Monterey County Conjunctive Labeling

On Friday, February 27, 2015, the members of the Monterey County Vintners & Growers Association voted to pursue Conjunctive Labeling legislation for Monterey County.  The original bill was authored by Assemblymember Mark Stone (D-Monterey Bay), requiring that Monterey County wines be labeled to identify the region where they are produced. On August 11, 2015, Governor Jerry Brown signed Bill 394 into action, fully taking effect January 1, 2019.

WHAT IS CONJUNCTIVE LABELING

Conjunctive Labeling is the labeling of wine showing both the region and sub-region (AVA) of origin.

As applied to wines made from grapes grown in Monterey County, all wines that include a Monterey County sub-AVA on the label will also include “Monterey County” on the label. If a wine label already includes the “Monterey” AVA on the label, they are exempt from adding “Monterey County.”

This is a CA state law, governed as a recording with the Alcohol & Tobacco Tax & Trade Bureau (TTB), as well as the California Department of Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC).

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

WHY LABEL CONJUNCTIVELY

Consistent representation of Monterey County on labels will:

  • Build brand equity and loyalty for Monterey County wines and grapes
  • Preserve and strengthen our position in the world wine market
  • Increase sales of wines produced by Monterey County grapes
  • Increase recognition for every AVA within Monterey County, both well known and less familiar, and ensure that consumers understand where they are located

TIMELINE

August 11, 2015: Approval by State Legislature
January 1, 2016: Law enacted
January 1, 2019: Bottles produced on or after required to include Monterey County on label sub-AVA of Monterey County is also included

WHAT THE ACTION WILL MEAN

  • ALL wine labeled with a sub-AVA that is entirely within Monterey County must also include the term “Monterey County” on the label.
  • Wineries have creative flexibility on the placement, font, and font size (as long as minimum requirements are met) of “Monterey County” within their label design.
  • There is a three year phase-in period, so the labeling law will apply to wines bottles on or after January 1, 2019.
  • The law will be enforced by the ABC.
  • EXEMPTIONS: If the wine includes any of the following on the label, “Monterey County” is not required:

    – “Monterey” (referring to the AVA). (This provides a choice for wine labels with a sub-AVA within the larger Monterey AVA to label either “Monterey County” or “Monterey” AVA)
    – “Central Coast”, “California” or “USA” (or any other geographic area that is larger than Monterey County)
    – “Chalone” because the Chalone AVA has small portions of the AVA within San Benito County, it is exempt from the requirement “Chalone” because the Chalone AVA has small portions of the AVA within San Benito County, it is exempt from the requirement

For more information, please contact:

Kim Stemler, Executive Director
Monterey County Vintners & Growers Association
kim@montereywines.org or 831-375-9400 or 831-915-6621