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NY B84468

May 7, 1997

MAR-2 RR:NC:SP:232 B84468


Mr. Bernard J. Babb
Wasserman, Schneider & Babb
90 John Street
New York, New York 10038


Dear Mr. Babb:

This is in response to your letter dated April 21, 1997, on behalf of your client, requesting a ruling on whether the proposed marking "Produce of France" is an acceptable country of origin marking for imported wines if another marking "Kiss of New York" appears on the article containing a reference of a country or locality other than the actual country of origin of the article. A marked sample was not submitted with your letter for review. Copies of the labels of the two products and a copy of the BATF Certificate of Label Approval were submitted with your request.

The subject merchandise consists of two white wines in 750 milliliter bottles, containing 11 percent alcohol by volume. One product will be a sparkling white wine, and the other a sparkling white wine flavored with Cassis. In both cases, grapes grown and harvested in France will be pressed to extract the juice. After cleaning and filtering to remove the skin, pits, etc., the grape juice will be fermented to produce a white wine. The white wine will be packed in stainless steel containers and shipped to Switzerland. Once in Switzerland, the wine will be transferred to tanks for a second fermentation process, which produces naturally sparkling wine. After this second fermentation, one product will be bottled for shipment to the United States. In the case of the second product, a Cassis extract, produced in France from the distillation of fruits, will be added to the sparkling wine. This product will then be bottled for export to the United States.

The attached labels of both products have a black background with various colored stripes in the center. Across the stripes in white lettering is the trade name "Kiss of New York". All of the following markings on the labels are in gold lettering. The right of the label shows "Produce of France", and the left of the label shows "Alc.11% by vol.". The bottom of one label has the word "BRUT", and below this "French Sparkling Wine". The bottom the other label shows "French Sparkling Wine with Cassis".

The marking statute, section 304, Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1304), provides that, unless excepted, every article of foreign origin (or its container) imported into the U.S. shall be marked in a conspicuous place as legibly, indelibly and permanently as the nature of the article (or its container) will permit, in such a manner as to indicate to the ultimate purchaser in the U.S. the English name of the country of origin of the article.

Part 134, Customs Regulations (19 CFR Part 134), implements the country of origin marking requirements and exceptions of 19 U.S.C. 1304. As provided at 19 CFR 134.1(b), the "country of origin" of an article is the country of manufacture, production, or growth. Further work or material added in a second country must effect a substantial transformation in order to render the second country the country of origin. A substantial transformation is generally said to occur if, after processing an article emerges having a new name, character or use. See 19 CFR 134.35.

In this instance, the questions are whether the process of a second fermentation to produce a naturally sparkling wine and the process of a second fermentation plus the addition of a Cassis flavor effect substantial transformations. We do not believe that these processes substantially transform the French wine. Wine is sent to Switzerland and after it is made sparkling, or after it is made sparkling and flavored, it remains French wine.

Section 134.47, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.47), provides that when the name of a place other than the country of origin appears as part of a trademark or trade name or as part of a souvenir marking, the name of the actual country of origin must appear in close proximity to the place name "or in some other conspicuous location". Whether the country of origin appears "in close proximity" or in some other conspicuous place, the name of the country of origin must be preceded by "Made in," "Product of," or words of similar meaning. In other words, if the question concerns a trademark, trade name or souvenir marking, the country of origin marking need only meet the general standard of conspicuousness.

The proposed marking of the imported sparkling white wines, "Produce of France", as described above, satisfies the marking requirements of 19 CFR 134.47 and is an acceptable country of origin marking for the imported products.

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 CFR Part 177).

A copy of the ruling or the control number indicated above should be provided with the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is imported. If you have any questions regarding the ruling, contact National Import Specialist John Maria at 212-466-5730.


Gwenn Klein Kirschner
Chief, Special Products Branch

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