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Wine Label Regulations Amended to Facilitate International Shipments

Monday, June 10, 2013
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The Treasury Department’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau has issued a final rule that, effective Aug. 9, will permit the alcohol content of wine to appear on labels affixed to the container other than the brand label. TTB states that this change reflects an agreement among members of the World Wine Trade Group that entered into force July 1, 2010, and was based on the understanding that common labeling requirements would provide industry members with the opportunity to use the same label when shipping wine to each of the WWTG member countries (Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Georgia, New Zealand, South Africa and the U.S.).

While regulated industry members are generally required to obtain a certificate of label approval from TTB prior to the bottling or removal of domestic wines, or prior to the release of imported wines, in containers from customs custody for consumption, the agency’s position is that a new COLA is not required if the only change made to a wine label appearing on a previously issued COLA is the moving of the alcohol content information to a label other than the brand label.

TTB adds that although similar changes had been proposed with respect to distilled spirits and malt beverages, those changes are not being finalized at this time and remain under consideration.

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