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ATF Explosives Industry Newsletter Masthead
 December 2001
Office of Alcohol and Tobacco
Page 2  

Richard Gahagan, ATF Wine Technical Advisor Retires

By Alice Hall (202) 927-8100
Richard's career with ATF started in 1967 as an on-premise inspector in the Fresno, California, field office. He worked as an on-premise inspector, an inspector, senior inspector and as officer-in-charge before being promoted to ATF's Wine Technical Advisor in 1982. He is the first person to hold this position. He received his Masters Degree in Enology in 1982 from California State University, Fresno. As the Bureau's Wine Technical Advisor, he worked on a variety of significant assignments helping both field as well as headquarters efforts.

In 1983 and again in 1999, he worked with the interagency wine committee in negotiating bilateral wine accords with the then European Economic Community (EEC). He was the scientist of the group responsible for addressing the EEC's concerns relating to ATF's winemaking practices. He has also represented the United States at the expert groups Food Safety, Wine Technology, Wine Microbiology, and International Code of Oenological Practice at the Office International de la Vigne et du Vin (OIV) in Paris, France. He was also a part of the United States' delegation to the Codex Alimentarius Commission that is part of the Food and Agricultural Office of the United Nations. Richard was responsible for providing advice to the U.S. Head of Delegation regarding beverage alcohol additives and contaminant issues.

During his tenure with ATF, Richard participated in over two hundred ATF sponsored industry compliance seminars covering an array of topics including laboratory analysis, enological practices, labeling regulations, distillation, record keeping, bonding requirements, changes in businesses that require reporting to ATF, taxes, importing and exporting. He was also very effective in training Bureau employees.

He coordinated symposia for American Society for Enology and Viticulture annual meetings on such diverse topics as Winery Sanitation; Importation of Bulk Wine; Exports and Laboratory Analyses. Richard has spoken nationwide before numerous industry groups. In addition to his day-to-day activities, Richard served on the Board of Directors of the Viticulture and Enology Research Center at California State University, Fresno; the Technical Projects Committee of the American Society for Enology and Viticulture; and the Grape Germplasm Advisory Committee of the United States Department of Agriculture.

Richard has received numerous awards and recognition culminating with the 2000 Outstanding ATF Professional Employee Award. But perhaps most important, Richard will be remembered for the assistance and advice he gave Bureau employees over the years in virtually every segment of ATF, including Field Operations, all of the Alcohol and Tobacco Directorate Divisions, Chief Counsel's Office and Laboratory Services.

Unfortunately, Richard will be retiring effective January 3, 2002, he will be sorely missed. However, Wine Technical Specialist, Mari A. Kirrane will take over Richard's responsibilities and may be reached at 415-947-5194. q

Naturally Italian!

italian artBy Tracy McNeill (202) 927-8140
On December 4, 2001, employees from the Alcohol Labeling and Formulation Division attended a seminar in Washington, DC presented by the Italian Trade Commission, a foreign government entity. The seminar was associated with the "Naturalmente Italiano" campaign sponsored by the Italian Ministry of Agriculture. The focus of the "Naturalmente Italiano" campaign, and the Italian Trade Commission in general, is to facilitate trade and guarantee the authenticity of Italian products in the United States.

The presenters discussed a full range of topics from the history and geography of Italian grape growing, to the intricacies of the Controlled Denomination of Origin and Typical Geographic Indication system which governs and protects the commerce of Italian wines. One speaker, a wine expert from California, was especially informative in his overview of Italian appellations and their indigenous varietals. He was also ardent in his belief that Italy is an untapped source of a multitude of yet to be discovered grape varietals and winemaking techniques.

Overall, the seminar, complete with detailed reference materials and visual aids, was a rare occasion for cultural exchange and clarification of relevant labeling and formulation issues. q

Alcohol and Tobacco Newsletter

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