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Industry Circular

Number: 61-50

Date: December 20, 1961

Office of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue

Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Division


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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 this office.

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 Avis

Dwight E. Avis

Director, Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Division

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