The movement to end purposeful mislabeling and misuse of geographic names by some wine producers is increasing every year. These milestones underscore the continued expansion and support by governments, courts and international trade officials to prevent consumers from being misled and to protect the reputations of wine regions around the world.
Oregon Prohibits Use of Semi-Generic Designations on Wine Labels
The adoption of Oregon Administrative Rule 845-010-0930 (2004) ensured that no person may use a semi-generic designation (such as Burgundy, Chablis, and Chianti) of geographic significance or a name that implies a semi-generic designation as a class or type designation on a Oregon wine label.
Washington Wine Quality Alliance Formed
The Alliance is formed to begin to work toward common standards of quality for wines at all levels in the state. It defines the term “reserve” and its use on wine labels; requires all wines labeled “Washington wine” to be made entirely of grapes grown within the state; prohibits the use of the names Burgundy, Champagne, Bordeaux, and Chablis; and requires members to follow best management practices, addressing sustainable grape production, environmental quality, human resources, and economic viability.
California Protects Napa Name
California state government backs proposal and passage of Business and Professions Code Section 25241, requiring that wine sold for interstate or foreign commerce cannot use the name “Napa” or the names of other federally recognized sub-appellation located within Napa County on a wine label or other advertising for the wine unless at least 85 percent of the wine must be derived from grapes grown in the area indicated by the appellation.
California Court of Appeals Upholds Wine Labeling Law
The California Court of Appeals denied an appeal to overturn a California state law prohibiting labels that misleadingly include the “Napa” name without using Napa Valley grapes to produce the wine.
Transatlantic Agreement Signed by Eight Renowned Wine Regions
Five American and three European wine regions sign a transatlantic agreement – Joint Declaration to Protect Wine Place & Origin – and embark on an effort to educate policymakers and consumers around the world about the importance of place names. The signatories are Napa Valley, Oregon, Walla Walla Valley, Washington, Willamette Valley, Champagne, Jerez-Xérès-Sherry, and Porto.
Supreme Court Upholds CA Law, Protects Napa Name
In refusing to hear an appeal of the unanimous California Court of Appeals decision in the “Napa Ridge” case, the U.S. Supreme Court upholds a California state law reserving the Napa Valley name exclusively for wines from the Napa Valley AVA.
California Protects Sonoma County Name
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signs a law reserving the use of the Sonoma County name to labels on wines with at least 75 percent of grapes from Sonoma County.
U.S. Congress Approves Legislation Protecting European Wine Place Names
The U.S. Congress passes legislation implementing the first phase of the U.S.-EU Wine Accord banning the future misuse of 16 wine place names, including Burgundy, Chablis, Champagne, Chianti, Port, Sherry, and Tokay. However, the legislation allows U.S. producers the option to continue using misleading labels already on the market.
Wine Origins alliance Expands to 14 Regions
Six U.S. and international wine regions join the original signatories of the Joint Declaration to Protect Wine Place & Origin. The new signatories include Sonoma County (California), Paso Robles (California), Chianti Classico (Italy), Tokaj (Hungary), Victoria (Australia), and Western Australia.
EU Protects Napa Valley’s Name
Napa Valley becomes the first wine region outside the European Union to be granted geographic indication status, gaining protection of the California AVA’s name throughout Europe.
Australia and EU Sign Wine Accord
Australia and the EU sign “the most comprehensive agreement ever concluded with a third country”; Australia agrees to phase out misuse of Champagne, Sherry, Port, and other names in the future.
Long Island (New York) and Rioja Join Wine Origins alliance
With the addition of Long Island and Rioja, the Joint Declaration to Protect Wine Place & Origins expands to 16 quality wine regions.
California Protects Sonoma County Name
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed law requiring all wine produced in a Sonoma County AVA to include the words “Sonoma County” on its wine label. All wineries must comply by January 1, 2014.
Australia Protects EU Wine Names and Gain GI Protections in the EU
After a one year phase-out process, Australia recognizes European wine region names, including Burgundy, Chablis, Champagne, Port, and Sherry; at the same time, the EU agrees to recognize 112 Australian geographic indications (GIs).
China and Brazil Increase Protection of Champagne Name
Chinese and Brazilian trade officials formally recognize the Champagne name and appellation, thereby prohibiting the name’s misuse in each of these countries.
Canada Protects EU Wine Names
After a phase-in period, Canadian law protects Chablis, Champagne, Port/Porto, Sherry, Burgundy, Bordeaux, and Chianti; requiring all wines to be accurately labeled based on their origin.
Santa Barbara County (California), Bordeaux and Bourgogne/Chablis Join Wine Origins Alliance
The Joint Declaration to Protect Wine Place & Origins now boasts 19 quality wine regions – all jointly advocating for better protection of quality wine regions and their names.
Barossa Joins Wine Origins Alliance
The South Australian wine region of Barossa joined the Wine Origins Alliance as the 20th member.
Four Napa Valley dessert wines will no longer be called ‘port’
Four Napa Valley Vintner members will voluntarily discontinue using the term “port” for their fortified dessert wines
McLaren Vale, Texas Wine Growers, and British Columbia Wine Institute Join Wine Origins Alliance
The Wine Origins alliance welcomed three new members, bringing total to 23, during Vinexpo 2017 in Bordeaux
Poll Finds Overwhelming Consumer Support for Accurate Wine Labeling
A survey of 800 U.S. wine consumers conducted by GBA Strategies found that 94 percent of consumers support establishing laws that are designed to protect consumers from misleading labels and ensure that only wines from a particular region may use the name of that geographic region, while 75 percent say that wine labels should be accurate to allow consumers to make an educated purchase.
Congressional Resolution Acknowledges Contributions of U.S. Wine Regions
U.S. Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Lee Zeldin (R-NY) introduce a Congressional resolution, H.Res.766, that recognizes the uniqueness of American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) and the contributions they provide to the U.S. and global economy.
United Kingdom Protects Napa Valley Name
As a proactive measure ahead of Brexit, the Napa Valley name received Certification Mark protection in the United Kingdom, guaranteeing continued protection after the UK leaves the European Union.