The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) recently published TTB Industry Circular 2017-3, which serves as notice that, effective immediately, TTB is no longer requiring importers of certain bottled or bulk wine from the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France to obtain a declaration from the Government of France.
TTB previously obtained information from French authorities about investigations of wine producers and merchants in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France who were suspected of selling wine labeled as pinot noir when the wine was not produced from pinot noir grapes. These investigations resulted in criminal charges of fraud and subsequent convictions for certain producers and merchants associated with the fraud. As a result, to help ensure the integrity of imported wines in the U.S. marketplace, TTB temporarily required U.S. importers of bottled or bulk wine from the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France covered by a certificate of label approval (COLA) naming pinot noir as the single grape varietal and an appellation of origin in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France, to obtain a declaration from the Government of France.
TTB has remained in contact with France’s General Directorate for Competition Policy, Consumer Affairs, and Fraud Control (DGCCRF) as the appeals process in those cases has proceeded. The DGCCRF informed TTB that the process was concluded and that new regulatory measures have been put into place to address the occurrence of such violations going forward.