NY wine label OKs to come faster

Sample label from Millbrook Winery.
WASHINGTON, DC -- U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY, who has been pushing the federal government to speed up the process of approving labels for New York State wines, has announced real progress.

Schumer says the federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau is streamlining the process of approving labels, something that must be done before the products can be sold. Many of the state's 300-plus wineries have complained that it has been taking months to get such approval.

The senator now says the agency has agreed to immediately begin approving template labels for custom winemakers. That will be good news for those wineries that have complained they need approval each time they make even small changes to artwork or names on labels designed for special events such as anniversaries, weddings and birthdays.

In explaining the delays, the agency has said that over the past decade its staff has been reduced due to budget cutbacks while label-approval applications from wineries nationwide have almost doubled.

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