We’re closely watching an application to designate a swath of Sonoma County as the “Pine Mountain/Mayacamas” AVA. You can track the status of the petition yourself here: http://www.ttb.gov/wine/wine-rulemaking.shtml. Comments on the petition are due September 9, 2010.
AVA designation is a labor-intensive and expensive process, but can result in significant cache for vineyards meeting the designation. We always find the process interesting. Sometimes there are issues about the actual space; e.g. is the climate unique? Is the area easily geographically defined? If those issues can be resolved, the real issues center around the chosen name; e.g. is the name tied to the place? Does the name conflict with existing trademarks? Will the name cause consumer confusion?
Real fireworks start if the proposed AVA is within Napa Valley, which triggers California Business & Professions Code 25241 as well as the involvement of the Napa Valley Vintners Association. In the past years, the Calistoga and Tulocay AVA petitions were quite controversial, and thus extremely interesting to watch.
Information on the interplay of B&P 25241 and the Tulocay AVA application can be found here: www.ttb.gov/nprm_comments/ttbnotice68/0680023.pdf.
Alcohol.law Digest is published for general informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice.
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