Brunello di Montalcino Wine
To: Importers, Wholesalers and Others Concerned
This circular serves as notice that beginning on June 23, 2008, the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will not release shipments of Brunello di Montalcino wine unless the importer submits to CBP a statement attesting that the wine meets the requirements of the Brunello di Montalcino Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) and is acceptable for sale as such in Italy.
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 Statement for CBP Release
TTB has requested CBP, beginning on June 23, 2008, to withhold the release of all shipments of Brunello di Montalcino wine from CBP custody unless the importer submits to CBP a statement from the Italian Government attesting that the Brunello di Montalcino meets the requirements of the Brunello di Montalcino DOCG and is acceptable for sale as such in Italy. This statement must be in English or, if in Italian, accompanied by an English translation.
A copy of the required statement 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 statement, 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 email@example.com.
John J. Manfreda
Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau