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Label language for grape brandy with botanicals


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Working on a distilled grape brandy with many added herbs - sort of a bitters/amaro vibe. The catch is I have a winemakers license, and this would be a "grape brandy with other stuff". Best I can find is where there is a single or dominant botanical, the wording is "brandy flavored with X". What if i have a whole gaggle of botanicals in there? Thanks much ya'll. 

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Hi Ian back in 2015 The Spirit Guild got a label approved for a botanical brandy. That looked like...

Fanciful Name

Distilled from (name of fruit)

Botanical Brandy

With a list of botanicals in the description on the back label.

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On 12/3/2020 at 8:19 AM, JustAndy said:

Do you have a dsp in addition to your wine makers license? If not, you are limited to making a wine fortified with brandy, and not a flavored brandy. 

Andy, I do not. I was under the impression a winery that sent wine or pomace out to a distillery, and received brandy or grappa in return, could sell those bottles without anything other than an 02-winegrowers license in California. Would the addition of botanicals change that to the best of your knowledge? 

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I believe the product must be produced and bottled by the dsp and returned to you as tax paid bottled product to sell it under your license.  I am not in California so I would consult a distillery that offers those services, I distill a lot for wineries but  in Oregon wineries cannot sell bottled brandy either. 

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I've been absent from the Forum for more than a little while, trying to get personal things into perspective.  I'll try and answer questions again.

If you send wine to a DSP, they can distill it and return it to you, but only for use in wine production, which means that you use it for what the wine regulations call a wine spirits addition.  The product must be wine to which you have added distilled spirits, not spirits to which you have added wine.  Let's take a stroll though the regulations.

The bulk sales and bottling provisions of part 1 of TTB's regulations prohibit a distillery from transferring bulk spirits (spirits in containers of more than one gallon) to anyone not not authorized to receive them:

§1.80   Sales of distilled spirits in bulk.

It is unlawful for any person to sell, offer to sell, contract to sell, or otherwise dispose of distilled spirits in bulk, for nonindustrial use, except for export or to the classes of persons enumerated in §§1.82, 1.83, and 1.84.

Wineries can receive them under the provisions of §1.83

§1.83   Acquiring or receiving distilled spirits in bulk for addition to wine.

Persons holding permits as producers and blenders of wine, may, pursuant to such permit, acquire or receive in bulk alcohol or brandy for addition to wines.

Wineries are not otherwise authorized to receive bulk spirits. 

So, you have to add them to wine, but how does one determine if a product is a wine to which spirits have been added or a spirit to which wine has been added?  The definitions provide the answer:

§5.11 - Distilled spirits. Ethyl alcohol, hydrated oxide of ethyl, spirits of wine, whisky, rum, brandy, gin, and other distilled spirits, including all dilutions and mixtures thereof, for nonindustrial use (Beverage use) . The term “distilled spirits” shall not include mixtures containing wine, bottled at 48 degrees of proof or less, if the mixture contains more than 50 percent wine on a proof gallon basis. The term “distilled spirits” also does not include products containing less than 0.5 percent alcohol by volume.

To close the loop, §24.10 defines wine.   "Wine. When used without qualification, the term includes every kind (class and type) of product produced on bonded wine premises from grapes, other fruit (including berries), or other suitable agricultural products and containing not more than 24 percent of alcohol by volume. The term includes all imitation, other than standard, or artificial wine and compounds sold as wine. A wine product containing less than one-half of one percent alcohol by volume is not taxable as wine when removed from the bonded wine premises."  That part then places a limitation on the quantity of wine spirits that the proprietor of a winery can add to wine."

Finally, §24.225 authorizes the receipt of spirits from a DSP, but only for uses as are authorized in that part.  §24.233(b) allows the addition of spirits only if the alcohol content of wine after the addition of spirits may not exceed 24 percent by volume.

Bottom line - a winery may not bottle brandy of flavored brandy or any distilled spirits specialty that contains brandy.  If a winery does, the tax rate is $13.50 a proof gallon, because the winery is not entitled to a reduced rate on spirits.  

 

 

 

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Thanks for the response, that was my understanding. One other question: if a winery is fortifying a 'wine', does the commodity type of the spirit need to match the wine? For example, can apple spirits be added to grape wine? Or pear brandy added to apple 'wine'?

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It must be spirits derived from the same type of fruit as the wine to which it is being added.

 

§24.225   General.

The proprietor of a bonded wine premises may withdraw and receive spirits without payment of tax from the bonded premises of a distilled spirits plant for uses as are authorized in this part. Wine spirits produced in the United States may be added to natural wine on bonded wine premises if both the wine and the spirits are produced from the same kind of fruit. 

 

 

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19 hours ago, dhdunbar said:

It must be spirits derived from the same type of fruit as the wine to which it is being added.

 

§24.225   General.

The proprietor of a bonded wine premises may withdraw and receive spirits without payment of tax from the bonded premises of a distilled spirits plant for uses as are authorized in this part. Wine spirits produced in the United States may be added to natural wine on bonded wine premises if both the wine and the spirits are produced from the same kind of fruit. 

 

 

One thing I section I came across recently seems contradictory on this point where "alcohol" is specifically mentioned.

§ 4.21 The standards of identity.

...

(g) Class 7; aperitif wine.

(1) Aperitif wine is wine having an alcoholic content of not less than 15 percent by volume, compounded from grape wine containing added brandy or alcohol, flavored with herbs and other natural aromatic flavoring materials, with or without the addition of caramel for coloring purposes, and possessing the taste, aroma, and characteristics generally attributed to aperitif wine and shall be so designated unless designated as “vermouth” under paragraph (g)(2) of this section.

(2) Vermouth is a type of aperitif wine compounded from grape wine, having the taste, aroma, and characteristics generally attributed to vermouth, and shall be so designated.

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I'm not a wine whiz so, as I start to type this, I don't know how to answer your question

I start with what I think I now.  I think know this:

  • Part 24 (IRC) and part 4 (FAA Act) should be consistent. 
  • Since §24.225 leaves little doubt about the same type of spirits requirement, §4.21 should be consistent and include the same restriction.   

How can I demonstrate that they are consistent?  I don't know, so I'll take you on a search, which I must make, to show how I go about answering this sort of question.

I note that the phrase used in §4.21(f) is "added brandy or alcohol."  Your website give a  convenient link to terms, which is a clue to how I normally proceed.  Unless I know what a term means within the context of the regulation, and sometimes when I think I know,  I go looking at the definitions.  In this case, I look first at §4.10.

  • Added brandy. Brandy or wine spirits for use in fortification of wine as permitted by internal revenue law

Now, internal revenue law is the basis for §24.225. so let's look there. 

  • §24.225 is authorized by 26 U.S.C. 5214, 5366, 5373, 5382, 5383.  You find that at the bottom of the section.  So we begin a slog and hope we get to an answer quickly.  Hint -  since 5382 and 5383 are close in number, I take a flier and go there first.

§5382(b)provides an answer.  It contains, in pertinent part, the following provisions. 

  • "Specifically authorized treatment.  The practices and procedures specifically enumerated in this subsection shall be deemed proper cellar treatment for natural wine:
  • (2) The addition to natural wine ... from one kind of fruit, of wine spirits ... distilled in the United States from the same kind of fruit; [there are other restrictions stated of which a person wanting to add spirits should be aware].
  • (7) The blending of natural wines with each other or with heavy-bodied blending wine or with concentrated or unconcentrated juice, whether or not such juice contains wine spirits, if the wines, juice, or wine spirits are from the same kind of fruit.
Next, your source provides a link to the definitions of the term "same kind of fruit."  To find the definition in the regulations - I know it is a term used in part 24 because I just know that - I go to the definition section (§4.10) and find: 
  • "Same kind of fruit. In the case of grapes, all of the species and varieties of grapes. In the case of fruits other than grapes, this term includes all of the several species and varieties of any given kind; except that this will not preclude a more precise identification of the composition of the product for the purpose of its designation."
Now let's deal with the distinction between brandy and alcohol. 
  • Brandy is a spirit produced from fruit at less than 190 proof.  It is defined by standard in part 5. 
  • Alcohol is defined in §4.10 as "Alcohol. Ethyl alcohol distilled at or above 190° proof." 

So the provisions of §4.21(g) allow you to use any spirit derived from the same type of fruit regardless of the proof of distillation. 

So, to string this together:
  • You make aperitif wine by compounding grape wine with "added brandy or alcohol."  [§4.21(g)].
  • The term "added brandy or alcohol is a defined term.  It means "Brandy or wine spirits for use in fortification of wine as permitted by internal revenue law." [§4.10].  
  • The internal revenue regulation is part 24.  Spirits additions (a broad term that includes both brandy and alcohol) are regulated under §24.,225.
  • §24.225 is authorized by §5382 of the IRC
  • So §5382 is the relevant section for purposes of the definition of the term "added brandy or alcohol" set forth in §4.10 and as the term is used  §4.21(g).
  • §5382 contains a same fruit requirement.
  • §4.10 defines same fruit to mean grapes for grapes and apples for apples, etc.  
Making the appropriate substitutions in §4.21(g), it comes to read, "(1) Aperitif wine is wine having an alcoholic content of not less than 15 percent by volume, compounded from grape wine and grape brandy or grape neutral spirits.  
I do not know why the regulations don't just state he requirement that simply, but they do not. 
If I were a producer of such products, I would confirm this with TTB.  If they gave a different answer, I would ask them the sources they used to arrive at a different answer.
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

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