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Old 27-05-2005, 10:50 PM
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Default Court Says Napa Wine Must Actually Come from Napa

The California state appeals court has ruled that a 2000 California
state law is valid and that California is allowed to have stricter
labeling standards than the federal government. (New story, may require

The federal government began to define the meaning of wine growing
regions, like Napa, Sonoma, Rutherford or Carnos in the 1980s. The
federal rules say you cannot say Napa on the label, unless at least 75%
of the wine is made from grapes grown in Napa. The federal government,
however, made an exception for existing wineries that used a region
name like Napa as part of the winery name. These wineries were
grandfathered in and allowed to use Napa as part of the winery name
even when the wine was not from Napa. This included wineries like Napa
Ridge and Napa Creek.

The Napa Ridge and Napa Creek wine labels are now owned by the Bronco
Wine Company, a big central valley wine producer. Bronco is most widely
known for its deep discount labels, like "Two Buck Chuck", and
apparently sells mostly wine from central valley grapes under the Napa
Ridge and Napa Creek wine labels.

This offended the Napa wine growers, so in 2000 they got the California
state legislature to pass a stricter labeling law to forbid using wine
region names in the winery name unless 75% of the grapes actually came
from that region. Bronco has been fighting this law in court claiming
that California cannot set tighter labeling requirements than the
federal government and that this law violates Bronco's free speech
rights. The appeals court rejected those arguments and said the law was

Bronco has 90 days to decide if they will appeal to the California
Supreme Court. Meanwhile they are still selling wine under the Napa
Ridge and Napa Creek labels that is not made from Napa grapes.

Mike's Wine Blog