Tom's blog

Misleading labels under attack

The Wine Origins Alliance is pursing federal legislation that will establish stronger regulations in wine labeling. It's about time.

The lobby's focus is on states that put their location on a wine - but get their grapes from another state.  It named Texas in a recent press release, but did not provide any specific examples.

This is hardly new or really that common. I remember Mark West once made pinot noir from grapes grown in Chile.It was very misleading because no where on the label did it say the wines for this inexpensive wine came from Chile. I don't understand why any reputable dealer would even attempt this ruse and it wasn't long before Mark West dropped the practice. However, meanwhile it's reputation was temporarily sullied.

In the European Union and Australia, wine region names are protected through a registry of geographical indications. In the United States, they are protected through well-established federal and state laws that protect American Viticultural Areas for the wine industry inside its borders. However, the U.S. permits the use of wine region names like Champagne, Chablis, Chianti, Port and Sherry on labels of wines that do not originate in those European regions.

The use of "champagne" and "chablis," once popular by EJ Gallo, has been a source of lawsuits by European producers. You don't see it that often anymore.