Brunello di Montalcino Wine
To: Importers, Wholesalers, and Others Concerned
This circular serves as notice that beginning on June 23, 2008, all importers of Brunello di Montalcino wine must have in their possession at the time of the wine’s release from United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) custody a declaration from the Government of Italy stating that the product’s vintage date and brand name meet the requirements of the Brunello di Montalcino Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) and that the product is acceptable for sale as such in Italy. This circular supersedes Industry Circular 2008-1, dated June 17, 2008.
Brunello di Montalcino wine is a controlled appellation (DOCG) Italian wine that under Italian rules must be produced exclusively from Sangiovese grapes. The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) has learned that some of the wine labeled as Brunello di Montalcino was produced from a blend of Sangiovese and other grape varieties and is therefore not entitled to the Brunello di Montalcino designation. This wine is mislabeled under both Italian and U.S. rules.
In order to ensure compliance with the provisions of section 105(e) of the Federal Alcohol Administration (FAA) Act, 27 U.S.C. section 205(e), CBP officials have the authority to withhold release from, or demand the return to, CBP custody of imported wine not covered by a proper certificate of label approval (COLA). Brunello di Montalcino is a foreign nongeneric name that is a distinctive designation of specific grape wines under TTB regulations at 27 CFR sections 4.24(c)(1) and 12.31(c). Brunello di Montalcino wine not made exclusively from Sangiovese grapes does not conform to the current requirements of Italy and is therefore also in conflict with TTB regulations at 27 CFR section 4.25(a)(2)(iii) and (e)(3)(iii). Thus, it is not covered by the COLAs that are currently issued.
TTB ACTIONS AND REQUIRED DECLARATION
Beginning on June 23, 2008, all importers of Brunello di Montalcino wine must have in their possession at the time of the wine’s release from CBP custody a declaration from the Government of Italy stating that the product’s vintage date and brand name meet the requirements of the Brunello di Montalcino DOCG and that the product is acceptable for sale as such in Italy. The declaration also must: include the name and address of the producer; appear on Italian Government Agency letterhead; and be signed and dated by an Italian Government official. Note that importers will need only one declaration to cover multiple shipments for each vintage date, brand name, and producer, as long as these conditions are the same. Also note that importers do not need to present the declaration as part of the CBP entry process. The declaration must be in English or, if in Italian, accompanied by an English translation.
The original or a copy of the required declaration must be maintained at the importer’s premises. Permittees are cautioned that the marketing of a mislabeled wine is unlawful under the FAA Act. Until further notice, if TTB finds Brunello di Montalcino wine in the U.S. marketplace which was released from CBP custody on or after June 23, 2008, and the importer does not have the corresponding required declaration, TTB will consider it a willful violation and may take appropriate action which could include suspension or revocation of the importer’s basic permit.
If you have any questions concerning this circular, please contact the International Trade Division (ITD) at 202-927-8110 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
John J. Manfreda
Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau
Italian Government Brunello di Montalcino Wine Declaration (47 KB)