California Supreme Court Unanimously Upholds Napa Valley Vintners Truth in Labeling Law
Consumers are Victors in Fight to End Deceptive Labels
8/5/2004 - The American consumer won a major victory today in the effort to defend truth in labeling. The California Supreme Court unanimously overturned a lower court decision that blocked enforcement of a recent California law designed to prevent deceptive wine labeling.
This decision strengthens the integrity of U.S. wine labeling, and affirms the wine consumers' right to know the true origin of the wines they enjoy.
In 2000, California passed a law originating from legislation brought forward by the Napa Valley Vintners. The law attempted to close a loophole in wine labeling regulations.
The basis of the Napa Valley Vintners position is simple: a wine label should not suggest the grapes come from Napa unless they really do. The appropriate use of a geographic name is not only a matter of consumer protection, but also an expectation of quality.
"We're pleased that the courts concurred with our position," said Linda Reiff, Executive Director, Napa Valley Vintners. "This decision reaffirms what we have contended all along - that labeling wines with the Napa Valley name without Napa Valley grapes is wrong. Those who engage in this practice have been put on notice. This ruling upholds the rights of consumers."
However, this is only one round in an ongoing fight to protect the Napa Valley name. The case now goes back to the Court of Appeal for hearing on other issues. Meanwhile, the Napa Valley Vintners will continue its efforts to educate consumers about truth in labeling, a major part of its mission to promote and protect the Napa Valley appellation as one of the finest winegrowing regions in the world.