ATF Ruling 73-5

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms has had occasion to review the requirements of 27 CFR Part 4 concerning use of semi-generic names on labels of wines imported from Spain.

In regard to labeling requirements for wines in bottles, 27 U.S.C. 205(e) provides in part that it is unlawful for any member of the industry to sell or ship or otherwise introduce in interstate or foreign commerce, or remove from customs custody for consumption, any wine unless labeled in conformity with regulations issued pursuant to such law as to prevent consumer deception and as to provide the consumer with adequate information as to the identity and quality of the product.

In pertinent part, the regulations implementing 27 U.S.C. 205(e) provide the following requirements in respect to semi-generic names and appellations of origin:

(1) 27 CFR 4.24: Semi-generic names (found by the Director to have become so) may be used to designate wines of an origin other than that indicated by such name only if there appears in direct conjunction therewith an appropriate appellation of origin disclosing the true place of origin of the wine;

(2) 27 CFR 4.25(a)(3): A wine shall be entitled to an appellation of origin if it conforms to the requirements of the laws and regulations of the place or region indicated by such appellation, as such laws or regulations govern the composition, method of manufacture, and designation of such wines for home consumption.

It has been determined that wine produced in Spain for home consumption may not be labeled with semi-generic appellations such as "Burgundy", "Chablis", "Sauterne", or "Rhine". Therefore, it is held that Spanish wine bearing labels with such semi-generic names would not meet the requirements of 27 CFR 4.25(a)(3) and may not be released from customs custody for sale in the United States. Accordingly, past authorizations under certificates of approval for such labels are rescinded.

In order to give importers an opportunity to remove such wine from customs custody and to receive such wines now enroute to the United States, this ruling shall take effect on April 15, 1973; thereafter, any such certificates of label approval will be considered null and void.

27 CFR 4.24, 4.25 and 4.30.