Huge flap by Napa vintners over tightening rulemaking procedures at TTB. Perhaps I am missing some subtleties, but the changes seem like a positive step towards real definition of our so-called appellation system. Since we currently have very little burden of geographic proof and nothing whatever of wine flavor characterization or winegrowing rules, we are hardly in the league of European standards under which varieties and growing practices are severely restricted and tasting panels pass judgment on the quality and typicity of each vintage.

I think U.S. appellations are silly. It’s sad how easily Americans are being duped in their quest for easy guarantees. They are the enemy of terroir, a method for corporations to co-opt the hard work of pioneers. Smart small guys should devote their energy to distinctive expression of their unique piece of ground rather than supporting marketing bandwagons which inevitably will undo them.