The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) has published several notices pertaining to the regulation of wine and spirits. Comments on all are requested by January 3, 2011. Responding to recent action taken by the Food and Drug Administration with respect to cochineal extract and carmine, which will have to be declared on food labels because of their potential for severe allergic reactions, TTB has proposed requiring the disclosure of these ingredients on wines, distilled spirits and malt beverages. Cochineal extract and carmine are derived from an insect native to subtropical South America and Mexico. According to TTB, its proposal “would allow consumers who are allergic to cochineal extract or carmine to identify and thus avoid alcohol beverage products that contain these color additives.”

TTB has also proposed amending wine labeling regulations “to allow the labeling of imported wines with multistate appellations of origin.” According to the agency, this “would provide treatment for imported wines similar to that currently available to domestic wines bearing multistate appellations. It would also provide consumers with additional information regarding the origin of these wines.” The proposed rulemaking responds to a petition filed by the Australian Wine and Brandy Corp., which requested that its exported wines be allowed to include multiple state designations where the grapes in the product are from the listed regions.

In a related matter, TTB has announced that it is considering amending regulations addressing various winemaking terms “commonly used in labels and in advertisements to provide consumers with information about the growing or bottling conditions of wine.” The agency seeks public input on the use and definition of terms such as “estate,” “estates” or “estate bottled,” as well as “proprietor grown,” “vintner grown,” “vineyard,” “orchard,” “farm,” “ranch,” “proprietors blend,” “old vine,” “barrel fermented,” “old clone,” “reserve,” “select harvest,” “bottle aged,” and “barrel select.” See Federal Register, November 3, 2010.