NON-ALCOHOLIC HERB INFUSIONS IN SPECIAL NATURAL WINE PRODUCTION
Proprietors of bonded wineries
and others concerned:
Purpose. The purpose of this Industry Circular is to correct certain questionable applications of the limitations set forth in Revenue Ruling 71-500
(C.B. 1971-2.455) for the use of non-alcoholic extracts of herbs (extracts produced by infusing herbs with hot or cold water) in the production of special
Background. Revenue Ruling 71-500 was issued to inform winemakers of the
Bureau's position on the use of non-alcoholic extracts of herbs in special natural wine production and to establish guidelines in the manufacture of those
extracts. The issuance of quantitative limits to govern such manufacture required research to determine allowable flavor to water proportions. It was
found that very little information on this subject had been compiled. In the
absence of reliable tables to provide water-quantity to flavor-concentration
ratios for the numerous herbs and botanicals used as flavoring materials in
wine production, authoritative opinions were solicited and other efforts were
made to establish reasonable and equitable quantitative limits for non-alcoholic
herb infusions. The conclusion reached was that if a quantity of herbs was
steeped, boiled, soaked, etc. in 10 gallons of water the resultant product would
have a flavor concentration of sufficient strength as to be readily recognizable as a flavoring material which would change the character of 100 gallons
of wine. That conclusion formed the basis of the "10% of base wine" limitation
as set out in Revenue Ruling 71-500. At the time of publication, it was deemed
that the limitation established by the ruling, when applied in conjunction
with the provisions of 26 CFR 240.440 was adequate to regulate the use of nonalcoholic herb infusions.
Various inspection reports, however, have revealed that some winemakers
are using non-alcoholic infusions which, although within the "10% of base wine
limit," are of such water-quantity and flavor-concentration ratios as to be
in possible violation of the more generally worded limitations of 26 CFR 240.440.
In this respect, this section authorizes ".... other natural flavorings, in
such quantities and proportions that the resulting product derives a distinctive flavor from their use, and may be distinguished from natural wine not so
Compliance Procedure. To determine if the non-alcoholic infusions now in
use are in compliance with the above cited regulations, winemakers using those
infusions are requested to supply two 4/5 quart samples for ATF officers of
each of the following:
1. The natural wine used as a base.
2. The wine after the non-alcoholic infusion has
been added (this sample to be identified by
3. The non-alcoholic infusion (this sample to be
representative of the entire extract).
The samples should be marked by symbols or numbers to identify each
three samples as an interrelated set and are to be submitted to the
Scientific Services Division of Bureau Headquarters. If the results of the
examinations indicate a need for such action, the approved formulas represented by those samples will be reviewed for possible modifications.
Inquiries. Inquiries regarding this circular should refer to its number
and be addressed to the Assistant Director, Regulatory Enforcement, Bureau of
Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N. W. 20226.
Rex D. Davis