Protecting “Wines of a Place”

The next time you’re in Thailand, you’ll be able to order a bottle of Napa Valley wine with confidence.

That’s because Thailand has joined a slowly growing list of countries and regions that have granted “geographic indication” status to wines from Napa. Translation: If a bottle shows “Napa” on the label, the wine inside had better be from Napa.

You can read the full report here.

It’s all part of a truth-in-labeling effort that began many years ago. Only then, it was the United States that was on the receiving end. French vintners had grown tired of American wineries labeling their bubbly wine as “Champagne,” and initiated an effort to have the practice stopped.

Ultimately, the French won out, but only after a great deal of resistance. A few long-time makers of American “Champagne” were grandfathered in, and still use that designation to this day, much to the consternation of some French vintners.

But now the shoe is on the other foot, and wine producers in the Napa Valley are working hard to protect their good geographic name—especially since the words “Nava Valley” are now being seen on some Chinese wine labels.

More than ever, consumers are taking an interest in where the food products they buy were grown or raised…or fermented. The movement that embraces locally produced food is part of that trend.

Perhaps the day will come when all Champagne is from Champagne, all Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is from Napa Valley, and all Port is from Portugal. But as long as there are independent businesspeople looking for an edge, winemakers all over the world will need to be diligent about protecting their home turf.

Have you ever bought a bottle of wine that you thought came from one place, and turned out to be from someplace else? Tell us about it in the Comments box below.

Posted in The Wine Business
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