Sonoma County vintners and winegrape growers are taking a big step toward reducing consumer confusion about Sonoma County wines with the passage of AB1798, the conjunctive wine label initiative, which was signed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on September 24.
Supported by all of Sonoma County’s wine industry groups and introduced in the Assembly by members Noreen Evans, Wesley Chesbro and Jared Huffman, the bill passed unanimously in both the Assembly and the Senate.
“Conjunctive labeling will aid thousands of businesses and keep good jobs in the county because our economy depends on a vibrant wine industry,” said Assemblymember Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa). “By improving consumer education on each bottle, conjunctive labeling will enable the diversity of our delicious wines to represent Sonoma County around the world.”
“We are thrilled to see the Governor sign this bill, which achieves our goal of including Sonoma County on all wines produced in the county or one of its 13 American Viticulture Areas (AVA),” said Honore Comfort, executive director of the Sonoma County Vintners. “This moment is truly the result of collaboration among the vintners and winegrape growers of every AVA of Sonoma County, and marks the beginning of a stronger Sonoma County brand for generations to come.”
Nick Frey, president of the Sonoma County Winegrape Commission, was equally pleased: “In this increasingly competitive wine market, building awareness for Sonoma County and the wine regions within the county is critical to Sonoma County grape growers and the wineries they supply. AB1798 will insure that consumers recognize every bottle of wine produced from Sonoma County grapes.”
Wineries must now include Sonoma County on their labels, along with the AVA (such as Dry Creek Valley), when the law becomes effective January 1, 2011. Vintners will have three years to phase in the changes to their labels.