Using a grape variety name on an American wine label is not mandatory, but many wineries and bottlers choose to show this information. We designed this web page to help you understand the rules. Here you will find more information on:
You can find the rules for varietal (grape type) labeling in our regulations at 27 CFR 4.23. In general:
Paragraph (e) of § 4.23 states that only a grape variety name approved by the TTB Administrator may be used as a type designation for an American wine. It also states that the list of approved grape variety names appears in subpart J, American Grape Variety Names, of part 4. The list of grape variety names, and their synonyms, approved for use as type designations for American wines appears within subpart J in 27 CFR 4.91. Alternative grape variety names temporarily authorized for use are listed in 27 CFR 4.92.
Paragraph (a) of § 4.23 states that the names of one or more grape varieties may be used as the type designation of a grape wine only if the wine is labeled with an appellation of origin. For the rules governing labeling with an appellation of origin, see 27 CFR 4.25.
In either exception from the 75 percent rule, the statement "contains not less than 51% (name of variety)" must be shown on either the brand label, back label, or separate strip label.
If the wine is labeled with a multistate or multicounty appellation of origin, the percentage of wine derived from each variety from each county or state must be shown on the label.
Who may request approval – 27 CFR 4.93(a) allows any interested person to petition for the approval of a grape variety name.
Evidence required for approval – 27 CFR 4.93(a) provides that the petition should provide evidence of the following:
Documentation that provides the required evidence – Under § 4.93(b), the documentation submitted with the petition may include:
Response to the petitioner – We will respond to you in writing to let you know if we have approved or denied your request. If we approve the grape variety name, you will receive an administrative approval. The approval letter will advise you that:
If we do not approve the grape variety name, the letter will provide a reason(s) why we denied the name.
Administratively approved grape names – After we have approved one or more grape variety names, we will publish a notice of proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register proposing to add the approved grape variety name(s) to the list in § 4.91. This notice gives the public a chance to comment on whether the administratively approved grape variety name should be recognized as an approved grape variety name.
If we receive a comment(s) or other information that demonstrates a final approval is inappropriate, we may decide not to give final approval for that grape variety name and we will not add it to the list in our regulations. Our final rulemaking action will replace or cancel the administrative approval.
Grape names we did not administratively approve – In the notice of proposed rulemaking, we may also ask for public comment on grape variety names requested in a petition that we denied. If we receive public comments that provide sufficient evidence that the grape variety name should be approved, we may add the name to the list of approved grape variety names in 27 CFR 4.91.
Please note that this list does not apply to imported wines. An imported wine may be designated with a grape variety name if the producing country has approved that name for use on wines sold for consumption within that country.
Grape names administratively approved pending TTB's next rulemaking
We have administratively approved the following grape names:
Coda di Volpe
King of the North
Lambrusca di Alessandria
Rose of Peru
Questions or comments
If you have questions or comments about the grape variety name approval process please contact TTB's Regulations and Rulings Division at (202) 453-2265 or by email at WineRegs@ttb.gov.
If you have questions or comments on the Certificate of Label Approval (COLA) process, please contact the Advertising, Labeling and Formulation Division at (202) 453-2250 or Toll Free (866) 927-ALFD (2533), or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
TTB G 2011-4B
Updated May 3, 2012