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Regulators Mount Up on Wine Names

Younger and newly established wine labels have recently been hit hard by the enforcement of a law concerning the names of wine. A trade pact between the United States and Europe, established to protect the origin of the wine, does not allow American wine labels to use names usually associated with European wines. You see in the old days - and I mean before wines were produced in California old - wine derived its name from the location in which it was made. Champagne was from Champagne, Port was from Portugal, Chianti was from Italy, and Sherry was from Spain. When vintners in America began to use similar techniques and grapes in their wine production, they took the European names and used them on their wine labels.

Following the practice of the trade agreement, all new wine labels from young wineries submitted for review to the US government must follow the rules. This has caused lots of public whining from vintners. Even if they have spent years making a certain varietal of wine, like a Port they can no longer name it a Port. Large, esteemed older wineries are not affected by the law.

Wouldn't it have been cool if the early American winemakers had followed the European technique and named their wine after the location in which it was produced? Wine would be called Napa, Sonoma, and San Luis Obispo!

Source: Press Democrat

Join The Conversation
kscincotta kscincotta 10 years
I actually hate trying to make sense of European wine labels since they don't often list the varietal, or they call the same varietal by different names because they're from different places. It just doesn't make sense to me that they label them by location of production. And up until like two months ago, I didn't know that Port was actually short for Portugal (in a way).
bluejeanie bluejeanie 10 years
these wine regulators are such snotty snot snot snots. booooooo on them.
bluejeanie bluejeanie 10 years
personally, i think this is BS. americans make their wine with the same BREED of grape, resulting in the same darn flavor as the wine from a certain region from france/germany/portugal/etc. the EU are just being snotty butt-heads about it.
blahhchic blahhchic 10 years
Actually its ALWAYS been against the law to refer to a sparkling wine as Champagne if it was made outside of the Champagne region of France. So if you get a "champagne" made by a US winery they have to label it sparkling wine (usually this is written in small print on the bottom of the label). Or ,yes, I suppose you could look for "bubbly-sparkling toasting wine." lol.
cgmaetc cgmaetc 10 years
Wait, so now the names are simply brand names and not discriptors? So when CA wineries make a Champagne(TM), they have to call it something else, like Napa bubbly-sparkling toasting wine? -the ceeg
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