Sample Block

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

[Federal Register: August 26, 1998 (Volume 63, Number 165)]

[Proposed Rules]

[Page 45427-45430]

From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access []








Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms


27 CFR Part 9


[Notice No. 864]

RIN 1512-AAD7



Yountville Viticultural Area ( 98R-28P)


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


ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking.




SUMMARY: The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) has received

a petition for the establishment of a viticultural area in Napa County,

California, to be known as ``Yountville.'' This proposal is the result

of a petition submitted by Yountville appellation committee.


DATES: Written comments must be received by October 26, 1998.


ADDRESSES: Send written comments to: Chief, Regulations Division,

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, P.O. Box 50221, Washington,

D.C. 20091-0221 (Attn: Notice No. 864). Copies of the petition, the

proposed regulation, the appropriate maps, and written comments will be

available for public inspection during normal business hours at: ATF

Public Reading Room, Office of Public Affairs and Disclosure, Room

6480, 650 Massachusetts Avenue, NW., Washington, D.C.



Regulations Division, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, 650

Massachusetts Avenue, NW., Washington, D.C. 20226, (202) 927-8230.






On August 23, 1978, ATF published Treasury decision ATF-53 (43 FR

37672, 54624) revising regulations in 27 CFR part 4. These regulations

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 a new part 9 to 27 CFR, providing for the listing of

approved American viticultural areas, the names of which may be used as

appellations of origin.

Section 4.25a(e)(1), Title 27, CFR, defines an American

viticultural area as a delimited grape-growing region distinguishable

by geographic features, the boundaries of which have been delineated in

Subpart C of part 9.

Section 4.25(e)(2), Title 27, CFR, outlines the procedure for

proposing an American viticultural area. Any interested person may

petition ATF to establish a grape-growing region as a viticultural

area. The petition should include:

(a) Evidence that the name of the proposed viticultural area is

locally and/or nationally known as referring to the area specified in

the petition;

(b) Historical or current evidence that the boundaries of the

viticultural area are as specified in the petition;

(c) Evidence relating to the geographical characteristics (climate,

soil, elevation, physical features, etc.) which distinguish the

viticultural features of the proposed area from surrounding areas;

(d) 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;

(e) A copy (or copies) of the appropriate U.S.G.S. map(s) with the

proposed boundaries prominently marked.




ATF has received a petition from Mr. Richard Mendelson, submitted

on behalf of a number of wineries and grape growers in the Yountville

area. The proposed viticultural area is located entirely within the

Napa Valley. It contains approximately 8260 acres, of which 3500 are

planted to vineyards. The proposed viticultural area was determined by

extending the wine growing area from around the town of Yountville

until it abuts the already established viticultural areas of Oakville

on the north, Stags Leap District on the east, and Mt. Veeder on the

west. On the south is an area called Oak Knoll which has petitioned to

be considered a viticultural area.


[[Page 45428]]


Evidence That The Name Of The Area Is Locally Or Nationally Known


An historical survey written by Charles Sullivan spells out the

historical use of the name Yountville and vineyard plantings dating

back to the late 1800's. Numerous references exist indicating the

general use of the name ``Yountville'' to refer to the petitioned area.

The petitioner included copies of title pages of various publications,

guide and tour book references, public and private phone book listings

and Federal and State agency maps, to illustrate the use of the name.

For example, an ad for wine in the 1880's stresses the source of the

grapes for the wine as ``Yountville.'' Yountville is also prominently

mentioned in James Halliday's Wine Atlas of California.


Historical or Current Evidence That the Boundaries of the Viticultural

Area Are as Specified in the Petition


According to the petitioner, the boundaries establish a grape

growing area with an identifiable character, based on climate,

topography, and historical tradition. The Yountville area boundaries

were determined by extending the grape growing area from around the

town itself until it abuts the already established viticultural areas

of Oakville on the north, Stags Leap District on the east and Mt.

Veeder on the west and an area called Oak Knoll on the south, which is

currently under consideration on whether it should be recognized as a

viticultural area. The proposed boundaries of the area were determined

by already existing AVA's and by the distinguishing physical features

of the area. The boundary lines are accurately described using the

features on the submitted U.S.G.S maps. In sum, the petitioner believes

the proposed boundaries encompass an area of remarkable uniformity with

respect to soils, climate and existing AVA's.

The history of viticulture in the Napa Valley begins with George C.

Yount. Yount first visited the Napa Valley in 1831. He was granted his

Rancho Caymus on March 3, 1836. It amounted to approximately 11,000

acres and covered the valley and foothills from the Bale Slough in the

north to a line which runs through the town of Yountville today. By the

1840's he had established a small vineyard. In 1855, he commissioned a

surveyor to lay out the city. The new community was christened

Sebastopol. In 1887, two years after Yount's death, the town was

renamed in honor of its founder.


Evidence Relating To The Geographical Features (Climate, Soil,

Elevation, Physical Features, Etc.) Which Distinguish Viticultural

Features Of The Proposed Area From Surrounding Areas


According to the petitioner, the geographical features of the

proposed viticultural area set it apart from the surrounding area in

the Napa Valley and produce a unique microclimate. The distinguishing

features of the proposed viticultural area are the Napa River, the Napa

Valley floor, the alluvial soils, the hills north of Yountville called

the Yountville Mounts and the hills west of Yountville which form the

western boundary of the Napa Valley.

The petitioner has submitted evidence showing that the weather is

specific to the Yountville area with cool marine air currents reaching

the Yountville Mounts (northern border of the proposed area) and which

form a weather barrier to further expansion of the fogs and winds. Also

the soils which form the alluvial fan just across the southern boundary

of the Yountville area can be seen to come from the Dry Creek watershed

(see U.S.G.S. maps). The soils just north of the Yountville border come

from the hills that form the western side of the area. The line along

Ragatz Lane was selected to delineate the two areas. The soils between

Yountville and Stags Leap District can be seen to differ north of the

Yountville crossroad with the Rector canyon being the parent and the

area between the Napa River and the Silverado Trail belonging to the

hills immediately to the east.

According to the petitioner, the Yountville area, and specifically

the area near and west of the town of Yountville, is one of the coolest

vineyard regions of the Napa Valley viticultural area with long, cool

growing season for grapevines. The Amerine and Winkler (1944) climate

scheme rates this area as a Region II climate in a typical year, with a

growing season degree-day totals of 2600 to 2900. This makes the area

around the town of Yountville warmer than most of the Carneros

viticultural area, but cooler than parts of Mt. Veeder and Oakville.

According to the petitioner, the Yountville area is unusual as a

Napa Valley floor viticultural region in that it is not dominated

geomorphically by large alluvial fans. It is most similar geologically

to the Stags Leap District, which also is dominated by an old Napa

River channel. However, the petitioner alleges that the Yountville area

is also geologically and geomorphologically distinct from the Stags

Leap District , as Yountville was an area of intense coastal deposition

along what must have been a nearshore current set up on the western

side of the valley. The only similar coastal deposits found in the Napa

Valley are in the Hagen Road area east of the City of Napa off Olive

Hill Lane. Geomorphic deposits strongly influence soil types in the

regions. Pronounced differences in soils are seen between Yountville,

Oakville, the Stags Leap District, Mt. Veeder, and the proposed Oak

Knoll viticultural area.


Proposed Boundaries


The boundaries of the proposed Yountville viticultural area may be

found on four U.S.G.S. Quadrangle (7.5 Minute Series) maps titled:

Napa, CA (1951); Rutherford, CA (1951); Sonoma, CA (1951); and

Yountville, CA (1951).


Public Participation-Written Comments


ATF requests comments from all interested persons. Comments

received on or before the closing data will be carefully considered.

Comments received after that date will be given the same consideration

if it is practical to do so. However, assurance of consideration can

only be given on or before the closing date.

ATF will not recognize any submitted material as confidential and

comments may be disclosed to the public. Any material which the

commenter considers to be confidential or inappropriate for disclosure

to the public should not be included in the comments. The name of the

person submitting a comment is not exempt from disclosure.

Comments may be submitted by facsimile transmission to (202) 927-

8602, provided the comments: (1) are legible; (2) are 8 1/2'' x 11'' in

size, (3) contain a written signature, and (4) are three pages or less

in length. This limitation is necessary to assure reasonable access to

the equipment. Comments sent by FAX in excess of three pages will not

be accepted. Receipt of FAX transmittals will not be acknowledged.

Facsimile transmitted comments will be treated as originals.

Any person who desires an opportunity to comment orally at a public

hearing on the proposed regulation should submit his or her request, in

writing, to the Director within the 60-day comment period. The

Director, however, reserves the right to determine, in light of all

circumstances, whether a public hearing will be held.


Paperwork Reduction Act


The provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C.

3507(j)) and its implementing regulations, 5 CFR Part 1320, do not

apply to this notice of proposed


[[Page 45429]]


rulemaking because no requirement to collect information is proposed.


Regulatory Flexibility Act


It is hereby certified that this proposed regulation will not have

a significant 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 the region.

Accordingly, a regulatory flexibility analysis is not required

because the proposal, if promulgated as a final rule, is not expected

(1) to have significant secondary, or incidental effects on a

substantial number of small entities; or (2) to impose, or otherwise

cause a significant increase in the reporting, recordkeeping, or other

compliance burdens on a substantial number of small entities.


Executive Order 12866


It has been determined that this proposed regulation is not a

significant regulatory action as defined by Executive Order 12866.

Accordingly, this proposal is not subject to the analysis required by

this executive order.


Drafting Information


The principal author of this document is Thomas B. Busey,

Regulations Division, 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:




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



Authority: 27 U.S.C. 205.


Subpart C--Approved American Viticultural Areas


Par. 2. Subpart C is amended by adding Sec. 9.160 to read as



Sec. 9.160 Yountville.


(a) Name. The name of the viticultural area described in this

section is ``Yountville.''

(b) Approved maps. The appropriate maps for determining the

boundary of the Yountville viticultural area are four 1:24,000 Scale

U.S.G.S. topography maps. They are titled:

(1) Napa, CA 1951 photorevised 1980.

(2) Rutherford, CA 1951 photorevised 1968.

(3) Sonoma, CA 1951 photorevised 1980.

(4) Yountville, CA 1951 photorevised 1968.

(c) Boundary. The Yountville viticultural area is located in the

State of California, entirely within the Napa Valley viticultural area.

The boundaries of the Yountville viticultural area, using landmarks and

points of reference found on appropriate U.S.G.S. maps are as follows:

(1) Beginning on the Rutherford quadrangle map at the intersection

of the 500 foot contour line with an unnamed stream known locally as

Hopper Creek north of the center of Section 3, T6N, R5W, Mount Diablo

Meridan (MDM);

(2) Then along the unnamed stream (Hopper Creek) southeasterly, and

at the fork in Section 3, northeasterly along the stream to the point

where the stream intersects with an unnamed dirt road in the northwest

corner of Section 2, T6N, R5W, MDM;

(3) Then in a straight line to the light duty road to the immediate

northeast in Section 2, then along the light duty road in a

northeasterly direction to the point at which the road turns 90 degrees

to the left;

(4) Then northerly along the light duty road 625 feet, then

northeasterly (N 40 deg. by 43') in a straight line 1,350 feet, along

the northern property line of Assessor's Parcel Number 27-380-08, to

State Highway 29, then continuing in a straight line approximately 500

feet to the peak of the 320 plus foot hill along the western edge of

the Yountville hills;

(5) Then east to the second 300 foot contour line, then along said

contour line around the Yountville hills to the north to the point at

which the 300 foot line exits the Rutherford quadrangle for the second


(6) Then, on the Yountville quadrangle map, in a straight line in a

northeasterly direction approximately N34 deg. by 30'E approximately

1,000 feet to the 90 degree bend in the unimproved dirt road shown on

the map, then along that road, which coincides with a fence line to the

intersection of Conn Creek and Rector Creek;

(7) Then along Rector Creek to the northeast past Silverado Trail

to the Rector Reservoir spillway entrance, then south approximately 100

feet to the 400 foot contour line, then southerly along the 400 foot

contour line approximately 4200 feet to the intersection with a gully

in section 30, T7N, R4W, MDM;

(8) Then southwesterly down the center of the gully approximately

800 feet to the medium duty road known as Silverado Trail, then

southeasterly along the Silverado Trail approximately 590 feet to the

medium duty road known locally as Yountville Cross Road;

(9) Then southwesterly along the Yountville Cross Road (denoted as

GRANT BDY on the map) approximately 4,700 feet to the main branch of

the Napa River, then following the western boundary of the Stags Leap

District viticultural area, first southerly down the center of the Napa

River approximately 21,000 feet, then leaving the Napa River

northeasterly in a straight line approximately 900 feet to the

intersection of the Silverado Trail with an intermittent stream at the

60 foot contour line in T6N, R4W, MDM;

(10) Then along the Silverado Trail southerly approximately 3,200

feet, passing into the Napa quadrangle, to a point which is east of the

confluence of Dry Creek with the Napa River; then west approximately

600 feet to said confluence; then northwesterly along Dry Creek

approximately 3,500 feet, passing into the Yountville quadrangle to a

fork in the creek; then northwesterly along the north fork of Dry Creek

approximately 5,700 feet to the easterly end of the light duty road

labeled Ragatz Lane;

(11) Then southwesterly along Ragatz Lane to the west side of State

Highway 29, then southerly along Highway 29 by 982 feet to the easterly

extension of the north line boundary of Napa County Assessor's parcel

number 034-170-015, then along the north line of APN 034-170-015 and

its extension westerly 3,550 feet to the dividing line Between R4W and

R5W on the Napa quadrangle, then southwesterly approximately 1000 feet

to the peak denoted as 564 (which is about 5,500 feet easterly of the

northwest corner of the Napa quadrangle); then southwesterly

approximately 4,000 feet to the peak northeast of the reservoir gauging

station denoted as 835.

(12) Then southwesterly approximately 1,500 feet to the reservoir


[[Page 45430]]


gauging station, then west to the 400 foot contour line on the west

side of Dry Creek, then northwesterly along the 400 foot contour line

to the point where the contour intersects the north line of Section 10.

T6N, R5W, MDM, immediately adjacent to Dry Creek on the Rutherford, CA


(13) Then northwesterly along Dry Creek approximately 6,500 feet to

BM503, then northeasterly approximately 3,000 feet to the peak denoted

as 1478, then southeasterly approximately 2,300 feet to the beginning

of the creek known locally as Hopper Creek, then southeasterly along

Hopper Creek approximately 2,300 feet to the point of beginning.


Signed: August 19, 1998.

John W. Magaw,


[FR Doc. 98-22875 Filed 8-25-98; 8:45 am]