ATF, Bronco Wine Settle

Tuesday, August 22nd 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — In their biggest wine-labeling settlement to date, federal regulators have accepted a $750,000 settlement from Bronco Wine Co. after a four-year investigation.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms began investigating Bronco after receiving complaints about the company's use of the name Rutherford Vineyards on its labels, an apparent reference to a grape-growing region.

But in order to use a geographic name, 85 percent of the grapes used in making a wine must come from that area, said ATF spokeswoman Marti McKee.

It was unclear where Bronco Wine's grapes come from. ``It's entirely possible that none of the grapes came from California,'' McKee said.

McKee said mislabeling investigations are not that common, but that the size of the settlement was important to send a message.

The company, based in Ceres near Modesto in the San Joaquin Valley, issued a statement saying the settlement involves a brand name that it no longer uses, and that it is now using ATF-approved labels.