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Federal agency offers guidance over use of term “clean” in wine marketing

The federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) on Friday offered some guidance over the use of the word “clean” on labels and advertising for alcohol beverages.

The issue has been a source of concern for some wine industry professionals who argue that some wineries are misleading consumers over the term, which has no standard for its use on labels and advertising within federal guidelines as opposed to the term “organic.” There was criticism in 2020 when actor Cameron Diaz and entrepreneur Katherine Power launched their Avaline brand that heavily featured the term within their marketing and the brand’s website notes the “clean ingredients” that go into the product.

The agency, which oversees alcohol production and labeling and advertising, said in a statement that consumers should not interpret the term “clean” to mean that the product is organic or has met other standards. It noted in some cases that “clean” can describe a taste such as a “clean, crisp wine.”

But the agency said in other cases the term “clean” could be unsuitable such as “to create the misleading impression that consumption of the alcohol beverage will have health benefits” or minimizes health risks with consumption. The TTB added that it would consider such claims to be misleading health-related statements.

Constellation Brands reports yearly sales result

Constellation Brands Inc., owner of such local brands as Napa’s Robert Mondavi and Healdsburg’s Simi, on Thursday reported that its wine and spirits division had a 19% decrease in net sales in fiscal 2022 compared to the previous year.

The Victor, New York, company, which more than a year ago sold many of its low-budget brands to E. & J. Gallo Winery, reported $2 billion in wine and spirits sales for the fiscal year that ended on Feb. 28. For the fourth quarter, its wine and spirits sales were down 7% compared to the same period a year ago.

The company is focusing more on its premium wine brands and noted that the high-end portion of its portfolio had double-digit net sales growth during the past year and that was led by The Prisoner wine label. Constellation also provided guidance for the rest of the year with a net sales decline of between 1% to 3% for its wine and spirits division though the operating income will grow between 4% to 6% for the portfolio.

Alexander Valley wine event to be held in June

The Alexander Valley Winegrowers trade group will host a food-and-wine festival on June 11 and 12.

The Eat Drink Experience Alexander Valley festival will offer different events with a capacity limited to 20 guests. The participating wineries include Alexander Valley Vineyards, Pech Merle, Mercury, deLorimier, Soda Rock and Francis Ford Coppola.

There will also be a joint venture during the festival of five micro-wineries that include Sutro, La Cienega, Bedarra, Brooklyn West and Dot Wines. There will be two event time slots on each day at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Two-day tickets are priced at $250 per person and include access to four experiences throughout the festival. There will also be tickets for a one-day experience or to attend a single event.

Tickets are available at AlexanderValley.org/Experience-Alexander-Valley-Event.

Compiled by Bill Swindell. Submit items to bill.swindell@pressdemocrat.com.

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