Wine Talk

Snooth User: Caroline Henry

Demand truth in labelling - protect wine place and origin

Posted by Caroline Henry, Nov 28, 2012.


"Just like Napa wines are from Napa Valley, Maine lobster are from Maine and Champagne only comes from Champagne, France".
Today the Champagne Bureau in the US started the "Demand Truth in Labelling" campaign in NYC.  The campaign which is in collaboration with the regions of Jerez, Napa Valley, Oregon, Porto, Washington State, Walla Walla Valley, Chianti Classico, Paso Robles, Sonoma County, Tokaj, Victoria, Western Australia, Long Island and Rioja is focussing on the integrity of wine places and demands that a wine's true origin is clearly stated on the label.
Please support this initiative by signing the petition



Reply by JonDerry, Nov 28, 2012.

Sounds good to me...

Reply by Caroline Henry, Nov 28, 2012.

Thank Jonderry :-)


Reply by GregT, Nov 28, 2012.

And the point of this all would be. . . ?

Is there a sudden onslaught of Txakolin from Kyrgyzstan that we're faced with? The folks in Napa started that a few years ago because they didn't want Fred Franzia to keep making Napa Ridge, which was started before 1986 when nobody cared. He didn't use all Napa Valley fruit and that bothered people. 

Fine, but I don't think a single customer cared. Most Americans don't particularly care where the grapes are from. They buy brands. SQN goes for two or three hundred a bottle. Who knows where the grapes are from? It's Santa Barbara.  Does any Santa Barbara wine come close to their pricing?

And as for Rioja, Healdsburg is in Sonoma right? So like 60 miles away, you can get to Yountville, which is Napa? But if you drive from Haro to Calahorra, roughly the same distance, you're not even on the outskirts of Rioja although you're in completely different terrain in each case, one being Rioja Baja and the other Rioja Alavesa.

And "Bordeaux" is even bigger.

Reply by zufrieden, Nov 30, 2012.

I dare say you are right about brands.  However, it would be nice to have more of an empirical twist on things - assuming you want to investigate the intricacies of things.  That would not stop me from being somewhat brand-oriented of course, but it allows for a little bit of analysis, does it not?

Reply by GregT, Nov 30, 2012.

Yep. I'm not against honesty by any means! If something say's it is from Napa, it should be from there.

It's just that there's not much real market value to most of the geographical labels, at least in the US market.

Australia, Argentina, Chile and even Spain are considered regions! Go into any wine store where they have French wine separated by region and see how many separate the various regions within those other countries.

So folks can argue all they want about the value of this hillside vs that one, and in truth, the wine might be better on one than on the other, but there's a finite number of people who are going to care.  It starts to get tricky when a guy hauls grapes in and calls it Napa Ridge, but then again, that was like an $8 wine, which in the scheme of things, was probably a bigger problem for the reputation of Napa than the source of fruit.

As far as being forced to state on the label where the fruit is from - I don't understand that at all. It's of interest to wine geeks. Fine. Other than that, what's the point?


Reply by duncan 906, Dec 3, 2012.

I like the French AOC system because it means that the consumer knows what he is getting.AOC is a guarantee,not that you will like it because that would be impossible,but that the grapes were grown in a defined geographical area and that the winemaker followed the approved rules of grape varieties,vine-growing and vinification for that appellation. Many people would say that where the grapes were grown is important because a wine is the product of its teroir.For example,in a thread about pinot noir a little while ago Greg stated that pinot noir from Burgundy tastes different to pinot noir from North America or New Zealand so surely the label should indicate where the grapes were grown

Reply by GregT, Dec 4, 2012.

Duncan - it's one thing to specify that the wine must be from the place it claims to be. That's fair enough and sometimes leads to weird situations - if Algerian olive oil is good enough to be labeled as Tuscan oil, why not just sell it as Algerian oil instead of trying to hide the origin?  And in the case of something like Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee - there's more sold in the US than grown in Jamaica! And it's mostly terrible on top of that.

But specifying grape varieties and yields and vinification - that's not really the same thing is it? In fact, that's kind of preposterous these days, since most of those rules were made to protect the status quo back when the rules were being created. Trademarking a word, like "meritage", and letting people use it if they comply with the rules associated; that is fine. But if grow their grapes in a particular region, although those grapes may not be "permitted" - that's a little much. I fail to see how anyone benefits except the ruling authorities for the region.  In fact, it seems rather dishonest to me.  If the "terroir" is such a big part of the region, it should shine through, no matter what grapes, apples, coffee, or bananas are grown there. And if it's so fragile that it doesn't, one might wonder whether in fact it exists at all, and whether the goal is, by controlling as many variables as possible, to create a sameness and consequently a mental association that might not exist.


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