September 2012, Vol. 2

Napa Valley Receives GI Status in Canada

The movement to end purposeful mislabeling and misuse of wine place names reaches another major milestone! On May 22, Declaration signatory Napa Valley Vintners (NVV) announced the Napa Valley wine region has been recognized by the Canadian government with a Geographical Indication (GI) for wine sold in the country. With this landmark recognition, Napa Valley becomes the first American wine or spirit product or region to receive GI status. This isn’t the first time the Napa Valley name has received protection outside the U.S. In 2007, NVV successfully secured GI status for Napa Valley in the European Union, making it the first non-EU product of any sort to secure such protection there. In the years since, NVV has successfully campaigned for GI status in India (2010) and Thailand (2011).

Fears Over Private Ownership of Wine Regions' Names, Wine-Searcher Magazine
Within a year, Internet users could be visiting sites with .wine and .vin addresses, as the world wide web expands. However, the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV) claims the move could lead to many wine regions forfeiting valuable intellectual property.

Global Wine Market Projected oo Reach 27.5 Billion Litres by 2017, Official Wire
The global wine market is projected to reach 27.5 billion litres by 2017, with market growth being mainly driven by factors such as rising affluence, growing shift towards premium alcoholic beverages, increasing consumption of wine, and adoption of western lifestyles in developing markets.

Additional Transnational Wine Trade Agreements , On Reserve
As summer passes by, there are several noteworthy updates with respect to wine law. These updates cover upcoming and prior events, relating mostly to the academic side of wine and its intersection with the law. It is wonderful to see the variety of events and the opportunities to learn and interact with others interested in wine and law. If there are any events, past or present, that I missed, please contact me.

Wine Producers Want to Make Sure What’s on the Label Truly Reflects What’s in the Bottle, Associated Press
Napa Valley wine producers will go a long way to protect their good name, all the way to Thailand if necessary. That’s the latest country which has awarded Geographic Indication status to Napa wine, which means they’ve agreed not to allow sales of wine labeled “Napa” if the grapes inside aren’t from that California region

Appellations of Origin, Wine Worlds Magazine
During one of my peregrinations, I came across an article titled, “ Faking Success”. It stated among other things: “Counterfeit goods are raking up huge profits for criminals, while costing reputable manufacturers billions in sales. Both threaten American jobs and consumer safety.”

GIs a Candidate for the Exclusive Club of Appellations of Origin at WIPO, Intellectual Property Watch
World Intellectual Property Organization members last week debated a possible new instrument to protect products with specific origins and characteristics. The current agreement covering such products has attracted few members since its entry into force in 1966, so a designated working group was tasked with finding possible ways to make the system more attractive to new members. One particular focus was the potential inclusion of geographical indications (GIs) in the text, and their level of protection.

European Audit of GIs Shows Need for Clear Rules, Awareness, Intellectual Property Watch
The European Court of Auditors yesterday issued a performance audit on European Commission management of the European geographical indications (GI) scheme, which covers products with an estimated value of €15 billion annually. The auditors found room for improvement in clarifying the rules and a need for greater awareness of GIs.


Champagne: The Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne (CIVC), continues to gain protection of the Champagne name across the globe. In 2012, the Champagne AOC was registered in the Dominican Republic and Malaysia. The Chinese administration also worked to protect the Champagne name. As in former years, the administration recently seized and destroyed Chinese sparkling wines bearing the Champagne designation in Chinese characters. Moreover, for the first time Israel, Uruguayan and Guatemalan courts have forbidden the use of the name Champagne as trademarks to designate non-wine products. Champagne also won a major victory at home. The European trademark office, the Office of Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM), canceled an application to register “CHAMPARTY” to designate wines.  The trademark office found that CHAMPARTY had sought to take advantage of the reputation of Champagne.

Chianti Classico: In June, the region elected a new board of directors of the Consorzio Vino Chianti Classico. The Consortium is represented by companies of various areas of Chianti Classico and the representative body that will manage the Gallo Nero for the next three years. The Consortium also elected a new president, Sergio Zingarelli. In addition, the Consortium approved measures to revamp the DOC, valorizing Riserva with new production rules and creating a new category of Chianti Classico.

Napa Valley: Further cementing its status as a leading body that embraces the importance of location when it comes to producing quality wine, Napa Valley Vintners (NVV) in early May announced its decision to join the Organization for an International Geographical Indications Network (oriGIn), which is dedicated to advocating for more legal recognition of Geographic Indicators worldwide. In a statement, NVV President Linda Reiff hailed the decision stating “Consumers around the world need to be assured that when it says 'Napa Valley' on the wine label, the wine truly comes from this extraordinary place.”


Porto: The Port and Douro Wines Institute, in its mission to protect the designations of origin that it represents, recently registered both the Port and Douro designations in Peru and Ukraine. By taking this step, it has reinforced the protection afforded to the wines produced in the Douro Valley. Peru and Ukraine are now obliged to respect and protect the name Porto. The IVDP is also able to take measures against any abuse of the designation of origin in these countries.


Rioja: Since 1999, the Rioja Control Board has been fighting with Argentine authorities to prevent the use of La Rioja as a denomination of origin for wines produced in Argentina due to its concern Argentines were taking advantage of the Spanish Rioja fame and misleading consumers in regard of geographic origin. In 2002, the Rioja Control Board achieved the addition of word “Argentina” as part of the geographical indication and limited the use of the name La Rioja Argentina as a geographical indication instead of a denomination of origin, which would signal higher quality. However, the Rioja Control Board remained concerned with potential consumer confusion in the market and has continued their legal battle before Argentine courts. In a study developed and released in the course of the litigation, it showed that a majority number of consumers confused the origin of the La Rioja Argentina product with that of Spain’s Rioja. Unfortunately, in February 2011, an Argentine judge found the use of the word “Argentina” as part of the geographical indication was effective to distinguish the two regions. The judge also found the Argentine indication complied fully with TRIPS Article 23. Most recently in February 2012, the Argentine National Chamber of Appeals for Administrative Regulation confirmed the lower court’s decision. In spite of this second judgment, the Rioja Control Board continues to fight before the Federal Court and is pushing national and European authorities to support its defense.

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