Three renowned wine regions recently signed the Joint Declaration to Protect Wine Place & Origin. By signing the Declaration, the new signatories—the American wine region of Santa Barbara County and the French wine regions of Bordeaux and Bourgogne/Chablis—become part of a global movement to protect wine place names and ensure that such are not used improperly or in a misleading fashion.
While the declaration contains signatures of recognized and respected wine regions—including, but not limited to, Napa Valley, Douro Valley, Sonoma County, Walla Walla Valley, and Willamette Valley—the addition of great regions Santa Barbara County, Bordeaux, and Bourgogne/Chablis simply reinforces the movement’s success and prominence. Further, the recognition of the Declaration by such prominent regions indicates how important truth in labeling is to the consumer as well as regional producers. More importantly, the supplementary endorsers confirm the underlying importance of accurate labeling in the context of global international trade, particularly with respect to provincial characteristics of the land that simply cannot be reproduced or manufactured, which is (more often than not) a struggle for producers of many global wine regions to properly protect in international commerce.
By becoming signatories of the Declaration, members agree that geographic names are fundamental tools for consumers to identify the special wines associated with specific winegrowing regions. And as such, they commit to work together to bring the necessary awareness and advocacy to bear to ensure these names are protected and respected. From great winegrowing regions to consumer rights groups to everyday wine consumers, more and more are making their voices heard in the campaign to protect wine place names.
The addition of wine region parties to the Joint Declaration to Protect Wine Place & Origin is likely to become more and more frequent as wine regions grow and as wine trade expands and evolves. Specifically, it is not inconceivable that more wine regions will join the Declaration as signatories to fortify their recognition in the global market. This may even become more prevalent as wine regions enter markets where producers from other regions use similar or the same names on wine products that do not originate from the actual region that gained place and name recognition.
For more information on wine or alcohol law, international trade, or geographical indications, please contact Lindsey Zahn.
DISCLAIMER: This blog post is for general information purposes only, is not intended to constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship results. Please consult your own attorney for legal advice.