Earlier this year, employees from TTB attended a Wine Academy training session at RdV Vineyards, a winery located in the rolling countryside of Northern Virginia. This training was a special seminar for U.S. government officials who work on wine-related technical and trade issues throughout the year and offered a rare chance to experience a day in the life of a winemaker in order to understand more clearly the people involved, and the process from start to finish.
The Wine Academy-organized by the Wine Institute, with assistance from the Society of Wine Educators and Wine America-provided an opportunity for TTB employees to gain perspective from the point of view of the winemaker-as a farmer, as a businessperson, and as a critical economic contributor to the U.S. economy.
During the morning session, attendees took a trip out to the vines to see where the grapes are grown and nurtured, and learned about issues such as soil components, disease and hybrids, vine nutrition, support structure, species, cycles, and canopy management.
Attendees, made up of TTB employees who work on issues ranging from labeling, permit approvals, and formulas to legal and compliance issues for a winery such as RdV Vineyards, also toured the winery, saw the process, and gained a better understanding of the many steps involved in starting and running a winery.
Because TTB is the national regulator for producers, bottlers, distributors, and importers of wine, it must ensure that all beverage alcohol produced, labeled, and marketed is done so in a fair and orderly manner according to the Federal Alcohol Administration Act. The Bureau also must ensure that it collects all excise taxes due for the removal of wine for sale or consumption in interstate commerce.
For Bureau employees, getting out in the field and seeing a hands-on view of the people involved in the business they work with on a daily basis was key to understanding the impact of their work at TTB.