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Napa looks to protect name

Published:  23 July, 2008

The Napa Valley Vintners (NVV) has opened a petition book for its 2005 worldwide tasting tour to garner support for its initiative to promote and protect location'.

In July, producers representing Champagne, Port and Sherry met in California with winemakers from Napa Valley, along with Oregon and Washington State. They agreed to sign a declaration of joint principles, stating the importance of location to wine and the need to protect the name.

At the NVV 2005 tour tasting in London last Thursday (8 September), the petition book was open for guests to sign. Linda Reiff, chief executive of the NVV, told Harpers:

We need to educate the trade, media, consumers and even governments about this problem. We are aware of three wines in China, one in Spain and one in Tahiti that are passing off the Napa name on their wines. We are fighting all of these, and we need to be proactive as well as reactive.'

The NVV is in disagreement with the US government, which believes that brand-owner rights and trade names are more

important than protecting a region's name.

NVV president Joel Aiken said at the joint declaration: Winemakers worldwide know that, when it comes to wine, location matters. Our goal for this initiative is simple. In Europe, most people are familiar with the concept of "terroir", but in the US, this concept is not part of the vernacular.'