NABI Supports TTB Proposal to Strengthen Accurate Labeling of Sweet Fortified Wines

NABI Press Release (2022-1) – August 12, 2022


NABI Supports TTB Proposal to Strengthen Accurate Labeling of Sweet Fortified Wines


The National Association of Beverage Importers (NABI), the only nationwide trade association

representing the importers of distilled spirits, wine, beer/malt beverages, ciders, and meads,

provided comments today to the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) in support

of this important rulemaking project. “The clarity on the future labeling of these dessert wines

that are sweet and fortified with spirits will greatly benefit the wine consumer in making a

purchase,” said NABI President Robert M. Tobiassen “and benefits both the producers of Port,

Sherry, and other sweet fortified wines that are geographical indications in the European Union

as well as importers of such wines.” He added “importers derive strong marketing benefits from

this clarity and informed labeling of the sweet fortified wines they import from around the world

and promote in the United States marketplace”


With the continuing trade agenda of the European Commission to obtain geographical indication

recognition for Port and Sherry, among certain other wine names, around the world, the

informed labeling of fortified wines with similar characteristics of sweetness and spirits

fortification is in the interests of (1) importers and the industry that produces Ports and Sherry,

(2) the fortified wine industry both in the United States and worldwide, and (3) consumers who

want to enjoy the sweet wines within this category without being confused about the identity of

these sweet wines.


In 2006, after more than a decade of negotiations with the European Commission, the U.S.

agreed to phase out or limit the use of semi-generics wine names of European origin for

domestic and wines imported to the U.S. from other than the EU, subject to a grandfathering

proviso that allowed for the continued use of a semi-generic for a label bearing the same brand

name and fanciful name that appeared on an approved COLA before March 10, 2006. 1 Having

lost the ability to label these sweet wines as Port or Sherry on or after March 10, 2006 (unless

you are a grandfathered COLA label), the industry, the importers, and the consumers need more

specific information about the product on the label to identify the character of the sweet wine

fortified with spirits and to prevent the potential for confusion with a sweet wine entitled to the

designation of Port or Sherry. “The proposal in Notice No. 211 accomplishes this goal by

allowing truthful and accurate statements of composition on these sweet wines which contain

clear references to the added spirits or brandy, and allows the term ‘fortified’ in conjunction with

the name of the added spirits,” said Tobiassen.


For more information on NABI or this Press Release, please contact NABI at

nabipresident@beveimporters.org or visit the NABI website at www.bevimporters.org

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