LATE HARVEST WINE
Proprietor of Bonded Wineries, Bonded Wine Cellars,
Taxpaid Wine Bottling Houses and Others Concerned
Purpose. This circular notifies industry members of
an ATF Ruling which will be published in the next issue of
the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Bulletin. This circular
also reminds industry members of the provisions of 27 CFR
Text of Ruling. The ruling will read as follows:
The Bureau has been asked whether wines which possess the
characteristics of "Late Harvest" type wines because they
were manufactured from concentrate, ameliorated,
sweetened, or fortified may bear the term "Late Harvest"
or other similar terms on their labels.
ATF Rul. 78-4, 1978 ATF C.B. 61, allowed the use of
"Late Harvest" and certain other similar terms on labels
of grape wine, provided the amount of sugar contained
in the grapes at the time of harvest and the amount of
residual sugar in the finished wine were accurately stated
in the same kind of measure on a front or back label for
Section 4.39(a)(1) of the regulations implementing
section 5(e) of the Federal Alcohol Administration Act
(27 U.S.C. 205(e)), prohibits the use of any statement on
a container of wine, or on any label on such a container,
which tends to create a misleading impression about the
wine product therein. Consumers understand the special
properties of "Late Harvest" type wines to be the result
of a higher sugar content in the grapes used in the wine.
"Late Harvest," or a similar term, would mislead consumers
if used on a wine made with methods designed to simulate
these properties. Such methods include manufacture from
concentrate, amelioration, sweetening and fortification.
On the other hand, the Bureau has reconsidered its
position with respect to the "same kind of measure"
provision of ATF Rul. 78-4. Winemaking publications show
that it is usual and customary in the wine making industry
to express the sugar content of the juice in the grapes at
harvest in Brix while it is customary to express the
residual sugar of the finished wine in terms of percent by
weight, grams per 100 ml., etc. ATF regulations and forms
also use Brix when referring to sugar content of juice and
percent by weight or Brix when referring to sugar content
of finished wine.
Held, pursuant to section 4.39(a)(1), wine which has
been made from concentrate or which has been ameliorated,
sweetened or fortified may not bear labels containing the
terms "Late Harvest," "Late Picked," "Botrytis Infected,"
"Pourriture Noble," "Ice Wine," or variations thereof.
Held further, the sugar content statements on "Late
Harvest," "Late Picked," "Botrytis Infected," "Pourriture
Noble," "Ice Wine" (or variations thereof) need not be
stated in the same kind of measure.
ATF Rul. 78-4, 1978 ATF C.B. 61, is hereby modified.
Provisions of 27 CFR 240.975.
ATF Ruling 78-4 requires that "When degrees Brix are used,
the provisions of 27 CFR 240.972 through 240.975 apply."
27 CFR 240.975 states that "Total solids content of wine
means the degrees Brix of the dealcoholized wine...".
Industry members are reminded, therefore, that when the
amount of residual sugar in the finished wine is stated in
degrees Brix, the degrees Brix of the dealcoholized wine
must be used.
Inquiries. Inquiries concerning 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, NW.,
Washington, DC 20226.