
Mountains to the east. Most of the Applegate Valley vineyards are 
planted on stream terraces or alluvial fans providing deep well-drained 
soils. According to the petitioner, the leaching of the more basic soil 
components found in the Illinois Valley have left the soil slightly 
more acidic than the soils in the proposed boundaries. The petitioner 
further states that the soils outside the proposed boundaries to the 
east near Bear Creek Valley tend to be less acidic than the soils in 
the proposed boundaries. The soils in the Applegate Valley have a pH 
between 6.1 and 6.5 which are more ideal. The petitioner claims that 
while soil origin is an important factor in determining differences 
between the proposed "Applegate" and the larger Rogue Valley 
viticultural areas, its role is secondary to climate.
    • Climate: The grape-growing region around Cave Junction 
located in the Illinois Valley is about 70 miles closer to the Pacific 
Ocean than the grape-growing region around Medford located in Bear 
Creek Valley. The Siskiyou Mountains separate the valleys which further 
accentuate climate differences among the valleys. The precipitation in 
the Illinois Valley at Cave Junction is 58.9 inches per year. The 
precipitation decreases to 31.1 inches, at Grants Pass, in the 
northeast and to 25.2 inches at Applegate. In the Bear Creek Valley at 
Medford, the precipitation decreases further to 18.3 inches per year.
    According to the petitioner, the average temperature in the 
Illinois Valley during the growing season (April to October) is 2.5 
degrees lower than in the eastern valleys. The petitioner states that, 
cumulatively this means that the degree-days rise from 4971 degree-days 
in Cave Junction to 5602 degree-days in Grants Pass. This temperature 
data is from a soil survey for Jackson and Josephine Counties and does 
not compare with Winkler's values since it is based on temperature of 
40 degrees Fahrenheit instead of 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
    According to the Oregon Winegrape Grower's Guide, "As one moves 
from west to east, or from the Illinois River Valley including Selma to 
the Applegate Valley and into the Rogue Valley, good grape growing 
sites generally become warmer due to the lessening of the marine air 
influence." The Oregon Winegrape Grower's Guide goes on to point out 
that earlier ripening varieties such as Pinot noir, Early Muscat, and 
Gewurztraminer, do well in the Illinois Valley. In contrast, the 
Applegate Valley with its Region II temperature range can ripen 
Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Chardonnay two to three weeks earlier 
than is possible in the Illinois Valley.

3. Public Participation

Who May Comment on This Notice?

    ATF requests comments from all interested persons. In addition, ATF 
specifically requests comments on the clarity of this proposed rule and 
how it may be made easier to understand. Comments received on or before 
the closing date will be carefully considered. Comments received after 
that date will be given the same consideration if it is practical to do 
so.

[[Page 24310]]

However, assurance of consideration can only be given to comments 
received on or before the closing date.

Will ATF Keep My Comments Confidential?

    ATF cannot recognize any material in comments as confidential. All 
comments and materials may be disclosed to the public. If you consider 
your material to be confidential or inappropriate for disclosure to the 
public, you should not include it in the comments. We may also disclose 
the name of any person who submits a comment.

How do I Send Facsimile Comments?

    You may submit comments of not more than three pages by facsimile 
transmission to (202) 927-8525. Facsimile comments must:
    • Be legible.
    • Reference this notice number.
    • Be 8\1/2\" x 11" in size.
    • Contain a legible written signature.
    • Be not more than three pages.
    We will not acknowledge receipt of facsimile transmissions. We will 
treat facsimile transmissions as originals.

How Do I Send Electronic Mail (E-mail) Comments?

    You may submit comments by e-mail by sending the comments to 
nprm.notice874@atf.gov. You must follow these instructions. 
E-mail comments must:
    • Contain your name, mailing address, and e-mail address.
    • Reference this notice number.
    • Be legible when printed on not more than three pages 8\1/
2\" x 11" in size.
    We will not acknowledge receipt of e-mail. We will treat e-mail as 
originals.

How do I Send Comments to the ATF Internet Web Site?

    You may also submit comments using the comment form provided with 
the online copy of the proposed rule on the ATF Internet web site at 
http://www.atf.treas.gov./core/regulations/rules.htm.

Can I Request a Public Hearing?

    If you desire the opportunity to comment orally at a public hearing 
on this proposed regulation, you must submit your request in writing to 
the Director within the 60-day comment period. The Director reserves 
the right to determine, in light of all circumstances, whether a public 
hearing will be held.

4. Regulatory Analyses and Notices

Does the Paperwork Reduction Act Apply to This Proposed Rule?

    The provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 44 U.S.C. 
Chapter 35, and its implementing regulations, 5 CFR Part 1320, do not 
apply to this notice because no requirement to collect information is 
proposed.

How Does the Regulatory Flexibility Act Apply to This Proposed Rule?

    These proposed regulations will not have a significant economic 
impact on a substantial number of small entities. The establishment of 
a viticultural area is neither an endorsement nor approval by ATF of 
the quality of wine produced in the area, but rather an identification 
of an area that is distinct from surrounding areas. ATF believes that 
the establishment of viticultural areas merely allows wineries to more 
accurately describe the origin of their wines to consumers, and helps 
consumers identify the wines they purchase. Thus, any benefit derived 
from the use of a viticultural area name is the result of the 
proprietor's own efforts and consumer acceptance of wines from that 
area.
    No new requirements are proposed. Accordingly, a regulatory 
flexibility analysis is not required.

Is This a Significant Regulatory Action as Defined by Executive Order 
12866?

    It has been determined that this proposed regulation is not a 
significant regulatory action as defined by Executive Order 12866. 
Therefore, a regulatory assessment is not required.

5. Drafting Information

    The principal author of this document is Jackie White, Coordinator, 
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.

List of Subjects in 27 CFR Part 9

    Administrative practices and procedures, Consumer protection, 
Viticultural areas, and Wine.

Authority and Issuance

    Title 27, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 9, American 
Viticultural Areas, is proposed to be amended as follows:

PART 9--AMERICAN VITICULTURAL AREAS

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

    Authority: 27 U.S.C. 205

Subpart C--Approved American Viticultural Areas

    Par. 2. Subpart C is amended by adding Sec. 9.165 to read as 
follows:
* * * * *


Sec. 9.165  Applegate Valley.

    (a) Name. The name of the viticultural area described in this 
section is "Applegate Valley."
    (b) Approved Maps. The appropriate map for determining the 
boundaries of the Applegate Valley viticultural area is one U.S.G.S. 
map titled "Medford, Oregon; California" NK 10-5 scale 1:250,000 
(1955, revised 1976).
    (c) Boundaries. The Applegate Valley viticultural area is located 
within the State of Oregon within Jackson and Josephine Counties, and 
entirely within the existing Rogue Valley viticultural area. The 
boundaries are as follows:
    (1) Beginning at the confluence of the Applegate River with the 
Rogue River approximately 5 miles west of Grants Pass, the boundary 
proceeds due west to the boundary of the Siskiyou National Forest north 
of Dutcher Creek;
    (2) Then southerly and westerly along the boundary of the Siskiyou 
National Forest to Highway 199;
    (3) Then easterly to the peak of Roundtop Mountain (4663 feet);
    (4) Then easterly and southerly to the peak of Mungers Butte;
    (5) Then southerly and westerly to Holcomb Peak;
    (6) Then in a generally southeasterly direction along the eastern 
boundary of the Siskiyou National Forest until it joins the northern 
boundary of the Rogue River National Forest;
    (7) Then easterly along the northern boundary of the Rogue River 
National forest to a point due south of the peak of Bald Mountain;
    (8) Then due north to the peak of Bald Mountain (5635 feet);
    (9) Then northerly and westerly to the lookout tower on Anderson 
Butte;
    (10) Then northerly and westerly to the peak of an unnamed mountain 
with an elevation of 3181 feet;
    (11) Then northerly and westerly to the peak of Timber Mountain;
    (12) Then westerly and southerly to the middle peak of Billy 
Mountain;
    (13) Then northerly and westerly through a series of five unnamed 
peaks with elevations of approximately 3600, 4000, 3800, 3400, and 3800 
feet, respectively;
    (14) Then northerly and easterly to Grants Pass Peak;
    (15) Then westerly to Jerome Prairie;
    (16) Then northwesterly to the confluence of the Applegate River 
and the Rogue River and the point of the beginning.


[[Page 24311]]


    Signed: April 29, 1999.
John W. Magaw,
Director.
[FR Doc. 99-11366 Filed 5-5-99; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4810-31-P