Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Wine controversies

In 1967 a case was brought by four British producers of Sherry demanding they be allowed to use the word 'Sherry' on their labels.
The court accepted that Sherry was an English corruption of the Arab name for the town of Jerez [Sherish].
Despite this the companies were able to continue using the term until the mid-1990s when a European Union ruling finally enforced the Spanish claim that only fortified wines produced around Jerez could be called Sherry.
In the European Union and many other countries the name Champagne is legally protected, meaning only sparkling wine produced in the eponymous region of France to a strict set of rules can be labelled as such.
An EU court decision in 1994 banned even the use of the term 'champagne method' for sparkling wines made in other locations.
In 2009 the European Union abandoned plans to allow rosé wine to be made simply by mixing red and white wines following an outcry led by producers in France.
The following year an Australian tribunal blocked a French winemaker's attempt to register a name giving the impression it originated in New Zealand.
Lacheteau, based in the Loire Valley, had already labelled its sauvignon blanc as 'Kiwi Cuvee' in Europe and the UK but New Zealand Winegrowers successfully opposed an attempt to do the same in Australia.
Months later in October 2010 a dozen family producers of Italy's Amarone red wine formed a group pledging to maintain the quality of the brand amid fears it was becoming mass-produced.
Production of the wine in the Valpolicella region had jumped from nine million bottles in 2006 to 15 million bottles in 2008 leading the breakaway 12 to vow to produce no more than two million bottles annually featuring distinctive hologram badges.
In March this year Casella Wines, of Australia, lodged a case in a New York federal court accusing The Wine Group of San Francisco of trademark infringement for its 'Little Roo' label which was alleged to be strikingly similar to the former's 'Yellow Tail' label.
The papers claim that the kangaroo on the American firm's label was portrayed in profile, leaping and "oriented [in] the same direction" as the yellow-footed rock wallaby on Yellow Tail bottles.
In another recent case Greece, which has a northern province called Macedonia, has tried to pressure German importers to stop buying wine from the Republic of Macedonia.
It claims it copyrighted the term Macedonian in 1989 and the issue has become part of a much wider row as Greece in fact objects to the country being called Macedonia at all.

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