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Proposed Rule

Proposed Establishment of the Calistoga Viticultural Area (2003R-496P)

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Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), Treasury.


Notice of proposed rulemaking.


The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau proposes to establish the “Calistoga” viticultural area in Napa County, California. The proposed area surrounds the town of Calistoga and is entirely within the existing Napa Valley viticultural area. We designate viticultural areas to allow vintners to better describe the origin of their wines and to allow consumers to better identify wines they may purchase. We invite comments on this proposed addition to our regulations.


We must receive written comments on or before May 31, 2005.


You may send comments to any one of the following addresses:

You may view copies of this notice, the petition, the appropriate maps, and any comments we receive on this proposal by appointment at the TTB Library, 1310 G Street, NW., Washington, DC 20220. To make an appointment, call 202-927-2400. You may also access copies of the notice and comments online at​alcohol/​rules/​index.htm.

See the Public Participation section of this notice for specific instructions and requirements for submitting comments and for information on how to request a public hearing.

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Lisa M. Gesser, Regulations and Procedures Division, Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, P.O. Box 128 Morganza, MD 20660; (301) 290-1460.

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Background on Viticultural Areas

TTB Authority

Section 105(e) of the Federal Alcohol Administration Act (the FAA Act, 27 U.S.C. 201 et seq.) requires that alcohol beverage labels provide the consumer with adequate information regarding a product's identity and prohibits the use of misleading information on those labels. The FAA Act also authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury to issue regulations to carry out its provisions. The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) administers these regulations.

Part 4 of the TTB regulations (27 CFR part 4) allows the establishment of definitive viticultural areas and the use of their names as appellations of origin on wine labels and in wine advertisements. Part 9 of the TTB regulations (27 CFR part 9) contains the list of approved viticultural areas.


Section 4.25(e)(1)(i) of the TTB regulations (27 CFR 4.25(e)(1)(i)) defines a viticultural area for American wine as a delimited grape-growing region distinguishable by geographical features, the boundaries of which have been recognized and defined in part 9 of the regulations. These designations allow vintners and consumers to attribute a given quality, reputation, or other characteristic of a wine made from grapes grown in an area to its geographic origin. The establishment of viticultural areas allows vintners to describe more accurately the origin of their wines to consumers and helps consumers to identify wines they may purchase. Establishment of a viticultural area is neither an approval nor an endorsement by TTB of the wine produced in that area.


Section 4.25(e)(2) of the TTB regulations outlines the procedure for proposing an American viticultural area and provides that any interested party may petition TTB to establish a grape-growing region as a viticultural area. Section 9.3(b) of the TTB regulations requires the petition to include—

  • Evidence that the proposed viticultural area is locally and/or nationally known by the name specified in the petition;
  • Historical or current evidence that supports setting the boundary of the proposed viticultural area as the petition specifies;
  • Evidence relating to the geographical features, such as climate, elevation, physical features, and soils, that distinguish the proposed viticultural area from surrounding areas;
  • A description of the specific boundary of the proposed viticultural area, based on features found on United States Geological Survey (USGS) maps; and
  • A copy of the appropriate USGS map(s) with the proposed viticultural area's boundary prominently marked.

Calistoga Petition

TTB received a petition from James P. “Bo” Barrett of Chateau Montelena, a Calistoga, California, winery and vineyard, on behalf of interested parties in the Calistoga viticultural community proposing to establish “Calistoga” as an American viticultural area. Located in northwestern Napa County, California, the proposed viticultural area surrounds the town of Calistoga and is entirely within the existing Napa Valley viticultural area (27 CFR 9.23). Below, we summarize the evidence presented in the petition.

Name Evidence

The petitioner submitted the following as evidence that the proposed Start Printed Page 16452Calistoga viticultural area is locally and nationally know as Calistoga:

  • Excerpts from Charles L. Sullivan's book, “Napa Wine: A History from Mission Days to Present,” which explains that Sam Brannan founded the town of Calistoga in 1857 and established vineyards there in 1862. Sullivan's book includes viticultural and winery census data circa 1880, which all report Calistoga separately from other Napa County grape-growing regions. Sullivan's map of Napa wineries in 1893 shows a significant clustering of wineries near Calistoga distinctly separate from the wineries found in surrounding areas.
  • Excerpts from “The University of California/Sotheby Book of California Wine,” which note Sam Brannan's first vineyard planting in Calistoga.
  • Excerpts from an 1881 book, “History of Napa and Lake Counties,” which shows three Napa County viticultural districts—Calistoga, St. Helena, and Napa.
  • Excerpts from Leon Adams' 1973 book, “The Wines of America,” which refer to Calistoga as a specific grape growing area.
  • Excerpts from Hugh Johnson's 1983 book, “Hugh Johnson's Modern Encyclopedia of Wine,” which lists Calistoga among his list of “unofficially recognized appellations or sub-areas.” The petitioner explains that 10 of the 12 defined sub-areas listed in this book are now designated as American viticultural areas.
  • Excerpts from André Dominé's book, “Wine,” recognizes Calistoga as a distinct region within Napa Valley, noting that “the bay influences the weather less as the valley rises up toward Calistoga, which is classified as a Region III area.”
  • Excerpts from James Laube's 1989 book, “California's Great Cabernets,” which explain that for the purposes of the book, “a ‘commune’ system within Napa Valley is utilized to differentiate where grapes are grown within the valley as well as to analyze regional styles of wines.” In his list, Laube includes Calistoga equally among the other nine Napa Valley “communes.” The petition notes that 9 of the 10 communes listed are now TTB-approved viticultural areas.
  • Excerpts from James Halliday's book, “Wine Atlas of California,” which, the petitioner states, “so definitively covers the Calistoga area that the chapter in his book could provide most of the evidential requirements for this entire petition.”
  • A brief summary of “Calistoga's Wine History” by Calistoga Winery proprietor Jim Summers, which, the petitioner states, “includes a more historical perspective in the long recognition of Calistoga as a viticultural area.”

Boundary Evidence

The petition states that the established viticultural areas surrounding the proposed Calistoga area easily define a portion of its proposed boundaries. The existing St. Helena viticultural area's northwestern boundary defines Calistoga's southeastern boundary, while the existing Diamond Mountain area's northeastern boundary defines Calistoga's southwestern boundary. The petitioner uses the Napa-Sonoma county line, which is the Napa Valley viticultural area's boundary in the northwestern corner of Napa County, to also define Calistoga's western and northern boundaries. The 880-foot elevation line, beyond which lies rugged, unplantable terrain, defines Calistoga's eastern limit and returns the proposed boundary to its starting point.

Distinguishing Features

The petition includes, as evidence of the area's unique growing conditions, a report written by Jonathan Swinchatt, Ph.D., of EarthVision, Inc.

Geologic and Geographic Features

Dr. Swinchatt's report indicates that the proposed Calistoga viticultural area is distinguished from surrounding areas by its geographic and geologic features. Dr. Swinchatt explains:

The entirety of the proposed viticultural area is underlain by volcanic bedrock, part of the more widespread Sonoma Volcanics that occur in the Vaca Mountains, in the northern Mayacama Mountains, bordering the lower slopes of the southern Mayacamas Mountains, and in Sonoma County. All the rock materials in the proposed viticultural area—bedrock and sediments—are part of, or derived from, the Sonoma Volcanics. These rocks comprise lava flows, ash-fall tuffs, welded tuffs, pyroclastic flows, mudflows, and ignimbrites. Their composition is largely andesitic with some rhyolitic rocks admixed. AVAs [American Viticultural Areas] farther to the south'St. Helena, Rutherford, and Oakville, in particular'exhibit significantly greater geologic diversity across their width, being underlain primarily by marine sedimentary rocks on the west side of the valley but by volcanic rocks on the east. In addition, these AVAs contain alluvial fan environments on their edges, and fluvial (river) environments in their more central parts. The proposed Calistoga AVA is topographically more diverse but geologically more uniform than these other AVAs that include valley floor environments. The mineralogy and chemistry of the substrate throughout the proposed viticultural area reflects the common source of the granular materials in the Sonoma Volcanics.

In the mountains, vineyards are planted in colluvium-sedimentary particles that have been transformed from the parent bedrock through weathering processes and have accumulated either in place or moved only a short distance. The upland soils are dominantly excessively drained, gravelly loams, very stony loams, and loams, on steep slopes. Most of the breakdown products of weathering have been transported by streams into the valley; much of the finer material has been transported from the area by the Napa River, leaving coarser sediments behind throughout much of the proposed viticultural area.

Alluvial fans have formed at the mouths of most of the drainages, particularly along the northeast side of the valley at Dutch Henry Canyon, Simmons Canyon, Jericho Canyon, and north of Tubbs Lane at the headwaters of the Napa River in Kimball Canyon. At all these locations, cobbly and gravelly loams extend well out onto the valley floor, mixed here and there with finer-grained sediments. On the southwest side, small fans occur at the mouths of Diamond Creek, Nash Creek and Ritchie Creek. These locations are characterized by cobbly and gravelly loams. Coarse sediments characterize the valley floor throughout the extent of the proposed viticultural area, the finer-grained materials having been transported out of the region by the waters of the Napa River. Soils throughout the proposed viticultural area are loams, gravelly loams, cobbly loams, often with boulders, some with admixtures of silt and clay-clay-rich soils are of limited distribution. These sediments are well-drained, with admixtures of clay providing water-holding capacity that Further south in the Napa Valley, gravelly loams and loams are characteristic only of the upper reaches of the alluvial fans that line the valley, while the valley center is often covered by much finer, clay-rich, material.

Climatic Features

In addition to the proposed area's unique geographic and geologic features, Dr. Swinchatt's report indicates that its unique climatic features further distinguish the proposed Calistoga viticultural area from surrounding areas. Dr. Swinchatt explains:

Climatic information in our report for the Napa Valley Vintners' Association is based on data from, a website that provides climatic information throughout the United States. DAYMET data is based on a computer algorithm that allows the extension of data from scattered weather stations into areas of complex topography. The algorithm was tested over 400,000 square kilometers in Washington State and found to be accurate within 1.2 degrees centigrade for temperature prediction and to be able to predict rainfall with an 83 percent accuracy.

Heat summation in degree days, defined as the total number of hours above 50 degrees Fahrenheit, is the accepted general measure of temperature and solar insolation in the wine industry. While heat summation is only a general indicator of regional temperature, it Start Printed Page 16453provides a more useful view than the limited temperature data from one or two available weather stations. Temperature—climate in general—can vary over distances of a few hundred feet or less, so that temperature measurements at one or two locations mean little within a regional context. Under these conditions, DAYMET heat summation data provides as good a measure of regional conditions as is available.

Examination of DAYMET data indicates that most of the proposed viticultural area-mountain slopes and valley floor alike-lies within Region III, defined as the range of 3000 to 3500 degree days. Only a small area of the valley floor in the proposed viticultural district—east of the restriction in the valley formed by the ridge just west of the mouth of Dutch Henry Creek—lies within low region IV. The difference is well within the limits of accuracy of the data, indicating that the entire proposed viticultural area has a similar temperature profile. Farther south, valley floor vineyards are exposed to significantly different temperature conditions than those in the hills; in the Calistoga region, valley floor and hills appear to be part of a single climatic regime. This regime is characterized by hot days and cool nights, conditions ideal for a combination of ripening grapes but maintaining good acid balance.

One of the long-standing climatic assumptions in the Napa Valley is that Calistoga has the highest temperatures of any location within the valley. Temperature data and anecdotal evidence, however, dispute this assumption, both indicating that the hottest part of the valley is a small region just west closer of Bale Lane. Hottest average temperatures in August (over the 18 year period from 1980 ton 1997) occur from Stags Leap District to south of Dutch Henry Canyon, along the base of the Vaca Mountains.

The Calistoga AVA is cooled by air currents drawn in from the Russian River through the northwestern comer of the mountain heights. These are drawn in to replace hot air rising from the valley, currents that used to support sailplanes headquartered at the Gliderport at Calistoga. In addition, cooling breezes flow down the slopes of both the Vaca and Mayacamas Mountains in the later afternoon. Daytime peak temperatures reach about 100 degrees at mid-day. The heated air rises by convection, drawing in cooler air form the Russian River, the breezes continuing after sunset, cooling the valley floor to about 65 degrees. Further cooling occurs, on fog free nights, driven by cool air moving down slope from the mountains, providing additional cooling of 12 to 15 degrees.

Minimum nighttime temperatures often average about 50 degrees, giving a diurnal temperature range that sometimes is greater than 50 degrees. Vintners in the proposed viticultural areas hold that this large diurnal variation is one of the main influences on the character of wines from the region. The hot daytime temperatures provide color and big berry fruit, while the cool nights provide good acid balance for structure and develop power in the wines. The character of wines in the southeastern-most corner of the proposed viticultural district, south of the “Sterling Hill” between Maple and Dunaweal Lanes is somewhat softer due to higher nighttime temperatures.

In its southern and central portions, the Napa Valley trends northwest-southeast, with slopes facing mainly northeast and southwest, modified by the drainages that cut the WI slopes that add diversity to the aspect presented by vineyards to the sun. In its northern portions, however, the trend of the valley is closer to west-east, with the major slopes facing just east of north (in the Mayacamas Mountains) and just west of south (in the Vaca Mountains). A slope aspect map indicates also that the valley floor has very little flat ground, most of it reflects the slopes of alluvial fans, gentle on the north (such as at Dutch Henry Canyon) and steeper on the south. Slope aspect and exposure to the sun in the Calistoga region thus is quite distinct from that in any other AVA within the Napa Valley region.

Rain fall in the Calistoga region is typically higher than elsewhere in the area, with the highest rainfall recorded just outside the northern perimeter of the proposed viticultural area, on Mount St. Helena. Precipitation is highest in the mountains, up to 60 plus inches per year, and lowest in the valley, but year-to-year variation is large, as it is elsewhere in the Napa Valley region. DAYMET data for the years 1990 to 1997 indicate that precipitation ranged from just over 20 inches to over 55 inches on the valley floor, and from about 25 inches to over 65 inches in the surrounding mountains. Measures of average rainfall thus have little meaning.

Boundary Description

See the narrative boundary description of the petitioned-for viticultural area in the proposed regulatory text published at the end of this notice.


The petitioner(s) provided the required maps, and we list them in the proposed regulatory text.

Impact on Current Wine Labels

Part 4 of the TTB regulations prohibits any label reference on a wine that indicates or implies an origin other than the wine's true place of origin. If we establish this proposed viticultural area, its name, “Calistoga,” will be recognized as a name of viticultural significance. Consequently, wine bottlers using “Calistoga” in a brand name, including a trademark, or in another label reference as to the origin of the wine, will have to ensure that the product is eligible to use the viticultural area's name as an appellation of origin. The proposed part 9 regulatory text set forth in this document specifies the “Calistoga” name as a term of viticultural significance for purposes of part 4 of the TTB regulations.

For a wine to be eligible to use as an appellation of origin the name of a viticultural area specified in part 9 of the TTB regulations, at least 85 percent of the grapes used to make the wine must have been grown within the area represented by that name, and the wine must meet the other conditions listed in 27 CFR 4.25(e)(3). If the wine is not eligible to use the viticultural area name as an appellation of origin and that name appears in the brand name, then the label is not in compliance and the bottler must change the brand name and obtain approval of a new label. Similarly, if the viticultural area name appears in another reference on the label in a misleading manner, the bottler would have to obtain approval of a new label. Accordingly, if a new label or a previously approved label uses the name “Calistoga” for a wine that does not meet the 85 percent standard, the new label will not be approved, and the previously approved label will be subject to revocation, upon the effective date of the approval of the Calistoga viticultural area.

Different rules apply if a wine has a brand name containing a viticultural area name that was used as a brand name on a label approved before July 7, 1986. See 27 CFR 4.39(i)(2) for details.

Public Participation

Comments Invited

We invite comments from interested members of the public on whether we should establish the proposed viticultural area. We are also interested in receiving comments on the sufficiency and accuracy of the name, boundary, climactic, and other required information submitted in support of the petition. Please provide any available specific information in support of your comments.

Because of the potential impact of the establishment of the proposed Calistoga viticultural area on brand labels that include the words “Calistoga” as discussed above under Impact on Current Wine Labels, we are particularly interested in comments regarding whether there will be a conflict between the proposed area name and currently used brand names. If a commenter believes that a conflict will arise, the comment should describe the nature of that conflict, including any negative economic impact that approval of the proposed viticultural area will have on an existing viticultural enterprise. We are also interested in receiving suggestions for ways to avoid any conflicts, for example by adopting a modified or different name for the viticultural area. Start Printed Page 16454

Submitting Comments

Please submit your comments by the closing date shown above in this notice. Your comments must include this notice number and your name and mailing address. Your comments must be legible and written in language acceptable for public disclosure. We do not acknowledge receipt of comments, and we consider all comments as originals. You may submit comments in one of five ways:

  • Mail: You may send written comments to TTB at the address listed in the ADDRESSES section.
  • Facsimile: You may submit comments by facsimile transmission to 202-927-8525. Faxed comments must—

(1) Be on 8.5- by 11-inch paper;

(2) Contain a legible, written signature; and

(3) Be no more than five pages long. This limitation assures electronic access to our equipment. We will not accept faxed comments that exceed five pages.

  • E-mail: You may e-mail comments to Comments transmitted by electronic mail must—

(1) Contain your e-mail address;

(2) Reference this notice number on the subject line; and

(3) Be legible when printed on 8.5- by 11-inch paper.

  • Online form: We provide a comment form with the online copy of this notice on our Web site at​alcohol/​rules/​index.htm. Select the “Send comments via e-mail” link under this notice number.
  • Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: To submit comments to us via the Federal e-rulemaking portal, visit and follow the instructions for submitting comments.

You may also write to the Administrator before the comment closing date to ask for a public hearing. The Administrator reserves the right to determine, in light of all circumstances, whether to hold a public hearing.


All submitted material is part of the public record and subject to disclosure. Do not enclose any material in your comments that you consider confidential or inappropriate for public disclosure.

Public Disclosure

You may view copies of this notice, the petition, the appropriate maps, and any comments we receive by appointment at the TTB Library at 1310 G Street, NW., Washington, DC 20220. You may also obtain copies at 20 cents per 8.5- x 11-inch page. Contact our librarian at the above address or telephone 202-927-2400 to schedule an appointment or to request copies of comments.

For your convenience, we will post this notice and any comments we receive on this proposal on the TTB Web site. We may omit voluminous attachments or material that we consider unsuitable for posting. In all cases, the full comment will be available in the TTB Library. To access the online copy of this notice, visit​alcohol/​rules/​index.htm. Select the “View Comments” link under this notice number to view the posted comments.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

We certify that this proposed regulation, if adopted, would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The proposed regulation imposes no new reporting, recordkeeping, or other administrative requirement. Any benefit derived from the use of a viticultural area name would be the result of a proprietor's efforts and consumer acceptance of wines from that area. Therefore, no regulatory flexibility analysis is required.

Executive Order 12866

This proposed rule is not a significant regulatory action as defined by Executive Order 12866, 58 FR 51735. Therefore, it requires no regulatory assessment.

Drafting Information

Lisa M. Gesser of the Regulations and Procedures Division drafted this notice.

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List of Subjects in 27 CFR Part 9

  • Wine
End List of Subjects

Proposed Regulatory Amendment

For the reasons discussed in the preamble, we propose to amend title 27, chapter 1, part 9, Code of Federal Regulations, as follows:

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1. The authority citation for part 9 continues to read as follows:

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Authority: 27 U.S.C. 205.

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2. Amend subpart C by adding § 9.__ to read as follows:

Subpart C—Approved American Viticultural Areas


(a) Name. The name of the viticultural area described in this section is “Calistoga”. For purposes of part 4 of this chapter, “Calistoga” is a term of viticultural significance.

(b) Approved maps. The appropriate maps for determining the boundaries of the Calistoga viticultural area are the following four United Stages Geological Survey (USGS) 7.5 minute series, 1:24000 scale topographic maps. They are titled:

(1) Mark West Springs, Calif. (1993);

(2) Calistoga, CA (1997);

(3) St. Helena, Calif. (1960, revised 1993); and

(4) Detert Reservoir, CA (1997).

(c) Boundary. The Calistoga viticultural area is located in northwestern Napa County, California. The boundary's beginning point is on the Mark West Springs map at the point where the Napa-Sonoma county line intersects Petrified Forest Road in section 3, T8N/R7W. From this point, the boundary:

(1) Continues northeasterly along Petrified Forest Road approximately 1.9 miles to the road's intersection with the 400-foot contour line near the north bank of Cyrus Creek approximately 1,000 feet southwest of the intersection of Petrified Forest Road and State Route 128 on the Calistoga map;

(2) Proceeds generally east-southeast (after crossing Cyrus Creek) along the 400-foot contour line to its intersection with Ritchey Creek in section 16, T8N/R6W;

(3) Follows Ritchey Creek northeast approximately 0.3 miles to its intersection with State Route 29 at the 347-foot benchmark;

(4) Proceeds east-southeast along State Route 29 approximately 0.3 miles to its intersection with a light-duty road labeled Bale Lane;

(5) Follows Bale Lane northeast approximately 0.7 miles to its intersection with the Silverado Trail;

(6) Proceeds northwest along the Silverado Trail approximately 1,500 feet to its intersection with an unmarked driveway on the north side of the Silverado Trail near the 275-foot benchmark;

(7) Continues northeasterly along the driveway for 300 feet to and beyond its intersection with another driveway, and continues north-northeast in a straight line to the 400-foot contour line;

(8) Follows the 400-foot contour line easterly approximately 0.7 miles to its intersection with an unimproved dirt road (an extension of a road known locally as the North Fork of Crystal Springs Road), which lies in the Carne Humana Land Grant approximately 1,400 feet southwest of the northwest corner of section 11, T8N/R6W on the St. Helena map;

(9) Continues northerly along the unimproved dirt road approximately 2,700 feet to its intersection with the Start Printed Page 16455880-foot contour line in section 2, T8N/R6W;

(10) Follows the meandering 880-foot contour line northwesterly, crossing onto the Calistoga map in section 2, T8N/R6W, and continues along the 880-foot contour line through section 3, T8N/R6W, sections 34 and 35 T9N/R6W, (with a brief return to the St. Helena map in section 35), to the 880-contour line's intersection with Biter Creek in the northeast quadrant of section 34, T9N/R6W;

(11) Continues westerly along the meandering 880-foot contour line around Dutch Henry Canyon in section 28, T9N/R6W, and Simmons Canyon in section 29, T9N/R6W, to the contour line's first intersection with the R7W/R6W range line in section 30, T9N/R6W;

(12) Continues northerly along the meandering 880-foot contour line across the two forks of Horns Creek and through Hoisting Works Canyon in section 19, T9N/R6W, crossing between the Calistoga and Detert Reservoir maps, to the contour line's intersection with Garnett Creek in section 13, T9N/R7W, on the Detert Reservoir map;

(13) Continues westerly along the meandering 880-foot contour line, crossing between the Calistoga and Detert Reservoir maps in sections 13 and 14, T9N/R7W, and in the region labeled “Mallacomes or Moristul y Plan De Aguacaliente,” to the contour line's intersection with the Napa-Sonoma county line approximately 1.1 miles northeast of State Route 128 in the “Mallacomes or Moristul y Plan De Aguacaliente” region, T9N/R7W, of the Mark Springs West map; and

(14) Proceeds southerly along the Napa-Sonoma county line to the beginning point at the intersection of the county line and Petrified Forest Road, section 3, T8N/R7W.

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Signed: March 8, 2005.

John J. Manfreda,


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[FR Doc. 05-6350 Filed 3-30-05; 8:45 am]