Importers, and others concerned:
Purpose. The purpose of this Circular is to inform importers that no future
importations of sparkling wine labeled as "Spanish Champagne" will be permitted
entry into the United States.
Background. Regulations relating to the labeling and advertising of wine
(27 CFR, Part 4) issued under the provisions of the Federal Alcohol Administration
Act require all semi-generic type designations having geographic significance,
such as "Champagne", to be qualified by an appropriate appellation of origin,
disclosing the true place of origin, when the product is not produced in the geo-
graphical area indicated by such designation. The regulations also provide that
this is permissible when the product conforms to the requirements of the laws and
regulations of the place or region of actual production governing the composition,
method of manufacture and designation of wines for home consumption. It is not
permissible under any other circumstances.
In the past, certificates of label approval have been issued to importers
in the United States authorizing the importation of products designated "Spanish
Champagne". This was done on the basis of the Internal Revenue Services' under-
standing that the laws of Spain authorized the use of that designation on wines
of that type for consumption in Spain.
The Internal Revenue Service has now been officially informed by the Embassy
of Spain that the Spanish Government does not permit the sale of wine in Spain
under the designation "Spanish Champagne". Accordingly, the use of such designa-
tion on wines imported into the United States is not permitted under the provisions
of the Federal labeling regulations referred to above.
Conclusion. In view of the foregoing, importers of alcoholic beverages are
advised that products may no longer be imported into the United States under the
designation "Spanish Champagne", and they are requested to immediately surrender
for cancellation all certificates of label approval previously issued with respect
to labels bearing such designations.
The certificates to be surrendered for cancellation should be forwarded to
Inquiries. Correspondence in regard to this industry circular should refer to
its number and be addressed to the Director, Alcohol and Tobacco Tax (CP:AT:B),
Washington 25, D. C.
Dwight E. Avis
Director, Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Division