'Grandfathered' date still issue for Calistoga AVA

Key changes in the final document creating the Calistoga Viticulture Area are expected to heavily influence controversial provisions on “grandfathered” geographically linked brand names and "nested" American Viticultural Area names on labels in pending rulemaking on establishment of AVAs.

On Dec. 1, the Treasury Department's Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau approved Proposed Rulemaking Notice No. 77, creating the Calistoga appellation effective Jan. 7.

However, Proposed Rulemaking Notice No. 78, which largely deals broadly with grandfathered brands and so-called sub-appellations, is still being considered, according to a bureau spokesman. He declined to elaborate.

The Calistoga document included the grandfathering allowance in other AVAs – July 1986 – rather than the March 31, 2005 threshold proposed in Notice 77 when it was released in November 2007. Brand names on labels approved before July 1986 and containing the name of the AVA would be allowed as long as at least 85 percent of the grapes that go into the wine come from the appellation, among other rules.

The later grandfathering date in Notice 77 would favorably impact the Calistoga Cellars and Calistoga Estate brands, launched in 1998 and 2005, respectively. The winery supported the later grandfather period in Notice 77.

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