Did I screw up big-time?

Discussion in 'Commercial Winery Forum' started by RonObvious, Jan 28, 2019.

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  1. Jan 28, 2019 #1

    RonObvious

    RonObvious

    RonObvious

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    Question about naming one's enterprise "XYZ Vineyards" vs. "XYZ Winery."

    So we're finally in the last stages of being able to sell to the public. LLC business has been created, we've got our permit from the TTB, state, FDA, etc. etc... the LAST step on the list is to get a COLA. So now that the government is back open, I figure the timing is perfect for me to submit the COLA application for our first label. I'm reading through the documentation about image size and all that and happen to notice something I hadn't before:

    "If a brand name includes a vineyard, orchard, farm, or ranch name, at least 95 percent of the contents must come from the vineyard, orchard, farm, or ranch referred to in the name."

    A few years ago we purchased some land and started growing grapes. Our grapes are starting to come into production but at the moment we're still supplementing with juice/grapes from the Finger Lakes. Obviously we look forward to the day we can grow 100% of what we produce, but we aren't there yet and won't be for a few more years.

    So the question is, can I submit a label with our brand being "XYZ Vineyards" even though the vineyard itself is not yet producing at least 95% of the grapes?

    When I first read the regulation my heart sunk because I've already done all the above paperwork with the TTB, state, etc. as "XYZ Vineyards." Going back and re-doing it would be a MAJOR headache and loss of time. But then I remembered some other examples (not naming names) of other wineries in the area that I KNOW are doing the same thing (buying grapes from somewhere else) and still call themselves a "Vineyard" on the label.

    I could call the TTB and get my question answered today, but since this is their first day back on the job after the shutdown I don't want to bother them. Plus I want to see what others' experience has been first. Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Jan 28, 2019 #2

    KevinL

    KevinL

    KevinL

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    Hmm. My DBA is set up as a "vineyard" as well and for the first few years only about 30-40% is going to come from the property. I'll say that I didn't notice this and we've gotten 2 COLAs approved without them so much as a question with regards to the name.

    Not a lawyer here, but this would be my theory:

    "XYZ Vineyard" is your company name, and not the brand name of the product. You have to put your company name on the label regardless. If you choose to include a brand name, then you'd need to make sure the grapes are of that brand. So if you put "made with XYZ Vineyard brand grapes" you wouldn't be able to do that.

    I'd go ahead and submit your COLA as is, and I bet that nothing will happen other than it getting approved. If it gets rejected, then it'll be easier for you to get in touch with someone to fix it, as well as a shorter wait on your resubmit. With all of the regulatory agencies I've found it's easier to get someone to answer your questions once you have a rejection letter in hand rather than trying to get a general question answered without something for the agent to look at.
     
  3. Jan 28, 2019 #3

    RonObvious

    RonObvious

    RonObvious

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    Thanks KevinL, that was extremely helpful and reassuring! Your theory is a thought that was roaming through the back of my head but I couldn't put into words. OK, I'm gonna submit it as-is. Much appreciated!
     

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