Napa Valley Vintners File Brief Today with U.S. Supreme
12/23/2005 - St. Helena, CA-December 23, 2005-The Napa Valley Vintners (NVV) filed a brief today in its fight to protect the Napa name. It was filed with the U.S. Supreme Court in response to Bronco Wine Company's petition to the high court to appeal the California State Supreme Court's August 2005 refusal to consider an appeal of a decision against the wine conglomerate.
Bronco has had a long-running dispute regarding California's truth in wine labeling statutes that were written into law in 2000 whereby wine brands could not promote themselves to be something they are not, specifically, wine brands cannot represent themselves as appearing to be produced in Napa Valley from Napa Valley grapes when they are not. The appeal to the US Court comes after the California Supreme Court unanimously refused to hear an appeal of the April 2005 decision to uphold the state law that outlaws misleading and misrepresenting branding of wine to the consumer.
The controversy stems from wine brand names that use Napa place names, yet intentionally produce wines from grapes grown outside the Napa appellation with lower quality and less expensive grapes. This undercuts the reputation of Napa Valley-grown products while trading on the cache of the renowned wine growing region. The issue at hand is that these "value" wines specifically seek sales by misrepresenting to the consumer that they are seemingly from high-profile, quality-associated brands. Napa's growers and wineries have worked diligently for over 150 years to be second to none as world-recognized leaders in fine wine production.
Linda Reiff, executive director, of the NVV, said: "Our goal has remained the same since this fight began more than five years ago: if a wine label says 'Napa' then the wine in the bottle should be from 'Napa.' It's a basic concept that should be the law, and, unfortunately, it's not yet. But we're hopeful that the U.S. Supreme Court will uphold the rulings of the lower courts and allow this law to finally go into effect. In the meantime, unfortunately, there continue to be wines in the marketplace that deceive consumers."
The NVV is a professional nonprofit trade organization. Its 270 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.
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