U.S. Supreme Court Supports California Supreme Court Decision Regarding Truth in Labeling Napa Valley Vintners Prepare to Defend Remaining Issues in Consumer Protection Case
3/21/2005 - St. Helena, Calif. - The U.S. Supreme Court has declined a request by the Bronco Wine Company to overturn a decision handed down by the California Supreme Court in 2004. This decision represents a significant victory for the Napa Valley Vintners (NVV) and their efforts to defend truth in labeling issues pertaining to California wine labels.
In January, Bronco appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court to address the issue of federal preemption of the state law passed by California legislators in 2000, closing a loophole in wine labeling regulations. The California law states that a wine with the word Napa in its brand name must have Napa grapes in the bottle. The case was originally heard by the Court of Appeal of the State of California, Third Appellate District, where three justices sided with Bronco. The NVV and the State appealed that ruling to the California Supreme Court which ruled unanimously in favor of the NVV that the state law was not preempted by federal law.
The U.S. Supreme Court's move to let the lower court decision stand clears the way for oral argument on the remaining issues: free speech, interstate commerce, and takings. A hearing is scheduled for April 20, 2005 in the California Court of Appeal in Sacramento.
"We are very pleased that the U.S. Supreme Court will allow the California Supreme Court decision to stand," said Linda Reiff, executive director of the Napa Valley Vintners. "Our position is simple: if it says Napa on the label, it should be Napa in the bottle. We eagerly anticipate the opportunity to defend our position on the remaining issues because we believe that place is important to wine, and that labels should not mislead consumers."
The Napa Valley Vintners is a professional nonprofit trade organization. Its 265 member vintners are committed to the future of Napa Valley through the preservation and enhancement of its land, wine and community. An important part of its mission is to promote and protect the Napa Valley appellation as one of the finest winegrowing regions in the world.
Visit the Napa Valley Vintners Web site at www.napavintners.com/legal for background information, and previous press releases from the Napa Valley Vintners regarding this case.
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